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 Merijn Slagter, a freelance journalist and an FC Groningen clubwatcher. Michael and Merijn also both appeared in a Copa90US video, which you can see here.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Merijn on Twitter @JopS85

Video featuring both Michael and Merijn:

Friday 26th January

Heerenveen v Sparta

Michael’s prediction: In the end, Heerenveen were a little lucky to walk away from Vitesse with a point. This time, the pressure will be on to deliver a confident home performance against struggling Sparta.

I am surprised new manager Dick Advocaat hasn’t been able to pick up any points so far in his first two games. Clearly the problems run deep within the squad and new players are needed quickly. For that reason, I can see frustration, but Heerenveen will win. 1-0

Merijn’s prediction: Both teams are struggling in a difficult time. Since Sparta — 18th in the Eredivisie — appointed Dick Advocaat as their new trainer, they’ve lost twice. Especially in the derby against Excelsior, the loss (2-3) was disappointing. His methods may take time.

Heerenveen are also struggling with their form. They’ve got some quality-players, but played some worse games before the winterbreak. The fans in Heerenveen will demand a win, so there’s a little bit pressure on the match. The quality will tell. 2-0

Tip: Sparta +1.5 Asian Handicap

Saturday 27th January

Groningen v Heracles

Michael’s prediction: Both of these sides sit in the lower echelons of mid-table and I think it’s where both will stay for the remainder of the campaign. I don’t expect a classic between these two but Heracles really struggle on the road; two points from all nine games this season.

What’s more, for Groningen this game carries importance given that they face Vitesse and Feyenoord away from home in their following two matches. They could do with a win. 2-1

Merijn’s prediction: There’s one point difference between FC Groningen (13th) and Heracles Almelo (12th). This indicates the importance of the game. In November, they were evenly matched, but Heracles won (2-1) with Brandley Kuwas as the deciding factor.

Last weekend Heracles lost tragically in injury time against leaders PSV (1-2). Groningen lacked creativity against Willem II, which resulted in a poor 1-1 in Tilburg. I expect a hard working Groningen this Saturday, but also this time, both teams would be evenly matched. 2-1

Tip: Double chance Groningen.

Twente v PSV

Michael’s prediction: Once Twente scored at Roda early in the second half, they thought that would be enough for their five-man defence to see out. It wasn’t.

PSV meanwhile cannot continue to rely upon fine goalkeeping from Jeroen Zoet and last minute winners to grind out away results. At some point, it will catch up on them. They need to attack more away from home once they have the first goal. Not sit back – sounds like Twente!

PSV have scored four goals in injury time this season, more than any other team. They won’t find it simple at Twente, but will most likely grind out another three points. They’ll be pleased that Luuk De Jong is back amongst the goals, too. 1-2

Merijn’s prediction: This will be a very interesting game in my opinion. Although Twente sit in a poor 15th place in the raking, they seem to be able to charge themselves for top matches in their own stadium. PSV have enjoyed a lot of luck in several games this season. Thanks to luminary goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, PSV could stole a win in Almelo (1-2) in injury time last weekend.

It’s also the first game in which the winter acquisitions Adam Maher (on loan from PSV) and Mounir El Hamdaoui could show themselves for Twente in front of the homecrowd. Especially Maher would like to shine against his former team. 2-2

Tip: Luuk De Jong to score against his former team.

PEC Zwolle v Vitesse

Michael’s prediction: PEC deserved to beat NAC last time out but it’ll be a tougher battle with Vitesse, who will restrict the hosts, I think. I see a draw here. 1-1

Merijn’s prediction: Earlier this season, both teams weren’t able to score in Arnhem (0-0), but I do expect goals this Saturday. It’s uncertain if topscorer Tim Matavz will appear in Zwolle. He’s accused of an elbow punch and will possibly be suspended. Vitesse have been very erratic this season, and that’s why I think they’ll lose against PEC. 3-2

Tip: Vitesse +1 Asian handicap.

NAC Breda v VVV-Venlo

Michael’s prediction: Ultimately, I predict that NAC will be embroiled in a relegation play-off come the end of the campaign. They lack goals to see off opposition at home and pinch points in away fixtures.

Losing only six times out of 19 games is an impressive record for VVV, helped by VVV’s defence which is the best outside of the top seven. Maurice Steijn is doing a fantastic job over in Venlo.

Stijn Vreven’s men will give as good as they’ve got in a classic Avondje NAC atmosphere. Whether grit and determination is enough to beat VVV is a tough ask, but they could just edge it. 1-0

Merijn’s prediction: Normally, NAC and VVV would be evenly matched. It’s a confrontation between two teams who promoted last season to the Eredivisie. VVV as the champion, NAC as runner-up. Both teams have players who could make the difference, but the homecrowd will make the real difference on Saturday evening. That’s also very much needed, because NAC are seven points behind their opponents. Point to notice for the homeside: VVV have scored some late equalizers this season. VVV beware! 1-0

Tip: NAC double chance

Sunday 28th January

Utrecht v Ajax

Michael’s prediction: Ajax are the third tough home game in a week for Utrecht after drawing with AZ and Feyenoord. The hosts will fancy this one the most, given the history between these two clubs, where Utrecht have a favourable recent record.

Fresh from De Klassieker victory, Ajax here have another must-win game. Having a few players back, particularly in defence, comes at a good time.

I enjoyed the way Erik Ten Hag played the Ajax full-backs who drove forward to great effect to beat Feyenoord. Both Tagliafico and Veltman set-up the two Ajax goals.

But Utrecht boss Jean-Paul De Jong will know all about how Ajax will set up but same too for Ten Hag. How fascinating that his first two fixtures in charge are against Feyenoord and ex-employers Utrecht.

It will be tight, but the quality difference between Utrecht and Ajax this season is too big compared to previous encounters. 1-3

Merijn’s prediction: It’s the game of the year for the Utrecht-fans, the team will feel the crowd too. In recent years, Utrecht have beaten Ajax several times and earlier this season Utrecht won in Amsterdam (1-2) with a fantastic Zakaria Labyad. Ajax must not lose to keep leaders PSV in sight. It makes the game even more exciting! 1-1

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Roda JC v Excelsior

Michael’s prediction: Being outplayed for over an hour by Twente makes grim viewing for Roda fans. Twente are one of their main rivals in terms of staying in the Eredivisie and Roda really haven’t persuaded me that they have enough to remain in the league. Striker Donis Avdijaj is an interesting recruit though and he could be just what the club needs to grind out some wins.

Excelsior can be a dangerous outfit and their away record suggests they’ll pick something up here. 1-1

Merijn’s prediction: Roda have been busy with a poor season so far. Robert Molenaar’s squad have been well below expectations. Only midfielder Simon Gustafson (on loan from Feyenoord) sometimes stands out. This winter, Roda have on-loan striker Donis Avdijaj (Schalke 04) for fresh impetus.

Meanwhile, Excelsior are having a good season and are ranked higher than expected (10th). The third club from Rotterdam combine sober football with creative hunches. 1-1

Tip: Excelsior double chance.

Feyenoord v ADO Den Haag

Michael’s prediction: Robin van Persie is a welcome boost to Feyenoord’s season, which is seemingly fizzling out already.

Back in De Kuip, the fans will lift the home side to put away ADO, who are doing OK this season but they don’t have the quality to hurt Feyenoord unless they have a total off-day. 2-0

Merijn’s prediction: Last Sunday was a bad day for Feyenoord. In a closed training camp they prepared themselves for the clash with Ajax, which they lost. But especially the poor attitude during the game stands out for me. Feyenoord needs to take revenge against ADO Den Haag for their loyal fans. A win should be possible. ADO plays decent football this season, with a neat 8th place as reward, but a win in De Kuip is too much to ask in my opinion. Have ADO performed above their possibilities in the first half of the season? 3-0

Tip: Feyenoord -1.5 Asian handicap.

Willem II v AZ

Michael’s prediction: AZ on paper have the quality to win this match, but I’m feeling a draw.

Willem II have the potential to play a good game and frustrate AZ and that’s what I think will happen.

As a side note, I’m disappointed at the moment with the number of Eredivisie managers leaving their posts ‘at the end of the season’. If you’re leaving, go now and give the new manager the time to make decisions on players and tactics before the new campaign begins. Erwin van de Looi and Ernest Faber are the latest two names to add to this list. 2-2

Merijn’s prediction: If there’s one club who could mount a serious attack on the traditional top three in the Eredivisie, it’s AZ. John van den Brom’s squad has creativity, body and talent. Yet they fail too often in games against the aforementioned top three. When we compare AZ and Willem II, AZ normally is better in every aspect. However, Willem II have, with Sol and Ogbeche, two attackers who regularly know how to score. If AZ disable them, they’ll grab the points in Tilburg. 1-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

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: 3 results // Crypto: N/A (versus Ajax Daily’s Bradley Dobson)

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

Week 17: Michael: 5 results // Crypto: N/A (versus [Ajax Daily] writer Alex Moretto)

Week 18: Michael: 4 results, 2 correct scores (versus Piłka w Holandii writer Adam Sankowski)

Week 19: Michael: 3 results (versus Bristol City Women defender Danique Kerkdijk)

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.