The Eredivisie heads into round 8 this weekend and Michael Bell is back to look at the big stories heading into the weekend. He also picks his player to watch and a Bet of the week.

Fortuna Sittard to get their first win of the campaign?

I had some optimism for Fortuna Sittard heading into the season after some of the signings they made in the summer. However, the Limburg club have been hopeless and they sit bottom of the table with two points from seven games.

There were some signs of hope last week as they created chances against Ajax, and I feel they could finally get their first win of the campaign when PEC Zwolle visit on Friday night.

The visitors were hammered by FC Twente last week and look awful defensively. They head to Fortuna Sittard on a four-game winless run and I can see them extending that to five.

Rankovic to be given the boot?

It’s been a really poor start to the season for ADO Den Haag and it is already looking ominous for head coach Aleksander Rankovic.

The club has brought in a lot of players this summer, but Rankovic has been unable to get the best out of them and this weekend they face in-form FC Twente.

Defensively the club have been weak and they are the second lowest scorers behind RKC Waalwijk. ADO has the players to get them out of this mess, but at the moment they look lost on the pitch.

A sixth defeat in eight games may prove to be the final straw for the club’s board and Rankovic could be given the boot heading into the international break.

Sparta need their kids to step up

Sparta Rotterdam has plenty of talent in their squad, but at the moment they sit second bottom of the Eredivisie with no wins in their seven games.

The draws against AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord were good results, but they need to pick up wins against the sides at the bottom if they are to fend off relegation.

This weekend they head to RKC Waalwijk, who have been improving this season and have a much stronger squad than last year.

Abdou Harroui is a big talent for me and I have been impressed by what I have seen from Sven Mijnens. Wouter Burger and Emanuel Emegha are also very talented players.

Henk Fraser needs his young talents to step up and prove they have what it takes to play in this league, starting on Saturday. RKC Waalwijk away is a game they are more than capable of winning if they can find some inspiration from somewhere. Harroui has the ability to decide that game.

Utrecht better off without Van den Brom?

I have never been a big fan of John van den Brom, and don’t think he has improved Utrecht since taking charge two years ago.

With the club bringing in a number of players this summer they will have expected to be challenging for a top-four spot, but they currently sit eighth with only two wins this season.

A new coach could be exactly what the club needs to inject some confidence and new ideas into a squad that is packed full of talented players. Whether that new coach could be Mark van Bommel is to be seen.

Rick Kruys and Rene Hake have also been put forward as potential replacements, and they will get his chance to prove themselves on Sunday when Ajax head to Utrecht. A shock win would prove they can handle the job on a permanent basis.

Utrecht away a potential banana skin for Ajax?

The fixtures are coming thick and fast for Ajax and after their slender win over Midtjylland on Tuesday, Erik ten Hag faces his former side away on Sunday.

An international break is coming and Ajax will be keen to maintain their place at the top of the table, but Utrecht away is not an easy tie for the league leaders.

With a squad full of good attacking players and a caretaker manager looking to prove himself, Utrecht will be fired up for the game and any tiredness in the Ajax squad could be exposed.

Ten Hag may have to make a few changes, which could see David Neres and Lassina Traore come into the line-up after they were benched in Denmark. He will also be hoping his defence is more secure on Sunday with Perr Schuurs and Lisandro Martinez looking shaky in midweek.

Ajax is still big favourites for me with Antony and Tadic in great form, but the game should be tight. Eljero Elia will be one player very motivated to impress if Hake gives him his chance from the start.

Utrecht v Ajax definitely the game of the weekend for me.

Haps in great form for Feyenoord

One player who was unlucky to miss out on the Netherlands squad is Ridgeciano Haps, who has had an excellent start to the season with Feyenoord.

He excelled in the 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow in a more advanced role on the wing, while he already has three goals in the Eredivisie this season.

With Bryan Linssen continuing to struggle, Feyenoord at least have another attacking player to help out Steven Berghuis. It was also very encouraging to watch Orkun Kokcu in form against CSKA Moscow too. His goal was great and he looked back to his best.

This weekend, Feyenoord face Groningen in what will be a tricky tie for the Rotterdammers. However, they will not come up against Arjen Robben, who has ruled himself out for the next month.

Vitesse’s title push to continue

With Ajax playing Utrecht away, there is a possibility that Vitesse could head into the international break top of the table.

The Arnhem side face FC Emmen this weekend in a game that on paper should be a comfortable home win.

Oussama Tannane is back which is a big boost to the Vitesse midfield, while Lois Openda and Armando Broja look to be an excellent partnership up front. It is also very encouraging to see young talents such as Daan Huisman and Patrick Voegh impressing.

Vitesse have been a joy to watch so far and a breath of fresh air for the league.

Boadu struggling for form

It has not been a great season for AZ Alkmaar so far, and Myron Boadu is one of the players struggling for form.

The young forward was excellent last season but is snatching at chances so far, and only has two goals to his name. This has led him to lose his place in the Netherlands squad.

Jesper Karlsson, Albert Gudmundsson and Calvin Stengs looked the part in the 4-1 win over HNK Rijeka and the victory against RKC last weekend. Boadu needs to get among the goals if he is going to keep his spot in the side.

An away trip to in-form Heerenveen awaits this weekend in what will be a very tough tie for AZ. However, its a chance for Boadu to prove himself.

Heerenveen can show they mean business against AZ

Heerenveen have won five out of seven games this season, but they were comfortably beaten when they faced Ajax.

They now have a chance to prove themselves again against a top four side when AZ Alkmaar visit the Abe Lenstra Stadion.

The Frisians are a great side to watch with Henk Veerman in the form of his life up front, while Joey Veerman is excellent in midfield. At the back, Jan Paul van Hecke is proving himself to be a huge talent, and Brighton did well to sign them when they did.

The game against AZ is going to be tight but I can see Heerenveen getting a result that could push them into the top three.

Jury still out on Schmidt

PSV were horrific in that second half against PAOK on Thursday and fully deserved their 4-1 defeat.

As soon as Pablo Rosario went off the pitch, the midfield lost the plot and left the defence completely exposed to counterattacks. Rosario is only just back from coronavirus and understandable that he would be substituted, but it was clear the team was completely lost on the pitch.

Roger Schmidt has had PSV looking good at times, but they have looked awful in the Europa League so far and their loss to Vitesse two weeks ago was worrying. This weekend they host Willem II, who are struggling for form, but have the tools to trouble them if PSV don’t concentrate.

PSV is meant to be title favourites for many but it still seems the team are trying to get used to the way Schmidt wants them to play. It may be months until we see the best of this PSV side, and by that time they could be out of Europe and behind in the title race.

Donyell Malen is not playing as well as I expected, but Mohamed Ihattaren is starting to show glimpses of form. It will be exciting to finally see him make his Netherlands debut next week.

Elsewhere

On Saturday, VVV-Venlo host Heracles looking for their first win since the opening day of the season.

Player to Watch

Henk Veerman is top scorer in the Eredivisie so far this season with seven goals and he will be a big test for the AZ defence, that could still be without Bruno Martins Indi.

The tall forward has proved himself to be an excellent signing for the club and his partnership with his namesake Joey Veerman has been excellent so far.

Also keep an eye on Mohamed Ihattaren ahead of his Netherlands debut, while Eljero Elia against Ajax could be fun.

Bet of the Weekend

A weekend of shock results could be upon us ahead of the international break.

Fortuna Sittard, Utrecht and Heerenveen all to win this weekend would get you odds of 47.82/1.

Although that may be very risky. If you fancy a weekend full of goals, then all nine games to be over 2.5 goals would get you 65.99/1.




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