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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Friday, 12th August

Excelsior v Vitesse Arnhem

On the opening weekend, newly promoted Excelsior picked up a valuable three points away at Cambuur (winning 0-2). The performance was admirable, but there were some stark signs of what is to come. Many predicted the Rotterdam side to finish bottom of the Eredivisie this season (including me); there were several moments where goalkeeper Stijn van Gassel made an excellent save to get them out of trouble in a game which their opponents dominated.

Meanwhile, Vitesse took part in an exciting but ultimately disappointing 2-5 defeat to Feyenoord. They took the lead and even pulled back to 2-2 at one point. Nikolai Baden Frederiksen played as the lone striker but hardly showed any movement (that was despite his goal). Unless Vitesse bring in one more quality attacking player, they are going to struggle for goals this season. They also look set to struggle defensively too, with four of their back five new players, and a goalkeeper still making costly mistakes.

This could be a great fixture for either of these sides to get a morale-boosting victory. For Excelsior, a first Eredivisie win on home soil on their return to the Dutch top flight, and for Vitesse, the first three points in what could be a difficult season for them. I think Vitesse will suffer another mini set-back here. 1-1

Saturday, 13th August

Go Ahead Eagles v PSV

After a tough 2-0 defeat at AZ last weekend, Go Ahead now play PSV. Only three players who started the opening fixture started the final game of last season, with new head coach Rene Hake overseeing an influx of new signings. They don’t seem as disjointed as I first thought though, so they could give their opponents on Saturday a tricky game.

PSV edged past Monaco in mid-week in a memorable Champions League qualifying summer evening. They rode their luck a lot, but I think they can make it past Rangers over the coming week or so. Energy may be sapped from the players, though I still believe PSV have enough to win in Deventer.

Particularly in the second half, PSV will find a way even with their mid-week exertions. They have a young, fit and vibrant squad which van Nistelrooy can make several adjustments to with the number of attacking players at his disposal and the five substitutes rule sticking around. 1-3

Utrecht v Cambuur

What an entrance for Bas Dost! The Dutch striker returned to the Netherlands with a fantastic impact, scoring twice after his second-half substitution to rescue a point for Utrecht. Surely this time he has to start the match.

Concerning from an Utrecht point of view was their slow start at RKC. They matched a 3-5-2 formation of their opponents and it led to frustration in the first half. The key change for Henk Fraser needs to be getting the ball wide and quickly into the two strikers that he likes to play together.

Cambuur are notoriously stronger in home fixtures, so expect them to struggle here, but don’t read too much into their defeat to Excelsior last weekend; they dominated possession and had about ten great chances to score. It was nice too to see Henk de Jong back on touchline after some serious poor health last season. He will certainly make a difference for Cambuur.

I would find it highly surprising if there’s anything other than a Utrecht win here. 2-0

FC Emmen v RKC Waalwijk

Despite pre-season anticipation, Emmen could find life back in the Eredivisie very difficult. Yes, they did probably expect to lose to PSV last Saturday, but they gave some soft goals away, and new midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld is out injured for the season. Dick Lukkien is a highly rated manager though.

RKC seem to sense any weakness from teams that are around them in the lower reaches of the Eredivisie. They have experience and head coach Joseph Oosting made his side tricky to beat on the road in the last campaign. Unless they have an off day, they will keep this game tight and get under Emmen’s skin.

Last weekend, Waalwijk played a back five without their two key defenders from last season, and it showed as they couldn’t handle Bas Dost with crosses into the box. Emmen will want to own most of the possession and play aggressively to ruffle RKC’s feathers. 1-0

Feyenoord v Heerenveen

Feyenoord’s five goals at Vitesse will have increased confidence amongst the squad that all of the new players will settle in very quickly. Sebastian SzymaƄski will be very useful as a 10 in Arne Slot’s system when opening up tough defences. What’s more, 24-year-old winger Javairo Dilrosun is keen to prove himself in the Eredivisie after struggling playing abroad; he scored a wonderful goal last weekend.

Slot’s side are up against another back five this Saturday. A similar system of threatening wing-backs and three deep centre-backs – something which Feyenoord found difficult to play against last season – and I think Heerenveen will be a tougher nut to crack than Vitesse. Sven van Beek, Joost van Aken and Pawel Bochniewicz are going to nullify a lot of threats coming their way this season.

The opening game of the season was Heerenveen’s dull 0-0 with Sparta. Those that stayed awake will have seen almost no chances going to the Frisians’ dangerous strikers. There was almost no link-up with the midfield. However, on the counter-attack in Rotterdam could really suit Amin Sarr with more direct balls played up to the striker. I think Sarr will position himself on the shoulder of Jacob Rasmussen, who had a disappointing first game for Feyenoord at centre-back.

That’s why I will back Heerenveen to score at some point, but Feyenoord are almost always good for a goal in De Kuip. 2-1

Sunday, 14th August

FC Volendam v NEC Nijmegen

When 2-0 down and having to start a 16-year-old at centre-back, Volendam fans may have been fearing a long season. Once adjusted, Wim Jonk’s men responded really well: they had quality to score twice themselves and salvage a draw, and they showed know-how in seeing out the game late on.

NEC lacked an out-and-out striker in their defeat to Twente. Until they make a signing, they will continue to huff and puff in games without any real threat. On the other hand, they have surprised with the transfer of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen returning to the club and the arrival of centre-back Phillip Sandler.

With NEC’s lack of a goal-scorer, and Volendam’s noisy home crowd, you would be brave to bet against some kind of positive result for the historic side. It seems that ‘The Other Oranje’ have some flaws defensively, but I think Volendam will play in their attacking style that made them so dangerous in the Dutch second tier. Daryl van Mieghem linked up well with Henk Veerman, and attack-minded left-back Derry John Murkin looks like he will replicate the form which made him sought-after in the 20/21 season (before an injury ruled him out for 21/22). 2-0

Ajax v FC Groningen

Manager Alfred Schreuder said that he “also learnt a lot” after Ajax’s come-back win at Fortuna. Many fans were unhappy with the players selected. Ajax have a deep squad that will be useful throughout the months. There will be question marks who plays in this fixture with Groningen.

We have to remember that whilst there will be a few surprises throughout the season, Ajax winning games where there are doubts will happen a lot. After going one down to Fortuna, they had a rapid rush of three goals to turn the game around. Despite debate on which striker to play and Dusan Tadic’s best position, they still have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to attacking players.

Groningen had a good start in their opening-day draw with Volendam, but their foot came off the gas once Volendam got their act together in possession. Frank Wormuth is working out his best team in a relatively big roster of players. I think playing only four in defence again could make them too easy to be pulled around by Ajax. 3-0

FC Twente v Fortuna Sittard

I hope this will be one of the entertaining games of the weekend. It is very tricky to predict too. Twente boss Ron Jans will be likely to rotate his attacking players again after their game on Thursday, but will energy have been sapped from his team?

Fortuna are the team tipped to surprise this season. In last weekend’s preview, I explained the new players will lift them away from relegation trouble; it was nice to see Burak Yilmaz net a free kick on his debut! Yilmaz will hope to start this one and help the away side perhaps cause an upset.

Goals should be on the menu, and the odds will say Twente are in for a home win, but it won’t be as simple as that. I would back Fortuna with a double chance, though the game has an unpredictable nature. You will be safe though with a handicap in the visitors’ favour. I can’t see Twente running away with the game against a tough and fresher opponent. 1-1

Sparta Rotterdam v AZ Alkmaar

This could be a banana skin for AZ if they play the way they did in their last away game: their 1-0 defeat at Dundee United. The AZ players need to remember that they’re not that far above the likes of Sparta and they’ve got a long way to reach the likes of Ajax and PSV. I was impressed though by their 7-0 thrashing of the Scottish side on Thursday – what a response to criticism!

The addition of Riechedly Bazoer in an exciting one in midfield; he will offer more impetus going forward and in defence after he learnt so much playing in Vitesse’s back five last season. More adjustments could yet be made in Alkmaar, with the goalkeeper situation up in the air, Jesper Karlsson yet to return from injury, and 19-year-old winger Myron van Brederode bursting onto the scene – and starring – in their win over Go Ahead Eagles last Sunday.

Sparta made some nice transfers over the summer; I think their dangerman on Sunday will be Tobias Lauritsen, whose height will be a problem for AZ. Maurice Steijn is still working on how his new team gel together, though I don’t see them getting rolled over by their visitors here. Both teams to score will reflect the competitiveness of this fixture and Sparta will want to entertain after their drab performance last weekend. 1-1

How has Michael got on so far?

Week 1: 6/9 results + 8/9 bets




Michael Statham (695 Posts)

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