Round 19 of the Eredivisie is this weekend with Michael Statham giving his preview and predictions for each match. Last weekend Michael beat fellow Football Oranje writer Amos Abuga by five correct results to two (with one correct score). Michael’s next victim challenger is Leo Walker, who also contributes to Football Oranje. An enticing tie between Ajax and Vitesse, along with AZ against Feyenoord are likely to give another bearing on this season’s title race.

eredFriday, January 22

Groningen v NEC

No win in five matches for Groningen was culminated by a thumping at home to Utrecht last weekend. It was like the home side didn’t come out to play in the second half as the visitors were free to knock the ball around.

Every cloud has a silver lining though. Alexander Sørloth, Groningen’s new Norwegian striker, scored on his debut.

NEC went back to the kind of solid performance against Willem II that they had been missing since late autumn.

It was only Groningen’s first defeat at home this season, and Erwin van de Looi will be making a point to his players about concentration this week, given that three of the four goals they conceded against Utrecht were from set-pieces.

Michael’s prediction: 1-1

Leo’s prediction: NEC Nijmegen are on course to become the most successful promoted side ever in Eredivisie history, and they can move a step closer to this achievement through inflicting a further home defeat on FC Groningen. 0-1

Saturday, January 23

Heracles v De Graafschap

It was a big surprise to see Heracles crushed in Enschede last Friday. They were found wanting in both attack and defence.

Meanwhile De Graafschap will receive a massive boost of confidence after beating Excelsior the day after.

I’m going to be ambitious in this one and back De Superboeren to record back-to-back wins. I don’t think Heracles will have recovered from last week.

Michael’s prediction: 1-2

Leo’s prediction: The departure of star man Oussama Tannane has left a significant gap in the Heracles starting eleven now, and a spirited De Graafschap, after claiming their 2nd victory of the season last week, can walk away with Almelo with a result. 1-1

Excelsior v Roda JC

Excelsior’s form worries me. They’re slipping slowly down the table and have not won in six games now. Their best team traits of working hard and being difficult to break down have been lost.

Meanwhile visitors Roda were extremely unlucky to lose to AZ. On another day, they would have won that game by three or four goals given the opportunities they had.

What might look like a closely-fought relegation battle, to me looks like a great opportunity for Roda.

Michael’s prediction: 1-2

Leo’s prediction: Two significantly out of form sides, each desperate for a win, will see this fixture as a 6 pointer. Roda JC, active early in the transfer window, can build on their unfortunate defeat to AZ Alkmaar with a narrow away win. 1-2

Ajax v Vitesse

Ajax will have to step up from their recent level of performances against a talented Vitesse side, which is something they usually manage to do in big games such as this.

The visitors will head to Amsterdam quietly confident in upsetting the odds.

However I think Ajax will score goals against Vitesse’s back line. What they boast in attack, can lead to holes in defence against stronger sides in the division. Whilst being unlucky against each of the top three so far this season, Vitesse still lost all three games.

Michael’s prediction: 2-1

Leo’s prediction: Vitesse have Feyenoord clearly in their sights now as they target a top 3 finish and they will provide a stern test for title favourites Ajax. This could be the game of the season. 2-2

Heerenveen v Willem II

Things didn’t go right again for Heerenveen in Zwolle. Foppe De Haan made a double substitution before half-time as he could see his team struggling, which turned out to be a good decision as things improved until Joey van den Berg’s sending off ruined the game as a contest.

If the visitors can win this weekend, they will overtake Heerenveen into a more comfortable mid-table position, a far cry from where they sat in November.

A bit of magic from Sam Larsson or new signing Arber Zeneli should help The Frisians return to winning ways.

Michael’s prediction: 2-1

Leo’s prediction: 2-0

Sunday, January 24

AZ Alkmaar v Feyenoord

As I mentioned earlier, AZ were fortunate to come away from Kerkrade with a result. Derrick Luckassen earnt a silly sending off leading to backs to the wall defending.

That said, AZ have an extraordinary record of winning games with ten-men, which I believe now stands at six wins and one draw from seven games. They are a team that works hard.

I thought Feyenoord were decidedly average against PSV. They never looked like creating a clear cut opportunity. Crosses into the box, which were the Rotterdammers’ biggest threat, were largely dealt with by PSV’s commanding centre-backs.

So maybe this is the end of the road for Feyenoord’s title hopes, as they do not look like putting a run of 5-10 wins together now, considering that is what they would realistically need to overtake the front two.

I’ll predict an entertaining draw.

Michael’s prediction: 2-2

Leo’s prediction: Feyenoord were dealt a significant blow last week, when despite playing well were beaten and subsequently knocked out of the title race by PSV. I predict a strong 2nd half to the season for AZ Alkmaar and making it back to back victories in 2016. 2-1

Utrecht v PEC Zwolle

Utrecht put on another sumptuous attacking display last weekend. Their current team reminds me of the side that finished fifth in three seasons ago, containing the likes of Jacob Mulenga, Nana Asare and Jens Toornstra.

Even though PEC scored five in their last match, I’d find it very difficult not to back Utrecht at the moment.

Michael’s prediction: 2-1

Leo’s prediction: These two teams scored for fun last week and FC Utrecht continued their rich vein of form extending their unbeaten run in the league to 5 games. This run should continue with a home victory over PEC Zwolle. 3-1

PSV v Twente

A crucial win for PSV in De Kuip in my opinion makes the current champions the favourites to lift the title again. Their next three games are against Twente, Excelsior and De Graafschap, which will allow them to build some momentum. They will also face Ajax at home in the second half of the season.

Phillip Cocu’s men executed their plan perfectly. Be tight, be strong and take the chances that come your way.

That said, the issue with PSV’s defence of the Eredivisie crown is that they slip up far too often in games like this one.

Twente’s youthful defence will face a tough task in Eindhoven. I’m not sure even some Hakim Ziyech magic will help them get out of trouble on this occasion.

Michael’s prediction: 3-0

Leo’s prediction: 2-0

ADO Den Haag vs Cambuur

I think ADO’s rather English style of play will see them comfortably beat their visitors Cambuur on Sunday.

Henk Fraser sets his team up to defend well, plays three defensive-minded midfielders and two wingers support the front target-man Mike Havenaar.

I’m not sure if Cambuur can both break through the ADO rearguard and also keep tight at the back with high balls being played more often than they are used to.

Michael’s prediction: 2-0

Leo’s prediction: ADO were unfortunate to not walk away with something from their home defeat to Ajax last week, and they should get back to winning ways here against an SC Cambuur side. We just hope their fans behave. 2-0

How have I done so far?

Week 1: 4 results

Week 2: 3 results, 1 correct score

Week 3: 7 results, 1 correct score

Week 4: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 5: 7 results, 2 correct scores

Week 6: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 7: 7 results

Week 8: 5 results, 1 correct score

Week 9: 5 results, 1 correct score

Week 10: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 11: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 12: 3 results, 1 correct score

Week 13: 5 results

Week 14: 6 results

Week 15: 6 results, 1 correct score

Week 16: 4 results, 2 correct scores

Week 17: 5 results, 1 correct score

Week 18: 5 results

Think you can better mine or Leo’s predictions? Tweet us! @EredivisieMike, @leowalker226 or tweet @football_oranje or comment below with yours…

Michael Statham (783 Posts)

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