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 Craig Hellier, a director and coach with Total 14 Football Academy – a new company that offers children in the south-west of England the chance to play football in the Ajax way.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Craig on Twitter @craighellier7
  • Follow Total 14 FA on Twitter @Total14FA

Friday 2nd February

Vitesse v Groningen

Michael’s prediction: For both of these sides, their seasons are fizzling out it seems. Vitesse are out of Europe and have sold star player Milot Rashica to Werder Bremen whilst Groningen let Oussama Idrissi go to AZ. Both have departing managers at the end of the season too – indicating that both clubs aren’t satisfied with the way things have gone and plans will be made (even at this early stage) for the following campaign.

I think Vitesse will scrape a close fought game that may not be filled with quality. 1-0

Craig’s prediction: Vitesse are very strong and at home, and the away team here I think will struggle to contain the attacking play of Vitesse. While Vitesse have had somewhat an up and down campaign they will be too strong here for Groningen. 3-1

Tip: Vitesse draw no bet.

Saturday 3rd February

Heerenveen v Twente

Michael’s prediction: Heerenveen are quite strong at home, but only three wins at the Abe Lenstra stadium this season suggests otherwise. The poor record can be put down to the teams they have faced. There should be more points forthcoming then, with seven points out of nine against VVV, NAC and Sparta – and Twente, Roda, Excelsior and Willem II to come – all teams in the bottom half of the table.

I think Twente will ultimately win quite a few matches in the second half of the season. Their attack has Jensen, Assaidi, Maher, Slagveer – all very good Eredivisie level attacking midfielders. The issue is in defence – there are too many individual mistakes and even though Gertjan Verbeek, who is often capable at setting up a defensive back-line, has weaved some of his magic, a lot of progress is still to be made. That could be their downfall here to prevent victory. 2-2

Craig’s prediction: Twente bring a good head to head record at Heerenveen in the recent past, and I can see the trend continuing. Although most people would look to back Heerenveen here at home I can see this being the surprise score line of the weekend’s games in the Eredivisie. 1-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

PSV v PEC Zwolle

Michael’s prediction: There has been plenty of criticism for PSV despite leading the table by seven points. At the end of the day, if they can ultimately win the league with that big a margin – they must deserve it.

That said, it’s not pleasing on the eye. Jeroen Zoet has come to the rescue on multiple occasions in away games to help PSV claim win after win.

At home, they are very strong though. PEC Zwolle haven’t been in the best of form since the Christmas break, you can see that in their play. 3-1

Craig’s prediction: The PSV machine will continue to roll here as the side are flying along at the top of the League. The big question currently is will PSV slip up? Can Ajax catch their rivals? PSV I predict will win the game, but they are going to be made to work hard by an organised away team who will surely seek to frustrate their hosts. I would not be surprised to see a late winner!! 2-1

Tip: PSV -1.5 Asian handicap.

Heracles v ADO Den Haag

Michael’s prediction: Heracles have only kept one clean sheet all season, but have also only failed to score in a league match twice. I think they can outscore ADO, seeing as Heracles are very strong on their home turf. 3-2

Craig’s prediction: Two teams coming into the game that are not in the best of form. The draw here is not going to suit either team so the feeling is that both teams will be really looking to secure the three points as they need to beat the teams around them. I predict both will be disappointed at the end of the game and they will largely cancel the other out. 1-1

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Sunday 4th February

Excelsior v Utrecht

Michael’s prediction: Last weekend, Excelsior lost to struggling Roda. They’ll be looking to bounce back here against Utrecht, who arrive in Rotterdam on the back of three successive home draws against teams in the top four.

I think Utrecht will win the midfield battle here on a small pitch. The visitors will create plenty of chances. 1-2

Craig’s prediction: Utrecht have recently become something of a draw specialist. Here, the onus to attack is going to be firmly with the home team Excelsior, and Excelsior are generally a good bet to get on the scoresheet in any game they play.

Similar to the Heracles game, I can see these two sides matching each other completely and having to settle for the draw, which particularly Utrecht could do without. 1-1

Tip: Utrecht double chance.

AZ v Roda JC

Michael’s prediction: AZ beat Willem II 0-2 last time out in the league but it could have been five, six or worse. The forwards are on fire and the one-touch play between the midfielders is too quick for a lot of teams. Roda included. They will find it extremely tricky in Alkmaar. 4-0

Craig’s prediction: Alkmaar are bang in form with no defeats in their last six games. I am always so impressed when I watch AZ, and am always impressed with the AZ style of play, particularly at home where they like to impose their game on their opponent. I think we will see AZ make a quick start to the game here and it will then be an uphill battle for Roda.

A fast start should see AZ take the lead and increase it. Roda to show some resistance with a better showing in the second half. 2-1

Tip: AZ -1.5 Asian handicap.

Sparta v Willem II

Michael’s prediction: I think Sparta are due a win. Dick Advocaat has seen an improvement from his new side but has yet to taste rewards. They need wins and quickly. It’s already a five point gap to the team above them.

Where better to start than at home to a fellow struggler? Willem II were torn apart last weekend, and I think they’ll be a little fatigued from their cup game on Thursday. 2-1

Craig’s prediction: Sparta are in bad form and confidence going in to the game with Willem II is at a low point. With an expected anxiety and nervousness again from the support they are in danger of once again being on the end of a negative result to a side where they ought to be competing with. I predict goals in this one as neither defence is one to hang your hat on. 1-2

Tip: Sparta draw no bet.

VVV-Venlo v Feyenoord

Michael’s prediction: VVV are excellent at picking off points throughout the season. Especially when they’re not expected to.

The likes of Lennart Thy, Vincent van Crooij and Clint Leemans will be crucial to get anything against Feyenoord, who are fresh from beating PSV in the cup quarter-final mid-week.

I don’t think Feyenoord can afford many more slip-ups as they look to finish the season in a more respectable third place. AZ already hold a six-point advantage on the Rotterdammers. It’ll be a tight race for the Europa League spot. I think Nicolai Jorgensen will be key here. 1-2

Craig’s prediction: Both teams are in decent form here with having only suffered one defeat each in their previous six games, surely something must give here?

VVV have been victors in three of the last four meetings versus Feyenoord when they have been at home and as typically unpredictable and complex Dutch football can be, the giants of Feyenoord could well get caught at battling Venlo once more! 2-1

Tip: Jorgensen to score at any time.

Ajax v NAC Breda

Michael’s prediction: In the ruthless attacking form that Ajax are in – averaging over 3 goals per home game in their last five – I wouldn’t dare back against them here.

NAC toiled against VVV last weekend. It’s going to be a lot tougher here. 5-0

Craig’s prediction: This is the banker of matchday 21 in the Eredivisie this weekend, and is it going to be a question of how many? Ajax are full of talented footballers, and they will see this as a game they can capitalise on as individuals seek great personal success. The rising profiles of some of the Ajax team will only enhance their reputations further off of the back of this game. 4-0

Tip: Ajax -1.5 Asian handicap.

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 from weeks 1 to 14 – 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)

Week 20: Michael: 3 results (versus FC Groningen clubwatcher Merijn Slagter)

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.