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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Friday, 26th August

NEC Nijmegen v FC Groningen

Last time NEC played was two weeks ago due to their fixture being moved from last weekend (enabling their opponents, AZ, to concentrate on European action). Rogier Meijer’s side won convincingly 1-4 at Volendam, where their attacking midfielders really stood out for their quality. Mikkel Duelund notched a goal and two assists from the left wing, and the likes of Oussama Tanne, Lasse Schone and Elayis Tavsan were also heavily involved.

Equipped also with Jasper Cillessen in goal and Philippe Sandler at centre-back, I expect this new-look NEC to give Groningen a good game.

The visitors created a good number of chances against Go Ahead Eagles last weekend, but they do look a shade below what NEC may achieve this season. For me, Groningen still look like they give away too many opportunities to their opponents, and they may even struggle if star striker Jorgen Strand Larsen is sold this summer, but that looks unlikely.


Saturday, 27th August

Go Ahead Eagles v Sparta Rotterdam

Go Ahead Eagles – who have lost all three of their opening fixtures – will need to rely on home form to keep them up this season. Under head coach RenĂ© Hake, who has a point to prove to lots of Dutch football fans, they look set for a long campaign. Many new additions have come in, and one of them may be important if they wish to stay up: forward Oliver Edvardsen.

Sparta have had a tough start to the season, getting a point from tough-to-beat Heerenveen, losing a close match with AZ, and a narrow defeat to Ajax. This will be another close game, but it is hard to pick a winner, so I will say home advantage will be vital. I think Sparta will score, so Go Ahead will simply have to score more.


Vitesse Arnhem v RKC Waalwijk

It has been a predictably disastrous start for Vitesse, who have zero points out of a possible nine. They were beaten last weekend 0-4 on their own turf by Heerenveen. They look short of attacking quality in a really defensive-minded set-up by manager Thomas Letsch, and the defensive half of the pitch is made up of entirely new players who have not bonded yet. One of them is new goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen, who came in on loan from Brighton last week; he seems like a continuation of Vitesse’s goalkeeper woes at the moment, rather than an improvement.

RKC always remain in the game no matter who they’re facing. On another day, they could have nicked a point from Feyenoord to add to their draws with Utrecht and Emmen.

I don’t see RKC suddenly having an off day for Vitesse to have their ‘come-back’ performance. In fact, I can only see it getting worse.


Feyenoord v FC Emmen

As mentioned in previous previews of Feyenoord, they are not yet the finished article, with half of a new squad having joined in this transfer window. They will have the players though to beat Emmen.

I think the visitors will stick with their four-man defence, which made them really open at PSV (where they lost 4-1). Feyenoord have a recent history of struggling against five-man defences, and I can’t see Dick Lukkien suddenly changing his tactics.

Hopefully we continue to see new Feyenoord players getting minutes off the bench when the game dies down late on.


Heerenveen v Fortuna Sittard

Heerenveen were one of my picks to surprise this season. They have a record so far of five points from nine and no goals conceded. Four matches in a row would be impressive, and I think that’s what Kees van Wonderen will use to motivate his players against a relatively open side to play against who won’t sit deep.

The big news from Sittard this week was that Sjors Ultee was sacked as head coach. For many fans, this came as a surprise, and many now speculate that the club will either use veteran striker Burak Yilmaz as their new manager (who this week was offering all of Fortuna’s players a pay-out if they win against Heerenveen), or a Turkish head coach will come in who has links to the Turkish club owner. The sacking of Ultee was harsh given the fixtures they have had so far, but the expectations of the club seem to be higher in the owner’s perspective having spent some money on the squad this summer.

It is unlikely that change will suddenly be inspired from Ultee’s departure, and it won’t be until a new coach comes in that we see some improvement. If Fortuna do win, talk will certainly surround Yilmaz’s impact at the club after only a matter of weeks.

Given Heerenveen’s rock solid start and Fortuna’s lack of goals, I would go for under 3.5 goals.


Sunday, 28th August

FC Utrecht v Ajax

This fixture always provides Sunday entertainment in the Eredivisie. We will see Utrecht – after a poor start under Henk Fraser – inevitably lift their game for the visit of illustrious Ajax.

Fraser seems very frustrated with his players on the touchline. They are expected by many to be challenging the top four this season, but they look so far from that at the moment. There is competition for places, yet that has given Fraser a selection headache, and he seems unable to choose the best tactics and he doesn’t know his best eleven.

Ajax will take advantage of this. The continued talk of Anthony’s potential departure to Manchester United and Alfred Schreuder’s first-team selections have brought uncertainty to the team. It is up to the more experienced players to keep Ajax’s focus on three points and nothing else. Ajax like a battle, and Utrecht will certainly give them one.


Excelsior v PSV

Excelsior are another of the teams to have only played twice this season. They have won both of those games in a surprisingly good return to the Eredivisie after promotion. This will be an awakening for the Rotterdam side, I think.

PSV had a horror show evening in their Champions League play-off second leg with Rangers. The players lacked the mentality to perform on the night, and Ruud van Nistelrooy somehow has to pick his squad up. They will, however, make the most of a defence that concedes a lot of chances, that is despite their mid-week exertions.


FC Volendam v FC Twente

Volendam won’t have wanted two weeks to stew over their 1-4 loss to NEC. They want to quickly learn to float in the Eredivisie. Some parts of their team have great potential in the Dutch top flight, but they need to adapt quickly.

There probably won’t be a better time to play Twente, who had their mammoth tie with Fiorentina on Thursday. They drew 0-0 and lost narrowly on aggregate to Fiorentina; a harsh result in my view because of the excellent chances that the Enschede club created.

They may turn up and play Volendam off the park if they keep up that level of performance, but I fancy Volendam to sneak something.


Cambuur v AZ Alkmaar

The goals finally come flooding through for Cambuur in their 1-4 win at Fortuna last weekend. They included some magnificent strikes from outside the penalty area.

AZ played on Thursday, but I can’t see them being as exhausted for their trip to Friesland. There seems to be a new-found energy amongst the staff and players, which could drive them onto a successful season where many doubted them in pre-season (myself included).

This will be a tough game for them, especially defensively, but AZ do have the attacking players to hurt teams in this league.


How has Michael got on so far?

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

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

Week 3: 4/6 results + 3/4 bets

Week 4: ?

Michael Statham (828 Posts)

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