Round 22 of the Eredivisie is this weekend and Michael Statham continues to give his preview and predictions for each match. This round, Michael is up against fellow Football Oranje writer Chaka Simbeye. Amongst their predictions are a key relegation clash on Friday and a Klassieker on Sunday between out of form sides Ajax and Feyenoord.

eredFriday, February 5

Excelsior v Willem II

Still without win since November, Excelsior have now slipped into the bottom three, whilst the teams above them continue to pick up points.

Although their draw in Arnhem was more positive for them, despite a lack of clear cut chances in any attempt to win the game.

Losing to Willem II would perhaps be disastrous for their season because in my view, the Tilburgers are their most likely rivals to fall beneath them, despite signing Bartholomew Ogbeche for that much needed firepower up front.

This is not likely to be a high quality match, but this is a key relegation battle.

Michael’s prediction: 1-1

Chaka’s prediction: Willem II provide more in an attacking sense than Excelsior and can only improve with Ogbeche up front to provide foil for the likes of Andersen. 0-2

Saturday, February 6

ADO Den Haag v Roda JC

ADO equipped themselves well in their win in De Kuip. They kept their shape and defended well.

Henk Fraser looks to be slowly getting it right with his team. At one point in the first half of the season, their only wins came against Feyenoord and AZ, whilst they dropped far too many points against sides around them in the table.

Visitors Roda performed well again in their draw with Ajax. The new players have finally given Danny Kalezic a decent squad to work with.

However I think the 120 minutes Roda played on Wednesday will take its toll.

Michael’s prediction: 1-0

Chaka’s prediction: Could be a match of attrition more than anything. 0-0

AZ v Vitesse

Resurgent AZ have their eyes on third place following a fourth win in a row. A potential cup final is also in the offing for a club which looked to be on the decline around Christmas.

Attacking players such as Vincent Janssen and Dabney dos Santos have returned to form and Ron Vlaar has been magnificent in defence.

They’ll face a Vitesse side who have lost some of their edge in recent weeks. A drab draw with Excelsior highlighted their attacking shortcomings.

When the onus is on them to attack, they have found it hard to carve out chances. Although they lack a target-man up front who can link up their forwards better. Dominic Solanke is not physically strong enough to play as a hold-up forward.

AZ’s blistering form is set to continue.

Michael’s prediction: 2-1

Chaka’s prediction: One of the weekend’s most enticing matchups as the home side have found their stride. AZ could edge it as Vincent Janssen is the form player of the second half of the Eredivisie season so far but Vitesse will make it a contest. 3-2

Heerenveen v Twente

This match is between two sides who sit in the bottom half of the table, but have some good quality players.

We all know about Hakim Ziyech, but recently Twente’s other midfielders have raised their game to help lift The Tukkers out of the relegation zone.

Heerenveen have the likes of Sam Larsson and Arber Zeneli who have been excellent of late.

I expect a good game with plenty of goals and Heerenveen to win.

Michael’s prediction: 3-2

Chaka’s prediction: Both teams are experiencing a resurgence in the second half of the season. Twente could come out with a slender victory as they have pulled themselves together after the winter break. Hakim Ziyech will probably be the difference in this game. 1-2

Heracles v PEC Zwolle

Heracles’s meagre form in front of goal continued by going a third match in four games without scoring a goal.

Although Iliass Bel Hassani has been bright, Wout Weghorst has been disappointing in the New Year. In fact, the tall striker’s last goal for the club was against PEC Zwolle in early November.

Maybe Weghorst will enjoy playing PEC again this time too, seeing as Ron Jans currently has some crippling injury problems. Ouasim Bouy is having to play centre-back along with Thomas Lam, and right-back Bram van Polen has been shifted to left-back.

One clean sheet in the last four months speaks for itself.

Michael’s prediction: 1-1

Chaka’s prediction: Heracles have tried to compensate for the loss of Oussama Tannane by giving Brahim Darri more responsibility in an attacking sense. However, the youngster still lacks the decision making to be a top Eredivisie player. Stegeman’s well drilled side should just edge the tie. 1-0

Sunday, February 7

Ajax v Feyenoord

For what is usually a classic game to watch in the Netherlands, I hope we are not left disappointed by a low quality, boring encounter because of two sides that are out of form and out of ideas creatively up front.

Ajax have struggled for goals in recent weeks, their last home match against Heracles was an awful performance. Against Roda last weekend they did not have another shot on target following their second goal in the 29th minute.

In short, why are Ajax underperforming in attack? I think you could argue many reasons. I think the midfield lacks fluidity, the wingers lack imagination and Arkadiusz Milik is being relied on too much as a target man, seeing as he has a lack of physical suitability to the role.

However they are a young side, form can change. Although Frank De Boer’s tactics are still a major hold-back on his side. The players are too rigid and forward moves are predictable out wide.

Feyenoord come into this one on the back of five successive defeats, much worse form than the hosts, but they did win in the cup on Wednesday.

Gio van Bronckhorst’s men also lack that edge in attack. Tactics from a naïve and inexperienced manager haven’t helped.

When Michiel Kramer was on the pitch, at least Feyenoord could be forgiven for continually looking to play crosses into the box, but as Kramer is now injured, the Rotterdammers must find another way to break teams down. Anass Achabar and Dirk Kuyt are not players who are going to win many headers in the opponent’s penalty area.

Defensively the centre-backs have all made mistakes recently, and Karim El Ahmadi has been given more attacking licence this season than before. A lack of a suitable defensive midfield partner for El Ahmadi has left Feyenoord more exposed.

Maybe van Bronckhorst’s new 5-3-2 system, which he deployed on Wednesday to great success, will help give the Rotterdammers that much needed stability.

For Sunday, it will be interesting to see who will turn up and really attempt to change their fortunes. Given that the visitors are in a much bigger crisis at the moment, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to perform to a high enough level relative to recent games to get anything from Ajax.

Michael’s prediction: 1-0

Chaka’s prediction: This could perhaps be one of the least interesting Klassiekers in recent memory. The only reason Ajax would win is because of Feyenoord’s abysmal defending. 3-0

Groningen v Cambuur

Groningen displayed their attacking quality in a fine win over PEC last week. That kind of performance has been missing for much of the season, but maybe now van de Looi’s men will hit some form.

Sometimes their play can be slow and tepid, but they should have enough to see off Cambuur who, with each week that passes, look like they’ll be automatically relegated from the Eredivisie due to De Graafschap’s recent revival.

Michael’s prediction: 2-0

Chaka’s prediction: 2-0

De Graafschap v NEC

So often the league’s bottom club have looked like turning the corner in their season, only for them to then hit rock bottom again following another defeat.

Their recent form reads, two wins and two defeats from four matches, scoring eight goals in the process. That is a bit of form from De Superboeren, and they’ll fancy their chances at home to NEC, who really did not get going at all against AZ.

Their strong defence was breached way more often than usual and they did not create a good chance all match.

De Graafschap must be weary of NEC on the counter, but I’ll back them for a point here.

Michael’s prediction: 2-2

Chaka’s prediction: Ernst Faber’s side should grab an away win as this is the best game to show their counter-attacking exploits. They are rigid defensively and possess the attacking talent to put De Graafschap away. 1-2

Utrecht v PSV

Utrecht have gone off the boil in the last few weeks. We’re not seeing the same swashbuckling team from the first half of the season.

Considering he wished to remain at the club, Sébastien Haller has been playing as though he was denied a move away this transfer window. He has not performed as well as he can lately.

So maybe this won’t be such a difficult game for PSV as it looked a few weeks ago.

The only problem for Phillip Cocu is Andrés Guardado’s injury, but he has been suitably covered with the loan signing of Marco van Ginkel.

I expect Utrecht to still be tight defensively, but let’s hope their attackers turn up to give us the game of the weekend.

Michael’s prediction: 1-2

Chaka’s prediction: 2-4

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

Week 19: 7 results

Week 20: 2 results, 1 correct score

Week 21: 2 results

Think you can better my predictions? Tweet us! @EredivisieMike, @chaka_simbeye or @football_oranje, or comment below with yours…

Michael Statham (816 Posts)

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