Every week in the 2017/18 season, Football-Oranje writer Michael Statham offers you his predictions for each Eredivisie round, accompanied by his betting tips. Michael competes against a different special guest each week. This time, it’s Ajax Daily writer Alex Moretto. Alex is also a contributor for the likes of Goal and FourFourTwo.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Alex on Twitter @alexjmoretto

Saturday 16th December

Heerenveen v NAC Breda

Michael’s prediction: For me, Heerenveen’s point at Feyenoord came as a huge surprise. Let’s see if that spurs on an upturn in form.

NAC Breda are next, who have been competitive in their recent away matches but have still only got one win to show for it – interestingly a 0-2 victory in De Kuip. I fancy the visitors to grab something here too – Heerenveen still don’t wholly convince me.  I think there will be goals, too. 2-2

Alex‘s prediction: Heerenveen have struggled mightily this season, with just one victory at the Abe Lenstra Stadion – against PSV, surprisingly enough. NAC’s form away from home has been equally poor, and they have failed to score in their last five matches against Heerenveen. There’s nothing in this to inspire much confidence in a victory for either side, so I’m going with a draw. 0-0

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Willem II v PEC Zwolle

Michael’s prediction: Ogbeche is on fire! The Nigerian striker is only two strikes away from being top goalscorer in the Eredivisie even though he only returned from injury last month.

I thoroughly enjoyed PEC Zwolle’s 1-1 draw with AZ on Tuesday. Ups and downs and loads of technical quality from both sides. How will that translate here? Like when PEC turned up to previous away games against Excelsior and Heerenveen – they won because they took their chances and defended stoutly. Inviting pressure from Willem II will make it easy to counter-attack. 1-2

Alex’s prediction: Things are looking up for Willem II, unbeaten in their last five, as they have climbed out from the bottom-three. Momentum is on their side, though they have not been tested much over this span – that changes on Saturday. Zwolle have lost just once on their travels this season, at the Amsterdam ArenA, and I don’t think Erwin van de Looi’s side have the firepower to deal them a second. 1-2

Tip: PEC Zwolle double chance.

PSV v ADO Den Haag

Michael’s prediction: Despite predicting PSV to beat Groningen on Wednesday, I was not surprised when they drew 3-3. PSV were due to drop points as in previous games they didn’t convince me that they could see out performances, instead relying on luck to see them through.

At home though, ADO will find it tough to get much of the play. Hirving Lozano will need to be fired up for this one, as without the injured Jurgen Locadia, PSV may rely on the Mexican to create and finish chances in the box. 2-0

Alex‘s prediction: PSV are showing signs of breaking, as their lead at the summit has come under threat. Ajax have cut the deficit to five and Phillip Cocu’s side need to get back on track here to avoid it from shrinking further before the winter break. Den Haag have put together a nice season under Alfons Groenendijk, but the bulk of their success has come against sides below them in the standings, including all seven of their victories – six of them against the current bottom-six clubs – so I don’t see them contributing to PSV’s slide. 2-0

Tip: PSV win.

Twente v Vitesse

Michael’s prediction: Finally, Gertjan Verbeek got his first win as Twente boss. A tricky game to build that win on, but I see the hosts winning this one too.

I haven’t been seeing the best of Vitesse lately. I think they need the Christmas break to regroup and come back in January ready to win several games in a row if they wish to finish at least fourth place.

They need refreshing. There is too much reliance on Mason Mount to deliver, and I can see Twente being passionate enough to cause problems in Vitesse’s midfield and being dangerous between the midfield/defence lines where Vitesse are missing South African midfielder Thulani Serero. 2-1

Alex’s prediction: I expected Vitesse to play a bigger role in the title chase this season, and despite getting off to a strong start, that has not been the case. Henk Fraser’s side have hit a bit of a slump since the end of October, but much of that can be attributed to a difficult and congested string of matches. They are out of Europe which will allow them to place their focus back on the league, and I fully expect them to get back on track on Saturday, despite Twente finding their form in front of goal. 1-3

Tip: Both teams to score.

Roda JC v VVV-Venlo

Michael’s prediction: Let’s see what Roda can bring after promising recent home results – drawing with Groningen and beating Heerenveen.

It would be unexpected of VVV to win in Kerkrade, but I have a feeling they will since it’s a little overdue for the visitors.

Venlo have shown already this season that they can play well against any Eredivisie side, but all they need is the belief that they owned in the opening weeks of the campaign. 1-2

Alexs prediction: It’s awfully tight towards the bottom of the table, and this is a game Roda need to have to climb off the bottom. VVV have come crashing back down to earth after an excellent start to life back in the top-flight, but it’s their home form that has been the biggest detriment to success. Away from the De Koel they have actually been very hard to beat, and that should continue this weekend in Kerkrade. 1-1

Tip: Both teams to score

Sunday 17th December

Sparta v Feyenoord

Michael’s prediction: The fighting spirit that Sparta showed at Heracles will be needed once more for this Rotterdam derby. The fans will most certainly be up for it and the belief of an upset will be there after witnessing Feyenoord’s famous 1-0 defeat at Sparta during Feyenoord’s title winning campaign last season.

The visitors won’t have to travel far across the city at all for this match and the derby feel will fire them up. The difference in quality between these sides should see a comfortable Feyenoord win, but that’s easy to say with the Feyenoord of late. 1-3

Alexs prediction: It’s derby day in Rotterdam on Sunday, and the timing couldn’t be worse for either side. Sitting 14 points off the top, it’s safe to say Feyenoord’s title defence has ended before it even began. The late goals that proved so vital to their success last season have not been prevalent in this campaign. A handful of summer departures were not adequately replaced and their luck has run dry. Meanwhile, Sparta are in real threat of going down, largely due to their profligacy in front of goal, scoring a league-low 11 times this campaign. A derby win might be exactly what these sides need to spark their campaigns, but I don’t think either deserve it right now. 0-0

Tip: Over 2.5 goals

AZ v Ajax

Michael’s prediction: I cannot wait for this game. Third and second face off in a battle of the sides chasing leaders PSV.

AZ have been playing some great stuff and have kept four clean sheets in their last five matches – dampening some of the doubts over their lack of ability to defend and attack in the right moments.

You cannot deny Alkmaar’s attacking talent, that’s for sure. In terms of Sunday’s fixture, you have to fancy their forwards against an Ajax defence down to its bare bones. Veltman (suspended) and Wober (injured) add to the missing list.

Against Excelsior, Ajax toiled a little but still opened their opponents up time and again. The talk at the moment is all on Frenkie De Jong, who has played centre-back in a ‘quarterback’ role – where he can influence the play from a deep stand-point. To some extent it has worked fabulously, but I wouldn’t trust him against the tall Wout Weghorst, who will target him in aerial duels.

Ajax have begun to show the flair and confidence they exuded last season which got them to the Europa League final. Younger players have begun to step up and now there’s a swagger to the title chasers again.

In my opinion, Matthijs De Ligt has been outstanding too. Those that say he has made mistakes and isn’t at his best need to watch him now compared to last season. For goodness sake, the man is 18 years old and is the main centre-back for Ajax. In the last campaign he made his debut and made many mistakes as he learnt to find his feet. He has come on an awful lot and deserves a lot of credit.

This Sunday, let’s see what unfolds. I hope it’s spectacular. 2-3

Alex’s prediction: By virtue of beating defending champions Feyenoord and current leaders PSV by three goals apiece, there’s a case to be made for Ajax as the best Eredivisie club, despite what the current standings may indicate. Marcel Keizer’s side have slipped up every now and again, but there’s no doubt that when at their best, they are close to untouchable – though the loss of Wober, who suffered an injury against Excelsior on Thursday night, could prove costly at an already thin position for Ajax.

They can stake further claim to that sentiment when they visit the AFAS Stadion on Sunday in the Eredivisie’s match of the week. AZ are level on points with Ajax as we approach the halfway mark of the season, and they need a signature victory to establish themselves as legitimate title threats, having already lost to PSV and Feyenoord this season by a combined score of 7-2. That’s a big mental hurdle for them to get over. I do think John van den Brom’s side are legit, but Ajax will be buoyed by last weekend’s demolition of PSV. A scoring draw here is very possible, but I think urgency will be at the forefront for the Amsterdammers and that should be enough to help them to a first victory in Alkmaar since 2015. 1-3

Tip: Over 2.5 goals

Utrecht v Heracles

Michael’s prediction: Utrecht are one of the form sides in the Eredivisie at the moment. It’s hard to look past them for a win here considering Heracles’ tepid away form. Erik Ten Hag has turned the club around again after another tough summer of outgoing players. For this, I expect goals. 3-2

Alexs prediction: Erik ten Hag has Utrecht ticking along nicely, winning four of their last five. A bad spell between the end of August and start of October is the only reason they aren’t up there challenging PSV along with Ajax and AZ. The style Heracles play under John Stegeman makes them hard to predict, and it’s also the reason they ship so many goals. They will have an honest go at it, but they have their hands full against a fundamentally sound and technically strong Utrecht side. 3-1

Tip: Home win

Excelsior v Groningen

Michael’s prediction: To come from a Thursday night meeting with Ajax to this game on Sunday might come too soon for Excelsior. Meanwhile, Groningen have been inconsistent this season, but have only lost one of their last five.

I expect this to be the type of game where quality forwards such as Mimoun Mahi and Oussama Idrissi come to the fore, but yet again I predict Groningen’s wobbly defensive record to continue. 1-1

Alex’s prediction: The quick turnaround from Thursday to Sunday might prove to be too much for Excelsior, losers of their last five in the league as their free-fall continued at the Amsterdam ArenA Thursday night. These sides sit right next to each other in the table, but I don’t think that’s a true testament to the gap in quality between them. Groningen have not been playing up to standards, but they have been much better of late and will be full of confidence following their draw with the leaders in midweek. 1-2

Tip: Both teams to score

Agree/disagree with our predictions and betting tips? Did we win/lose you a fortune? Tweet us!

How have Michael & Crypto done so far?

Crypto’s running success – Hit Rate: 60% & Average Odds: 1.70

Week 1: Michael: 3 results // Crypto: 5W – 3L – 1V (versus PSV-watcher and journalist Rik Elfrink)

Week 2: Michael: 7 results, 2 correct scores // Crypto: 6W – 1L – 2V (versus commentator Paul Thomas Clay)

Week 3: Michael: 6 results, 1 correct score // Crypto: 5W – 2L – 2V (versus [Ajax Daily] writer Alex Moretto)

Week 4: Michael: 4 results, 1 correct score // Crypto: 6W – 2L – 1V (versus Sky journalist Joshua Hayward)

Week 5: Michael: 2 results, 1 correct score // Crypto: 5W – 4L – 0V (versus commentator Richard Connelly)

Week 6: Michael: 1 result // Crypto: 4W – 5L – 0V (versus Football Manager researcher Jeroen Thijssen)

Week 7: Michael: 5 results // Crypto: 6W – 3L – 0V (versus Ajax Daily’s Bradley Dobson)

Week 8: Michael: 3 results, 1 correct score // Crypto: 5W – 2L – 2V (versus journalist Sjors van Veen)

Week 9: Michael: 2 results // Crypto: 4W – 4L – 1V (versus engels-voetbal’s Ferdi Delies)

Week 10: Michael: 4 results, 2 correct scores // Crypto: 3W – 6L – 0V (versus Sheffield Wednesday defender Joost van Aken)

Week 11: Michael: 3 results // Crypto: N/A (versus Football-Oranje editor Michael Bell)

Week 12: Michael: 3 results // Crypto: 7W – 1L – 1V (versus Opta Sports’ Bart Frouws)

Week 13: Michael: 7 results, 3 correct scores // Crypto: 6W – 3L – 0V (versus Football-Oranje writer James Rowe)

Week 14: Michael: 4 results // Crypto: 4W – 4L – 1V (versus Football-Oranje editor Michael Bell)

Week 15: Michael: 2 results *2 postponed* // Crypto: N/A (versus Ajax Daily’s Bradley Dobson)

Week 16: Michael: 3 results // Crypto: N/A (versus Dutch football writer Alex Dieker)

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.