Every week in the 2021/22 season, Football-Oranje’s Michael Statham gives you his previews and predictions for each Dutch Eredivisie round.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
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Wednesday, 11th May

Ajax v Heerenveen

Ajax could seal the title in the penultimate match round with a mid-week win over Heerenveen. All games kick off at the same time this Wednesday and on Sunday to conclude the main Eredivisie season (before the play-offs begin).

The Amsterdam giants could only draw with AZ Alkmaar on Sunday, but the point felt far more positive than the defeat that awaited them, having led 0-1 before going 2-1 down; a late Edson Alvarez header salvaged a draw – yet another late goal in Ajax’s stumble to the Eredivisie title. They haven’t been playing at their best at all. Erik Ten Hag leaving the club feels like the end of an era, but a sorely needed refresh is in order in Amsterdam. I wonder what kind of money Edwin van der Sar and co will make available for the incoming new boss.

Heerenveen spent plenty of their (more modest) cash fund in January. Their new players didn’t settle to begin with, but we are beginning to see something exciting. Is it enough to upset the odds on Wednesday night? I highly doubt it with Ajax on the cusp of another Eredivisie title.

Amin Sarr’s pace on the counter attack must be watched by a high Ajax back line, which has found pace and power difficult to handle since their wobble around February.

Heerenveen may not have kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, but they have come on in the last few months to be more competitive and genuinely more dangerous in attack. It will keep Ajax sensible; they just want the three points. 2-0

Cambuur v Willem II

Both of these sides have suffered slides down the Eredivisie table in the second half of the campaign. The difference is that Cambuur sustained their exciting run for longer in the earlier months of the season meaning they are safe in lower mid-table, and Willem II are the ones in trouble, yet they have won two of their last three to remain in with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation. As it stands, the Tilburgers currently occupy 17th, the second of two direct relegation spots. They have two decent games to get points out of, so this could be a very tight last couple of match days to the season!

In Willem II’s 2-0 win over Heracles, they enjoyed tonnes of first-half chances, particularly through centre-back Wessel Dammers from corners. These two sides are amongst the worst three defences in the division, so mistakes and goals are pretty expected.

With Cambuur at home, I am expecting some pressure from the hosts onto this fragile defence, but I was surprised that Cambuur were again second best last weekend with a draw against RKC Waalwijk. They desperately need the end of the season to rebuild. 1-2

Go Ahead Eagles v Feyenoord

Go Ahead Eagles showed little appetite to push for a late winner at NEC last time out, and they were punished, losing 1-0 to a side they would have deemed their equals. Perhaps now the steam has run out for Kees van Wonderen’s side, who were on a run of three successive wins before they lost their last three.

That will be great news for Europa Conference League finalists Feyenoord. They seemed jaded in their first-half performance against PSV; several of their players underperformed in what looked like a hangover from their exertions with Marseille. Luckily, after Feyenoord have managed this week of another two games, they have some recovery time to recharge and refocus ahead of the final with Roma. Feyenoord did claim a late 2-2 draw with PSV last time out, but that penalty decision in their favour was ludicrous and Feyenoord should have lost despite their rejuvenated second-half display.

Arne Slot’s men haven’t lost any of their last ten matches. They have been involved in some thrilling encounters lately because they are just full of goals. I don’t see them losing to a flat Go Ahead side, but then I didn’t see them beating Ajax earlier in the season! 1-2

PSV v NEC Nijmegen

After PSV’s unfortunate 2-2 draw with Feyenoord, head coach Roger Schmidt said, “It’s a scandal for me. Everyone in the stadium knows it was never a penalty.” I agree, Mauro Junior’s accidental elbow was not a foul and even though Schmidt’s team were not perfect, they showed they have come a long way in the top matches.

Now they face a game they really should win, even if it feels like there is little to play for. Schmidt insists that his side will go for the next six points in the hope that Ajax will slip up twice in their final two. In reality, that is not going to happen, but I could have been predicting something rather different had PSV seen out victory on Sunday to really put pressure on Ajax.

NEC arrive after winning their first home game in over half a year against Go Ahead. It was a nip and tuck kind of game, and they just won’t be able to have that kind of match here. They will have to be motivated to sit deep and take their chances on the counter. The Nijmegen side have still got something to play for this season: the Europa Conference League play-offs, which eighth place provides in an end-of-season affair, where fifth to eighth play off to decide who gets the last ticket into the summer play-off rounds. With Heerenveen, who sit above them, facing Ajax, NEC know a bonus point or more here will go a long way to reaching their dreamy goal.

NEC will battle hard, which will keep the score down, but PSV have picked up their goal threat to the levels we saw at the beginning of the season. Cody Gakpo was sumptuous with the two goals against Feyenoord – great quality! 2-0

Fortuna Sittard v Vitesse Arnhem

Fortuna have won three of their last four games to look like one of the favourites to avoid relegation. Their attacking players have pulled them out of trouble. The bad news is that Zian Flemming – scorer of that brilliant free kick against Twente in their victory at the weekend – is suspended for this one. The good news is that Vitesse have been blowing hot and cold – mostly cold – since their European exit to Roma.

Vitesse’s loss at home to Heerenveen was nothing too surprising: more fighting football rather than anything easy on the eye, and another loss in Arnhem. That said, I think Lois Openda will be one to keep your eye on against a sometimes leaky Fortuna defence.

I think betting on a Fortuna Sittard double chance is wise here as they absolutely have something to fight for, whereas Vitesse will struggle under pressure when they sit at the opposite side of the ‘pressure fence’, having long ago secured a European play-off place. We have even seen lately that the Arnhem club lost to another relegation struggler Willem II. A point for the home side is still a good point to pick up as they keep their noses in front of Sparta, Willem II and PEC Zwolle below them – three points is the gap at the moment. 1-1

Sparta Rotterdam v PEC Zwolle

An absolute relegation cracker awaits us on this penultimate Eredivisie round. By cracker, I mean tension and uncertainty, rather than anything spectacular shown by the 22 footballers – this is the bottom of the Eredivisie we’re talking about!

Both of these teams have picked up seven points in their last four games, which is good going and a continuation of the patches of decent form shown by both of these sides since the Winter break. Sparta picked up a smart win away at Groningen last time out and PEC had a 50:50 battle with seventh-placed Utrecht.

At this late stage, I think PEC Zwolle will be the more anxious of the sides. Firstly, they sit in eighteenth, never good when it’s only two games to go, but they also face PSV on the final day. Anything other than a win in Rotterdam dooms them to the drop in all reality.

On the flip side, Sparta really can’t afford to play for a draw here because they are also in danger of ceding ground on the teams around them. For this reason, I don’t see a boring goalless draw because at some point either side will chance their arm in the hope of three points.

For me, I think it will be Sparta. Maurice Steijn’s early arrival as manager has sparked them into life: four points from a possible six. 2-0

FC Twente v FC Groningen

FC Twente finally dropped points they were expected to pick up with a home defeat to Fortuna last time out. Ricky van Wolfswinkel was on the scoresheet again but it wasn’t enough in a second bad-tempered game involving the Tukkers.

Groningen have lost their last five, and it would be a bit of a shock to suddenly see them end this run in Enschede, but part of me is thinking they might make the most of Twente’s wheels coming off at the wrong time of the season as they look to qualify for Europe. AZ are expectant of finishing in the top four and will no doubt be breathing down Twente’s necks in these final days of the season. Twente may still make it through the end-of-season play-offs should they finish fifth, but I think it is trickier when you head into those games on a low note of slipping out of a promising position.

Knowing visiting coach Danny Buijs, he will set up to contain Twente in a 3-5-2, packing the midfield to try and stop the creative Twente players in the middle of the park and van Wolfswinkel’s impact around the edge of the penalty area. A two-goals handicap in favour of Groningen backs up my thoughts of a potential upset in Enschede, but with a safety cushion in case Twente edge out a three points against this defensively resolute side. 1-1

FC Utrecht v AZ Alkmaar

Utrecht and AZ sit fourth and fifth in Eredivisie stats for entrances into the penalty box this season. Also indicative of Utrecht’s unfortunate attacking play was their expected goals, with 63.1 expected compared to the 48 they have netted, putting them as the Dutch top flight’s worst goal-efficient side. On the other hand, AZ have been arguably a little lucky, having scored 59, more than the 53.5 they were expected to score. So, despite AZ sitting higher in the table (fifth compared to seventh), could this match-up be closer than the points difference between these teams suggests? I still think AZ have the bigger quality, but only just. Utrecht are a home, which of course provides a mental advantage, but AZ have shown themselves to be pretty decent scoring away from home.

The annoyance for the vistors is that Jordy Clasie is suspended here, taking away their only true defensive midfielder. He was very busy in their 2-2 draw with Ajax, which, in the first half, looked like a pretty dreary display from the team who were hot on the heels of Ajax last season. Two good goals did put them 2-1 up before conceding a late equaliser pegged them back.

For Utrecht’s last home game of the regular Eredivisie season, fans want to see them put AZ under pressure and an entertaining display. This could even be the play-off final should Alkmaar not pip Twente to fourth place.

I think if AZ can utilise the pace of Jesper Karlsson through the middle of the park, then they will get some golden opportunities. You cannot deny that AZ have the edge in terms of playing squad, but this could be a fairly end-to-end game. 1-1

RKC Waalwijk v Heracles Almelo

Despite RKC beating Groningen and drawing with Cambuur in their last two making it seem as though they were safe, the Waalwijk outfit are still only three points above the drop zone with two to go. It will be up to head coach Joseph Oosting to rev up his team once more in an appetising home game.

Wins may have been hard to come by this season for RKC, but Heracles were awful in their 2-0 loss to another relegation struggler, Willem II. That came after a decent run of results for the Almelo side, but the summer vibe has kicked in with the squad of players, it seems.

I don’t see many goals here, and the under 3.5 goals bet was too good to refuse. Heracles in their only two wins on the road this season kept clean sheets and scored only once or twice. RKC don’t have too many goals in them and they are a sensible team full of experience to try and get the points required. 1-0

How has Michael done so far?

Week 1: 4/9 results | 5/9 betting tips

Week 2: 4/8 results | 6/8 betting tips

Week 3: 5/9 results | 6/9 betting tips

Week 4: 4/8 results | 5/8 betting tips

Week 5: 5/9 results | 7/9 betting tips

Week 6: 4/9 results and 1 correct score | 8/9 betting tips

Week 7: 5/9 results and 1 correct score | 7/9 betting tips

Week 8: 6/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips

Week 9: 2/9 results | 3/8* betting tips *-one void

Week 10: 4/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips

Week 11: 5/9 results | 4/9 betting tips

Week 12: 4/9 results | 4/9 betting tips

Week 13: 5/9 results and 2 correct scores | 5/9 betting tips

Week 14: 5/9 results | 5/9 betting tips

Week 15: 4/9 results | 6/9 betting tips

Week 16: 2/9 results and 1 correct score | 5/9 betting tips

Week 17: 5/9 results | 7/9 betting tips

Week 18: 6/9 results and 2 correct scores | 8/9 betting tips

Week 19: 3/9 results and 2 correct scores | 5/9 betting tips

Week 20: 3/9 results and 1 correct score | 2/9 betting tips

Week 21: 7/9 results and 2 correct scores | 6/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 22: 4/9 results | 4/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 23: 5/8* results and 2 correct scores | 5/8* betting tips *game postponed (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 24: 5/9 results and 1 correct score | 6/9 betting tips (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 25: 7/8* results and 1 correct score | 5/8* betting tips *game suspended (click Eredivisie on here to see my betting tips)

Week 26: 7/9 results and 2 correct scores | 8/9 betting tips

Week 27: 6/9 results and 1 correct score | 7/9 betting tips

Week 28: 4/9 results and 2 correct scores | 6/9 betting tips

Week 29: 4/9 results and 1 correct score | 4/9 betting tips

Week 30: 5/9 results and 1 correct score | ?/9 betting tips

Week 31: 5/9 results and 2 correct scores | 6/9 betting tips (+ 1 void)

Week 32: 3/9 results and 2 correct scores | 7/9 betting tips

Michael Statham (812 Posts)

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