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 Joep Smeets, who is an editor of Dutch broadcasting company Ziggo Sport – and writes about English & Spanish football for their website. Joep is also a life-long Roda JC supporter.

Note that there is a special mid-week Eredivisie round coming up after this weekend between Tuesday and Thursday! There will be an Eredivisie Predictions & Betting: Round 32 published for you on Monday 16th.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Joep on Twitter @joepsmeets1


Friday 13th April

Heracles v AZ

Michael’s prediction: I’ve talked all season about how strong Heracles are at home, where they have been defeated only three times since last August. A small stumble in form though makes this game a little easier for AZ, who will look to cement third place with a win here.

They should return to their usual 4-3-3 but I did think, for the first 65 minutes at least, that the 5-3-2 was a good choice from John van den Brom to quell PSV’s threats – of course it wasn’t enough in the end as they lost 2-3 after being two goals up in an exilerating game of football. I think this’ll be a comfortable AZ win. 1-3

Joep’s prediction: Strange things must happen if AZ don’t clinch the thoroughly deserved third spot this year, but with Vitesse and Ajax (and the cup final against Feyenoord in between) coming up, a three-pointer at Heracles is still very welcome. I don’t expect them to make any mistakes in Almelo, at an average team with some surprising and some disappointing results this season. Not really impressive. Heracles do have a weapon named Brandley Kuwas, but he won’t make the difference against AZ. 0-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Saturday 14th April

ADO Den Haag v Twente

Michael’s prediction: Remarkably, due to the poor form of both PEC Zwolle and Vitesse, ADO still have a good chance of finishing sixth in the league this season. Whether they can reach that position or not, manager Alfons Groenendijk deserves a lot of credit for the year that ADO have enjoyed, given their indifferent start to the campaign and quality of players.

They don’t often disappoint, and will offer Twente a stern test. The visitors are now four points from safety at the bottom of the table. I have documented my thoughts on Twente’s sad season here. I wrote that piece two months ago, and now the situation is even worse. I can’t see the Tukkers escaping from relegation now. It’s inevitable. The players are extremely low on confidence and either they cannot stop conceding goals or they can’t score the good chances that they create. 2-1

Joep’s prediction: To be honest, it’s pretty sad to see Twente on the bottom of the Eredivisie. The club is on fire and I’m afraid they will not be able to extinguish it in time. Sacking coach Gertjan Verbeek a few games before the end of the competition is a dreadful mistake in my opinion. It keeps the club in great uncertainty and there’s no way any coach will fix things in this short time.

The last time the team from The Hague lost against Twente at home was in 2013 and with the state Twente are in now, I don’t see any reason why the Tukkers would win for the first time in five years at the Kyocera Stadium. 1-0

Tip: Johnsen to score at any time.

VVV-Venlo v Heerenveen

Michael’s prediction: Despite being winless in nine Eredivisie games, VVV played a good game at Sparta last time out, but were simply outfought by a team fighting for their lives.

Heerenveen will come to Venlo to play their attractive football, but if VVV can do what they do best – frustrate and be clinical on the counter-attack – then the wait for a win will be over. 2-1

Joep’s prediction: VVV were probably the most surprising team in the first half of the season, but since February Maurice Steijn’s side have faltered a bit. Still the promoted club are safe and that’s definitely praiseworthy for such a small club. I expected a lot from Heerenveen this season, but after a tip-top start it all went stiff in Friesland. Even the European play-off spots are getting out of sight if they keep bargaining away points. VVV long for the end of the competition and I think the quality of the Frisians will bring them a close-call win. 0-1

Tip: Both teams to score.

Vitesse v Sparta

Michael’s prediction: My thoughts had not changed on Vitesse at all in the last few weeks. They were still not fighting enough for manager Henk Fraser and their season is falling apart. Now that Fraser has left the club, what kind of reaction can we expect?

An interesting match awaits on Saturday. Fraser is due to take over at relegation-threatened Sparta Rotterdam this summer – a team he’d probably like to be managing in the Eredivisie!

Sparta have been playing with more attacking confidence in recent weeks now that they have solidified a little more in defence. Playing more defensively is the way to beat Vitesse though, so a return to a more conservative style wouldn’t surprise me, with little goal-mouth action. A draw is my guess. 1-1

Joep’s prediction: Vitesse are one of Eredivisie’s the most unpredictable sides at the moment. The yellow-blacks blew away both Ajax and Feyenoord in 2018, but after the appalling back-to-back defeats against relegation-suspects Roda and NAC, the Europa League play-off spot is everything but assured. Now they will clash Sparta, another team in danger that managed to win last week’s game against VVV at home, increasing the gap to bottom-team Twente to four points.

It’s difficult to predict how a team will react after their coach had been sacked. According to the players, team chemistry wasn’t the problem. I think Vitesse are aware that another loss is not an option. Quality will be decisive here. 3-0

Tip: Sparta double chance.

PEC Zwolle v Excelsior

Michael’s prediction: Neither of these sides have been playing with particularly high intensity lately. The fact that PEC are home sways my choice for a home win, but Excelsior have been terrific at times on the road this season.

Ginger-haired defender Sepp van den Berg is only 16-years-old but has been getting some games for Zwolle recently, which is great to see with the Under 17 Euros next month. It’s a time for both sides to experiment with their squads, so it’s tricky to predict the result but I will back Zwolle for a narrow victory. 2-1

Joep’s prediction: Same as Heerenveen, Zwolle made a promising start this season under new trainer John van ‘t Schip with great attacking football. After the winter break they’ve lost 9 out of 13, with the final-minute defeat at Roda last weekend to top it all. This weekend’s opponent Excelsior always look like an easy target, but this year again they’re proving to be a tough one to play against. ‘The Ugly Duckling’ of the Eredivisie is the 4th(!) best away team in the league, after PSV, Ajax and AZ. I think they will take a sneaky three points back to Rotterdam again, putting PEC’s play-off chances in danger. 1-2

Tip: Both teams to score.

Sunday 15th April

NAC Breda v Willem II

Michael’s prediction: In the last couple of months, these two sides – who sit just above the relegation zone – have arguably played their best football this season. They have also both been helped out by the form of their strikers, who I mention constantly in Eredivisie Predictions – Fran Sol for Willem II and Umar Sadiq & Thierry Ambrose for NAC Breda.

It’s a battle of the in-form forwards then, with neither side in their strongest defensive form. Goals and entertainment should be expected! A shame that it isn’t in the evening for an Avondje NAC! 3-2

Joep’s prediction: If you love football matches with a truly bombastic (England-esque) atmosphere and back-and-forth-football, I’d recommend you guys to watch this game. No doubt it’ll be spectacular. Rivals NAC and Willem II are just above the relegation play-off spots and want to secure themselves by winning this derby. Both teams have attacking intentions and are pretty equal in terms of quality. I think there will be loads of chances on both sides, but not a lot of goals. Eredivisie top scorer Fran Sol will seal the win for the away side. 1-2

Tip: Over 2.5 goals.

Groningen v Roda JC

Michael’s prediction: Visiting Roda have done marvellously well to win their last three games in a row. What a turnaround this could prove to be in their fight for survival. I think they will smell blood against Groningen, who have sat far lower down the league table than they should have been this season. If Roda win, then they are only one point behind Groningen… 1-1

Joep’s prediction: Yet another key game for the rising team of Roda JC. After losing against Willem II and Sparta, no-one in Kerkrade (including myself) gave a single penny for the chances of their team staying up. But with the coach extending his contract, tranquillity has come back to the club. That has been projected on the pitch with fresh football and most importantly three wins in a row. Still the Koempels are four points away from the safe spots after both NAC and Groningen grabbed points last weekend.

Groningen haven’t impressed me at all this season. A fragile and unbalanced team, managed by a lightweight of a coach. But the last few weeks it looks like they could be able to play themselves to safety with impressive performances against Zwolle and power houses AZ and Ajax. A win against Roda will keep them in the Eredivisie for another year. On the other side, a Roda win would totally open the race against relegation again. Experience has taught me this kind of game could be unsatisfactory for both teams though. A draw is lurking. 1-1

Tip: Roda double chance.

Feyenoord v Utrecht

Michael’s prediction: Utrecht have conceded 12 goals in their last five matches, whilst Feyenoord have scored 18 in the same time. Fourth plays fifth in what will be a good game but I think form suggests that this won’t be as closely-matched as we’d like to see.

Gio van Bronckhorst took his players to a training camp in Spain this week. An odd choice considering there’s only weeks left to go in the season? No. What a fantastic decision that should prove to be. It will refocus the players to work hard despite their league campaign being over and prepare them all for the Dutch Cup final which is on the 22nd April. 3-1

Joep’s prediction: Utrecht were considered to possibly defy the traditional top teams at the beginning of this season. That task seemed too tough for the Domstad-club. They alternated between magnificent wins and terrible defeats.

Reigning Dutch champions Feyenoord got their act together after a disappointing first-half of the season. The only way to save the season is to win the domestic cup final and in the run-up to that game they are winning their league games quite easily. 3-1

Tip: Asian handicap Feyenoord -1.5 goals.

PSV v Ajax

Michael’s prediction: The crunch match of the season and ‘last chance saloon’ for Ajax. PSV can win the title at home to second-place Ajax with a victory on Sunday. Is anyone else thinking about Manchester City’s home defeat to rivals Manchester United right now?

I do think that Ajax will turn up for this match. It’s in their players’ nature. The team will play better for these bigger games and end up dropping points against the lower sides in the division. We saw that already just before Christmas when Ajax smashed PSV 3-0. That doesn’t earn you the title though, and neither does playing ‘nice’ football.

I predicted that PSV would play above their level at AZ last weekend, but I was proven wrong there, despite the Eindhoven side winning. It was a dramatic finale to the match and AZ should have seen the game out. AZ boss van den Brom was right: “PSV like to score from your mistakes.”

I’ve said all season that PSV would be found out in these bigger games. I think it’s going to happen again, but I think it’ll be a draw in the end because Ajax can be guilty of missing good chances. 1-1

Joep’s prediction: People have been looking forward to this match since the beginning of the season. And as more or less expected, it could be the championship decider. Games between PSV and Ajax in Eindhoven are usually full of sensation, so another spectacular display of both sides is definitely not out of the question.

Not for the first time this season, PSV escaped from a disappointing defeat last weekend. Again they managed to turn things around with a spectacular win at AZ. The luck of a true champion?

Ajax in their best shape are unstoppable. Unfortunately for them they barely reach that potential, resulting in an unstable season. But when they peak, it’s against a top-three side, which will not be different this weekend. If Ajax’s front-three are sharper than last week against Heracles, it should be possible for them to grab three points and make the title race exciting again. 2-3

Tip: Both teams to score.

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)

Week 29: Michael: 4 results, 1 correct score (versus Dutch football writer and analyst Alex Dieker)

Week 30: Michael: 4 results (versus Burnley’s Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson)

Michael Statham (763 Posts)

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