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 Alex Dieker, who writes about Dutch football for Football Paradise and analyses the Eredivisie for ESDF analysis.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Alex on Twitter @adiek22

 

Saturday 31st March

PEC Zwolle v Sparta

Michael’s prediction: It’s now seven defeats out of nine for PEC, a dramatic downturn in fortunes considering they only suffered three losses between August and December. Their recent fixtures have been more difficult ones though, so the push for the European play-offs is still on so long as they can pick up a few wins in the last six games.

Meanwhile, Sparta are on the up finally under Dick Advocaat. They’ve only failed to score once in their last ten matches, which is positive heading into this trip to Zwolle.

I’m going to predict a draw this time, it’ll be a close game with both teams fighting for their respective reasons. Sparta are currently six points from safety and will be desperate to pick up an unlikely three points. 1-1

Alex‘s prediction: PEC Zwolle’s Ryan Thomas and Youness Mokhtar are challenging for spots in the league’s team of the year, but they haven’t won a match since the beginning of February. As the threat of dropping out of the European playoff places looms, John van ‘t Schip’s team needs a quality performance on Saturday.

Zwolle certainly have the technical skill to control this match, especially with it being a home match. Sparta have shown that they aren’t one to try and maintain much possession, so a majority of their attacking will come from forcing mistakes and running at Zwolle with speed. The home side, despite their form, are a lot better positioned for this match in my opinion. 2-1

Tip: Sparta double chance.

Vitesse v Roda JC

Michael’s prediction: Thanks to Vitesse’s unpredictable nature this season, it’s much harder to call this match at home to relegation threatened Roda. Purely because of how poor Robert Molenaar’s side have been, I’m going to back Vitesse. 2-1

Alex‘s prediction: For all of their skill, Vitesse have had a lackluster season. The sale of Milot Rashica hasn’t made the Arnhem squad any better, either. They’ve beaten both Ajax and Feyenoord this calendar year, but a pension for dropping points against smaller clubs has been a major issue. I’m not confident that Vitesse have the wherewithal to dominate this match, even at home.

Roda have been abysmal over the past month, bar the closely-fought victory over NAC during the last matchweek. The loan signing of Donis Avdijaj finally started to bear fruits on that day, with the Kosovan blasting home the winning goal. It’s moments like that which have the potential to unravel an inconsistent Vitesse, but the breadth in talent is still a gap that Roda will struggle to build a bridge over. 3-0

Tip: Both teams to score.

PSV v NAC Breda

Michael’s prediction: PSV playing before Ajax means that they can be 10 points ahead with four games left. Whilst NAC are fighting, PSV should eventually get the victory, like they did against VVV in their last home match.

NAC were on good form before losing at home to strugglers Roda. Hirving Lozano will be key here, I think, having been impressive on international duty for Mexico. 2-0

Alex‘s prediction: NAC are no walkovers. They may be just outside the relegation zone, but that gap is growing by the week. A result in Eindhoven would greatly aid their fight to stay in the Eredivisie, but it’ll be extremely tough. Even if PSV fail to score for 60 or more minutes, there’s always going to be a major risk that Lozano or de Jong will take advantage of a small pocket of space that’s impossible to prevent. Yet, Breda’s counter-attacking threats may trouble Jeroen Zoet’s goal. 3-1

Tip: Hirving Lozano to score at any time.

Willem II v Utrecht

Michael’s prediction: Fran Sol is now top goalscorer in the Eredivisie. I love Sol, he’s a great character and if he gets a move to a better team, he could take his game to the next level. I personally think he’d be taken up by a top English Championship team – he’s great at holding up the ball as well as a reliable finisher.

Sol will be pleased to hear that high-flying Utrecht haven’t kept a clean sheet in six matches. There will be chances. Although this is a tough match. 1-2

Alex‘s prediction: An incredible 5-0 win over PSV was the highlight of a relatively poor 2018 for Willem II, one that has seen them drop near the relegation zone. The brilliant Fran Sol has been the only major threat in a down-right average Eredivisie side, but it’s a side that always seems about to go off on the opposition like the drubbing against the league leaders. A win against Utrecht would get the underdogs out of trouble at the bottom of the league.

Since the beginning of February, Utrecht’s poor run of form has basically evaporated. They’ve become one of the finest attacking units in the country, with the only really poor result in the past two months coming against PSV. A leaky Willem II defense will evoke great confidence in the likes of Zakaria Labyad and Cyriel Dessers.1-2

Tip: Both teams to score.

ADO Den Haag v AZ

Michael’s prediction: This would be a typical place for AZ to slip up. A very good team, full of international players who sit third in the table, but ADO are a tough cookie for bigger teams to break down.

I don’t think AZ’s lightweight defenders will cope with the raw pace of Sheraldo Becker and strength of Bjorn Johnsen. 2-1

Alex‘s prediction: ADO are on the verge of a European spot and – with the poor form of Zwolle – I wouldn’t put it past them to achieve that feat upon the season’s completion. The array of talented multi-national footballers in the squad makes it difficult to bet against Den Haag in a home match, but I may do just that.

AZ Alkmaar have been knocking on the door of the Eredivisie’s “Big 3” for quite some time, and it seems like the next couple years provide a gilded opportunity to break the oligopoly. Feyenoord have struggled massively, Ajax are yet to hit full stride, and PSV will likely lose their core of players in the off-season. Idrissi, Weghorst, and Jahanbakhsh make up one of the most predatory attacks in the country, one that will most certainly threaten the ADO backline on Saturday. 0-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Sunday 1st April

VVV-Venlo v Twente

Michael’s prediction: It’s seven without a win for VVV, so the chance is there for Twente to get what would be only their second win in 20 games, but they have been in such a rut – they aren’t improving. Hopefully, sacking Gertjan Verbeek will have a positive effect (from a Twente point of view). Sadly, I think Verbeek was simply not good enough on this occasion.

Venlo will be solid as always but a little bit of end-of-season complacency may slip into their play. Lennart Thy will be back though and afforded a hero’s welcome upon his return from donating precious stem cells for a terminal patient. 1-1

Alex‘s prediction: VVV haven’t won a match for nearly two months, meaning their great first-half has given way to a mini-decline in mid-table. Meanwhile, Twente are currently a downright depressing side. The cracks of hope that broke the concrete surface of despair at the beginning of the season have now been filled. Twente’s last Eredivisie win was before Christmas (my last prediction article, coincidentally). A Roda side that seemed destined for the drop is now a point ahead of the pride of Enschede.

Twente are – on paper – a better side than VVV. However, that won’t prevent the likes of Clint Leemans and Lennart Thy from taking advantage of a Twente in horrid form. 1-0

Tip: Both teams to score.

Heracles v Heerenveen

Michael’s prediction: This is a good shout for a home win. I find myself repeating the same superlatives for the Almeloers when they’re at home, and the same goes for their star player, Brandley Kuwas.

Heerenveen are inconsistent but could spring a surprise. Their football hasn’t been as impressive this season though, and as such they are no match for Heracles in Almelo. 3-1

Alex‘s prediction: The fact that Heracles are still in European contention with only one away victory this season is a testament to their ability to win matches at home. Brandley Kuwas and teammates will certainly trouble an easily-exposed Heerenveen with incisive runs and pestering crosses, but the fact of the matter is that the home side don’t have the clinical DNA of Holland’s best.

Heerenveen, on the other hand, maintain the star power to change any match – Ödegaard, Schaars, Dumfries, and even a resurgent Ghoochannejhad. Struggles with inconsistency are understandable with a young squad such as Heerenveen’s, so the day’s result largely depends on whether or not they’re up for the task.

Heracles are certainly a tall task, especially in Almelo, but it’s nothing that Jurgen Streppel and his squad can’t take on. It’s the case of an often-immovable object (Heracles’ home form) against a sometimes-unstoppable force (Heerenveen’s vibrance). And to be honest, it’s too close to call. 2-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

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Groningen v Ajax

Michael’s prediction: It’s been a dreadful campaign for Groningen, but the fans would love to put the final nail through the Ajax coffin here in terms of their title hopes – as they did last season too.

That makes this a tougher match for Ajax. We all know who the winner should be, but on recent performances, who can say for sure? 1-2

Alex‘s prediction: For Erik ten Hag and Ajax Amsterdam, anything but a win on Sunday is fatal. There is no time to spare in the race to catch a wavering PSV, but the issue remains the strength of Ajax themselves. When PSV slip on a puddle, Ajax raise a hopeful eyebrow and take their focus off the banana peel in front of them. How an über-talented squad such as Ajax haven’t made more of an effort to take on the floundering Boers is mind-boggling.

That being said, the visitors are the clear favorites for Sunday. Groningen’s 3-3 draw with PSV earlier in the season may be foreshadowing to yet another strange result, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on a victory for the Pride of the North. 1-4

Tip: Both teams to score.

Feyenoord v Excelsior

Michael’s prediction: This will be a lazy Sunday encounter between two Rotterdam sides who are done with regards to their league campaigns. Feyenoord are waiting for the Dutch Cup final to redeem their year whilst Excelsior are happy to be mid-table.

Robin van Persie should feature against his former side. Excelsior in fact have a stand named after their ex-player. I think he will make the difference here. 2-0

Alex‘s prediction: The return of Robin van Persie has meant a return to stability for Feyenoord, who fell hard after reaching the heights of the Eredivisie pinnacle. Now with a European place all but secured, the gritty Rotterdammers must do their best to assert themselves as a genuine top three club again. Was it simply a blip in a larger upward trend for Feyenoord, or should Gio van Bronckhorst be concerned about the direction of the club?

Mitchell van der Gaag has been praised a lot recently for his workmanlike tactics employed with Excelsior Rotterdam. The least-funded club in the league has maintained a mid-table position throughout much of the 17/18 season and it was only a 0-1 score line that condemned Excelsior to defeat in the last Feyenoord match. The over-achieving club would love nothing more than to visit De Kuip and leave with bragging rights.

The most intriguing Rotterdam Derby in recent years starts again as the late match on Sunday, but there is the potential for Feyenoord to end any hopes the visitors have before halftime. I don’t think they’ll drub Excelsior, but it is sufficiently safe to chalk this one up as a victory for the champions. 3-0

Tip: van Persie to score at any time.

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

How has Michael done so far?

[Crypto’s 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)

Week 21: Michael: 4 results (versus Total 14 Football Academy director Craig Hellier)

Week 22: Michael: 5 results (versus Football-Oranje writer James Rowe)

Week 23: Michael: 4 results (versus alternative-rock band Nemesea)

Week 24: Michael: 3 results, 1 correct score (versus Brentford winger Florian Jozefzoon)

Week 25: Michael: 3 results (versus football artist Barry Pirovano)

Week 26: Michael: 5 results, 1 correct score (versus commentator Michiel Teeling)

Week 27: Michael: 4 results, 1 correct score (versus Football-Oranje writer Alex Royal)

Week 28: Michael: 5 results, 2 correct scores (versus commentator Paul Thomas Clay)




Michael Statham (333 Posts)

I'm a physics student from the UK and a massive Eredivisie fan. Started watching after being inspired by the Netherlands national team after the 2010 World Cup. Wilfred Bouma also has a big part to play in my initial keen interest in the league, being a Villa fan meant I wanted to keep track of my favourite player.