Michael Bell looks at the biggest stories heading into the 7th round of the Eredivisie, and picks his bet of the week.

Ajax to rest key players?

A 2-2 draw at Atalanta is a good result on paper for Ajax but it should have been so much more. Now they need to defeat Midtjylland home and away if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

Next week’s tie in Denmark is vital for Erik ten Hag’s side and he would be wise to give some key players a rest this weekend.

Fortuna Sittard at home on Saturday should be an easy win for Ajax and the club can afford to let Dusan Tadic, Daley Blind and Antony rest.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Edson Alvarez and Lisandro Martinez can all come into the side, while there is no reason why Brian Brobbey can’t make his debut.

On fire Danilo to net again?

Danilo has started the season in excellent form for FC Twente this season with five goals and three assists in six games.

On Saturday, FC Twente will look to bounce back from their defeat to Utrecht last weekend and their shock KNVB Cup exit. PEC Zwolle lie in wait and Ron Jans will be expecting his side to win.

Danilo will be confident of netting again and he could be the league’s top scorer by the end of the weekend. The youngster is on loan from Ajax and proving he is a capable forward at this level.

No Robben again! Is he only playing the big games?

Arjen Robben is once again set to sit out FC Groningen’s game this weekend as VVV-Venlo visit the Euroborg.

Two weeks ago it appeared Robben was fit again as he came off the bench in the clash with Utrecht. However, he did not make the trip to Fortuna Sittard last week and will not play VVV this week.

Is Robben struggling physically or is he just being saved for the bigger games against the bigger clubs?

His absence shouldn’t affect Groningen, who have impressed me so far this season. A win against VVV this weekend will consolidate their place in the top seven. The Limburg side recovered from their 13-0 loss to Ajax last weekend by progressing in the KNVB Cup, but Groningen will be big favourites for their clash on Saturday evening.

Are Vitesse Arnhem title candidates?

I did not expect much from Vitesse Arnhem this season, but after six games they are second and only behind Ajax on goal difference.

Thomas Letsch is doing a fantastic job as head coach and their win over PSV Last weekend was fully deserved. Riechedly Bazoer is a sensation as a centre-back, while Oussama Tannane, Lois Openda, and Daan Huisman have all impressed me so far.

Vitesse Arnhem was not mentioned before the campaign as a title contender, and it is still unlikely, but the more they keep winning the more they will come into people’s minds.

This weekend, Vitesse head to Tilburg for a clash with Willem II, who are struggling this season. Vitesse will be favourites to extend their good run.

Time for Feyenoord to turn to the young guns?

Feyenoord was on the end of one of the worst refereeing performances I’ve seen in a while on Thursday in their Europa League loss to Wolfsberger. However, Feyenoord struggled during the game and it was a 1-4 loss because they missed chance after chance.

Bryan Linssen is not impressing me as a central striker and he had a horrible game on Thursday. Mark Diemers is also not performing recently. It is time to look at other options.

Dick Advocaat has Nouafal Bannis, Christan Conteh, and Marouan Azarkan, who can all add something different to the attack and they should be trusted.

Feyenoord have drawn three and lost one of their last four games and if changes aren’t made their season is under threat of fizzling out.

Is Ihattaren back on track?

The big story at PSV Eindhoven earlier in the season was Mohamed Ihattaren and the treatment of the youngster by Roger Schmidt.

However, coronavirus has given the youngster the chance to start recently for PSV Eindhoven and it now appears that the midfielder is back on track. He is an important player for the club and could earn a Netherlands call-up next week for the November internationals.

We are still not seeing the best of the 18-year-old, who is yet to score or provide an assist this season, but he is starting to get used to what Schmidt wants from him.

Ihattaren is an important player for the future of the Netherlands and it’s good to see the early season doubts about him are starting to fade.

Is this week the week for AZ Alkmaar?

After five draws in a row, AZ Alkmaar host RKC Waalwijk this Sunday and will surely end their winless start to the league campaign.

On Thursday, AZ continued their impressive start to the Europa League campaign with a 4-1 win over HNK Rijeka. That should now provide the confidence heading into the league clash on Sunday.

Players are starting to return from Coronavirus, while Jesper Karlsson and Albert Gudmundsson looked in good form up front.

RKC are improving week by week, but I can not see any other result than an AZ Alkmaar victory on Sunday. They have shot themselves in the foot constantly over the last five weeks but the wait for a win ends this weekend.


Sunday’s Early game sees Heracles Almelo host Utrecht in a tight clash, while later in the day winless Sparta Rotterdam host Heerenveen, who will want to consolidate their top four spot.

Player to Watch

Donyell Malen was the star for PSV Eindhoven on Thursday and he will feel confident about adding to his three Eredivisie goals when he faces ADO Den Haag this Sunday.

ADO have been pretty hopeless defensively and will be without Peet Bijen this weekend. Malen and PSV’s forwards may be in for a productive afternoon.

The 21-year-old will want to head into the Netherlands squad full of confidence, while goals will increase the rumours of interest from Barcelona.

Bet of the week

Ajax, PSV and AZ Alkmaar are all facing relegation candidates this weekend and all three should be confident of winning big.

PSV -2, AZ -2 and Ajax -2 as a treble will get you odds of 7.98/1.

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