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, 20th August

Vitesse Arnhem v Heerenveen

It has been a very poor start to the season for Vitesse. In a way, you can excuse losing to Feyenoord, but being well-beaten by Excelsior leaves Thomas Letsch’s side two defeats from two and eight goals conceded already. When you re-build a team, you need that time to grow as a group and function for each other; it is like Letsch is having to start from scratch. On a positive note, Million Manhoef could be someone who develops into a key player this season – his dribbles in attacking areas give defences something to think about.

Heerenveen make this an interesting tactical battle because they have secured two clean sheets so far, but they have yet to score in the Eredivisie. Do they go one better this time by keeping it tight and scoring a goal or two?

I think the visitors will grow quicker under Kees van Wonderen; they have had more time together as a squad and they have less issues to fix than their hosts, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vitesse have another frustrating afternoon. (Heerenveen double chance) 1-2

Fortuna Sittard v Cambuur

Fortuna disappointed in their 3-0 defeat to Twente last weekend. After the game, manager Sjors Ultee said that his side ‘have a long way to go as a team’.

Meanwhile, Cambuur boss Henk de Jong has enjoyed sharing the stats of his side’s previous two games in his post-match interviews. Despite seemingly covering his team after no win so far, he is right that they dominated the loss to Excelsior, and they edged European-chasing Utrecht last weekend in their 0-0 draw.

I think it’s about time Cambuur grabbed a goal; I think Fortuna will be a threat as well following their poor performance last weekend, and the strikers they have in their squad. Hopefully Burak Yilmaz will get a start. 1-1

FC Emmen v FC Utrecht

Emmen couldn’t hold on to their lead over RKC last weekend, ultimately succumbing to a 1-1 draw. I think they’ll be able to make ambitious Utrecht feel uncomfortable after watching them in a limp 0-0 versus Cambuur.

In a 5-3-2, they have little threat high up on the wings or in the spaces between midfield and the strikers. They tend to chuck balls into the box using the wing-backs. Defensively, if they are more switched on, they could keep Emmen at bay. I still think Emmen will get a positive result here, and both teams to score would be a good bet too. 1-1

Sunday, 14th August

FC Groningen v Go Ahead Eagles

In the first two games of the new season, you can already see that Groningen will be a more open side under new head coach Frank Wormuth. The German coach has switched the team back to a 4-3-3, which has entertained fans, but left them more exposed at the back. Their new goalkeeper, Michael Verrips, is an improvement on last season, but you can see that against the big teams, they are going to get pummelled…see last weekend’s 6-1 defeat to Ajax as an example of this.

Go Ahead had the toughest start of any Eredivisie side: losing away to AZ and then thrashed at home to PSV. This is no easy fixture either. I think they’ll be competitive here, but I think we’ll start to see the strengths of Groningen shining through and that Go Ahead will need to rely on home wins to see them stay in the division.

Cyriel Ngonge is one of the good surprises we’ve seen in the opening couple of matches for Groningen. He has got his form back on the right side, so expect him to be involved. 3-1

Sparta Rotterdam v Ajax

Sparta battled AZ Alkmaar well last weekend. It was quality from AZ that undid their decent performance. Now it’s the turn of Ajax to visit Rotterdam.

It’s games like this where Ajax have been guilty in the past of switching off and taking things too comfortably. That is the only problem standing in the way of what should be a simple three points on the board.

I like the way Maurice Steijn has made his team more exciting to watch than his predecessor Henk Fraser. I did think that they were prone to conceding too many opportunities against AZ though. That may continue here. Whilst I am sure Steijn wants to hurt the opponents on the counter attack, I don’t think Sparta will sit deep and truly frustrate Ajax.

The selection headaches continue for Alfred Schreuder at Ajax. I think he has to pick Kenneth Taylor as the number 8 for at least the next few games as he has been important in their play so far. The problem for me, which has yet to be addressed by Schreuder, is the defence. Can Sparta take advantage again? That’s why I am going for an Ajax win with goals expected too. 1-2

RKC Waalwijk v Feyenoord

It’s two points from two games so far for RKC. Always the unfavoured team and usually the underdogs, much-lauded head coach from last season Joseph Oosting has made a promising start to what could have been an uncomfortable first month having lost both of his starting central defenders.

Although Feyenoord pose a bigger threat to Utrecht and Emmen, Arne Slot knows his side are not yet the finished article, as displayed by their 0-0 draw with Heerenveen last weekend. Just at the moment, his attackers are still gelling, so as mentioned at the beginning of the season, it will take a while for consistency. Twelve new signings will be a lot for Slot to settle in. 1-2

How has Michael got on so far?

Week 1: 6/9 results + 8/9 bets

Week 2: 2/9 results + 6/9 bets

Michael Statham (795 Posts)

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