Every week in the 2021/22 season, Football-Oranje’s Michael Statham gives you his previews and predictions for each Dutch Eredivisie round.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
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Saturday, 5th March

Willem II v Heerenveen

Willem II sit only two points above the relegation drop zone. Something has to give eventually for Fred Grim; he came into the club in the summer with so much credit in the bank thanks to his excellent job with RKC Waalwijk. It now looks like they’re plummeting into certain relegation: 14 defeats from the last 15 games, they haven’t scored in 10 of those 15 losses, and one shot on target or less in six of those last seven.

Both of these sides will be looking at each other this weekend thinking it’s time to end their poor runs. The difference for Heerenveen, who have lost their last eight in a row in all competitions, is that they have been improving as a unit with their new players settling in OK. They have decent quality in midfield with Tibor Halilovic and Thom Haye, and potential in strikers Sydney van Hoojidonk and Amin Sarr, but Sarr has yet to show his big potential because he has been played on the left wing when he is in fact a striker.

So I feel like this game is a turning point for either side for the remainder of the season. In my view, It is more likely that the Frisians take a positive result back to the north of the Netherlands given their higher quality players and the rotten run that Willem II have been on – I watched them lose to Groningen last time out, and apart from one chance, I thought they were very disjointed as an attacking unit. Being positive for Heerenveen with a handicap is a good idea with the home side unlikely to turn them over. 1-1

Go Ahead Eagles v FC Utrecht

Go Ahead Eagles have picked up an incredible four points from Ajax this season! That win last weekend was very unexpected but goes a long way to keeping the Deventer side in the Eredivisie for next season. They rode their luck at times – as they did when they got a plucky draw from Twente lately – though I like a couple of their forward players and I think they could excite home supporters again here where they are expected to be the underdog again for the third time in six days. The Eagles had a cup game on Wednesday against PSV but narrowly lost 1-2. A red card in the first half for Joris Kramer upset the tie and they couldn’t hold on to their narrow advantage.

Utrecht seem like they are going to be up and down now until the end of the season, when they can then look to replace head coach RenĂ© Hake and choose whether to invest. Their away record is why they have struggled to break into the Eredivisie top four – only winning four out of twelve. They don’t dominate these games that well on the ball.

All things considered, I think the home team could get a positive result from this, but might they be exhausted physically from all the games and mentally from tough outings against Ajax and PSV? Tricky to call. 1-1

Feyenoord v FC Groningen

Feyenoord will be stinging after a loss to table rivals AZ. They had a lot of possession in the second half, but the Alkmaar side showed their strengths in limiting a usually powerful Feyenoord front line. That means the Rotterdam side have lost ground on the Champions League spot (PSV) in second and Ajax in first (who dropped points last weekend).

Groningen, who have not conceded more than one goal in a league match for seven games now, will feel that defensive rigidity is their best bet on Saturday evening to get at least a point. Feyenoord have had some problems facing defensive low blocks this season – particularly five-man defences which Groningen have played at times this season – but head coach Arne Slot has adjusted to play wider in games they will dominate, including Alireza Jahanbakhsh to provide extra width.

Ultimately, I think Feyenoord are too strong here. They have been enjoying a fun first season under Slot. They are winning a lot more games and scoring a lot more too. 3-1

Sunday, 6th March

PSV v Heracles Almelo

Whilst the season is still long, PSV in a matter of two weeks have gone from a ‘battle for second’ back to being only two points off Ajax at the Eredivisie summit because of their slip-up. The Eindhoven side continue to just pick up narrow wins against the mid-table sides despite their struggles against sides at the top of the table. Roger Schmidt’s rotation policy works to a certain extent when you see substitutes picking up late winners!

Will they need a last-minute escape at home to Heracles? I think not. I seem to write a lot about Heracles’ dramatic difference between home form and away form, but it does impact my thoughts again on this game: they are bottom of the away Eredivisie table on only two points all season. Sometimes Frank Wormuth’s side can play some nice football, but they won’t be able to withstand PSV’s pressure.

Noni Madueke has been showing some excellent moments in his return from injury. His pace and quick feet have caused problems to Eredivisie sides. I think a PSV win and over 2.5 goals is likely given that PSV have goals galore in their side when they’re firing, and they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four. 3-1

FC Twente v Cambuur

In Twente’s 1-2 win against RKC last Friday, Ron Jans’s men played some good football but missed big chances – some absolute sitters! They deserved the late winner but it came in fortuitous fashion. Despite this, they continue to impress with their young team without many big names; it feels like it’s all just come together for Jans, who is a good manager but never successfully led a team quite this high in the division before.

Cambuur would have won a ‘both teams to score’ bet in all but one of their previous fourteen matches. I am wondering whether that will work again here. Twente have scored in every home game this season apart from when they lost to Feyenoord in November. Cambuur won their first game in a while last time out, but there were times where their last opponents, relegation-threatened Fortuna, were on top and they could have been out of sight by half time.

I think Twente will enjoy another good afternoon and I will back them to score two or more given how creative they have been recently. Cambuur struggled to keep clean sheets, whereas Twente look more solid, especially with Lars Unnerstall in goal, who is one of the league’s best goalkeepers. 2-0

Ajax v RKC Waalwijk

Ajax have endured a small dip lately. After a ruthless, goal-scoring return from the Winter break, they struggled for goals against lowly Willem II, were far too open defensively in their Champions League tie with Benfica, they lost to Go Ahead Eagles last weekend, but were too much for in-form AZ Alkmaar in mid-week to reach the Dutch Cup final.

Meanwhile, RKC have the lowest average possession statistic in the Eredivisie, but against Twente last time out they tried to play on the front foot, having six shots in the opening 16 minutes. Normally, they sit off the opponent, waiting for mistakes, but they looked to force the issue.

That football will be a bad idea against Ajax, who will punish the space you leave for them to play. However, if the visitors sit back and park the bus, they will be punished too eventually, with an early Ajax goal making the 90 minutes feel like 90 hours.

Finally, RKC have shown this season that they cannot keep out the bigger teams as they struggle to adapt their game to bridge the big quality difference. A clean sheet for Ajax is highly probable with Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez too physical and clever for Jens Odgaard and Michiel Kramer. 2-0

NEC Nijmegen v AZ Alkmaar

AZ will need to recover from the major blow of losing their long unbeaten streak and failure to reach the Dutch Cup final. Pascal Jansen got the tactics wrong against Ajax in their mid-week loss. Even though Ajax are the best team at the moment in the Netherlands, AZ have been so impressive, and their opportunity to reach the final with that home fixture (where they have been so good) will have disappointed fans and players alike. AZ don’t want to be a ‘nearly side’ this season now that they’ve managed to turn around early-season disappointment; they want something to show for their development.

NEC have been plodding along in mid-table, which will please fans, but frustrate betters who are finding it hard to predict where NEC’s next win will come from. They have the potential to upset AZ here, but they have only kept one clean sheet in their last seven games in all competitions – defence was their strength for much of this campaign, but now teams are finding ways around their back five. AZ have also scored two or more goals in each of their last five away games, and if NEC are willing to play a more open style, I think the Alkmaar side will carve out many opportunities. 1-2

Fortuna Sittard v PEC Zwolle

A relegation cracker ends the Eredivisie weekend. Sixteenth plays eighteenth – a win leapfrogs bottom side Zwolle above Fortuna with only two points separating them. I’m expecting a tense game, just like it was the last time these two sides met at the start of Winter. Fortuna edged the game last time 0-1 and I think the same thing will happen here.

PEC Zwolle weren’t so good in their last match, losing at Heracles and they looked a shadow of the side that had been scoring goals and being far more competitive in their relegation scrap. Because of that, I can’t see them getting that win that lifts them off last place.

Fortuna have more attacking quality, with the height of Charlison Benschop useful as an extra dimension to Mats Seuntjens and Zian Flemming. Their problem has been keeping clean sheets this season, which may prevent their route to an important victory. Though I do think the fixture list is kinder to them in the coming six weeks, with four winnable home games coming up, including this one, so I think they will dig themselves out of trouble…just. 2-1 (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

How has Michael done so far?

Week 1: 4/9 results | 5/9 betting tips

Week 2: 4/8 results | 6/8 betting tips

Week 3: 5/9 results | 6/9 betting tips

Week 4: 4/8 results | 5/8 betting tips

Week 5: 5/9 results | 7/9 betting tips

Week 6: 4/9 results and 1 correct score | 8/9 betting tips

Week 7: 5/9 results and 1 correct score | 7/9 betting tips

Week 8: 6/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips

Week 9: 2/9 results | 3/8* betting tips *-one void

Week 10: 4/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips

Week 11: 5/9 results | 4/9 betting tips

Week 12: 4/9 results | 4/9 betting tips

Week 13: 5/9 results and 2 correct scores | 5/9 betting tips

Week 14: 5/9 results | 5/9 betting tips

Week 15: 4/9 results | 6/9 betting tips

Week 16: 2/9 results and 1 correct score | 5/9 betting tips

Week 17: 5/9 results | 7/9 betting tips

Week 18: 6/9 results and 2 correct scores | 8/9 betting tips

Week 19: 3/9 results and 2 correct scores | 5/9 betting tips

Week 20: 3/9 results and 1 correct score | 2/9 betting tips

Week 21: 7/9 results and 2 correct scores | 6/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 22: 4/9 results | 4/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 23: 5/8* results and 2 correct scores | 5/8* betting tips *game postponed (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 24: 5/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Michael Statham (812 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.