Every week in the 2017/18 season, Football-Oranje writer Michael Statham offers you his predictions for each Eredivisie round, accompanied by betting tips from Betsmobil’s Dutch football tipster Crypto. Michael competes against a different special guest each week. This time, it’s Ajax Daily writer Alex Moretto. Alex is also a contributor for the likes of Goal and FourFourTwo and offers us his in-depth opinion on Ajax’s struggles amongst the rest of the weekend’s action.

  • By Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Crypto on Twitter @FcCrypto
  • Follow Alex on Twitter @alexjmoretto

Friday 25th August

NAC Breda v Sparta

Michael’s prediction: I am in the Netherlands this weekend for three games and I am certainly looking forward to this one the most. The atmosphere within the Rat Verlegh stadium will be electric. On Saturdays, the ground is known for its ‘Avondje NAC’, but I’m hoping Friday’s dark and intimate atmosphere will electrify the players to produce what we know they’re capable of and banish the memories of the opening two defeats.

Sparta come to town in what is another big match for them. Losing to VVV and only mustering a draw with PEC Zwolle means there’s huge pressure to get a result against this newly promoted side. Lose and they already have a mountain to climb this season. 3-1

Alex’s prediction: Things didn’t go as planned for NAC in their first home match of the season as they were trounced by PSV at the weekend, but they get another go at home this weekend. Alex Pastoor’s Sparta lack quality throughout – one of the worst in the top flight – and I expect them to be outclassed on Friday against the underrated hosts.

This is a match they have to win and I fancy them to claim all three points. 3-1

Crypto tip: Double chance Sparta

Saturday 26th August

Vitesse v AZ

Michael’s prediction: This will be an exciting match between two very able teams. Although for all of AZ’s talent I think Vitesse will have the better of proceedings at home.

I have been very convinced by Vitesse’s style thus far but less so by AZ. 3-1

Alex’s prediction: The highlight of matchweek three comes at the GelreDome in Arnhem. Vitesse’s new signings up front have been terrific already and they look like legitimate contenders to push for a place in the top three. They will at least have their sights set on fourth place, with AZ arguably their biggest competitors in that regard.

John van den Brom’s side were dealt a blow with Calvin Stengs’ injury, but they still have plenty of skill up top. This one should be a joy to watch and I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I like Vitesse to crack the top three this season at the expense of PSV and I think they make a statement of intent on Saturday. 3-2

Crypto tip: Both teams to score – yes

ADO Den Haag v Heerenveen

Michael’s prediction: This is game two of my Eredivisie trip and I’ll hopefully be next to the raucous ‘vaks’ in the Kyocera stadium. Although I don’t think the home support will be enough to lift ADO as Heerenveen have the quality to punish those defensive mistakes that ADO have been making far too often.

Alfons Groenendijk’s men could easily have been crushed by AZ, and I’m backing the visitors to be tight enough at the back (am I optimistic?) and outscore ADO.  1-2

Alex’s prediction: There’s nothing inspiring about Den Haag to suggest they will be able to improve upon last season’s standing. They were inefficient in the transfer window, and while there’s still time to reinforce their squad, nothing appears imminent.

Morten Thorsby, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Arber Zeneli and Martin Odegaard highlight a potent Heerenveen side, but again the issue for them will be in defence. Successive draws have sparked a bit of urgency in Heerenveen, and the pressure is on Jurgen Streppel to bring this talented squad together. 1-1

Crypto tip: Draw no bet Heerenveen

PEC Zwolle v Twente

Michael’s prediction: Twente played with nice creativity against VVV but were lacking a bite in midfield as they were overrun on the counter attack – something which PEC Zwolle’s midfielders will look to exploit.

A draw here would mean three games unbeaten for PEC and a first point of the season for Twente. Something both would settle for right now. 1-1

Alex’s prediction: Twente impressed in their opening match defeat to Feyenoord, before laying down against VVV last weekend. That’s the sort of season it’s going to be in Enschede – unpredictable and often uninspiring. Rene Hake has some talent to work with, but financial woes have depleted their depth. The former is also true for Zwolle, who really lack consistency. I don’t think either will finish in the top half this season, but desperation will be high for Twente and for that reason I think they leave the MAC 3 PARK Stadion with their first point of the season.  2-2

Crypto tip: Both teams to score – Yes

Heracles v Excelsior

Michael’s prediction: Beating Ajax confidently at home and clinging on to draw with Heerenveen last weekend displays perfectly the difference we have come to expect from Heracles – a much better side at home.

I originally thought a home win, but I’m backing Excelsior to earn that rub of the green and snatch a point here. They have looked pretty good so far this season. 1-1

Alex’s prediction: John Stegeman’s Heracles play an exciting brand of football and are a fun team to watch. They should be in for a strong season. This is a team that can score goals in bunches and they should have too much for Excelsior.

A surprise victory in Tilburg saw Mitchell van der Gaag’s side open the season with three points, and they put up a good fight last week against the champions, but their almost non-existent budget and poor away form will make it tough for them to survive once again this season.  3-1

Crypto tip: Under 3.5 goals

Sunday 27th August

Feyenoord v Willem II

Michael’s prediction: My personal football marathon ends in De Kuip, to witness what I expect to be a comfortable home win.

The style of football laid out by Gio van Bronckhorst’s charges is very safe so far, as I expect he is attempting to practice a more ‘European performance’ in preparation for the Champions League. The full-backs, for example, rarely bomb forward and it ends up with fewer chances created at either end. Ie a bit boring.

At home, the job is usually done in an assertive style; a physical and a dominant approach. I don’t see Willem II holding out for long and they must begin to pick up points after the international break. 3-0

Alex’s prediction: While the champions have enjoyed a winning start to their campaign, it has not been convincing. They needed penalties to beat Vitesse in the Super Cup before narrowly edging past Twente and Excelsior. Against tougher opposition I’d fancy them to drop points this weekend, before they kick into high gear, but Willem just aren’t that. Erwin van de Looi’s side have a knack for putting up a good fight, but they will fall short this weekend. 2-0

Crypto tip: Feyenoord -1.5 Asian handicap

VVV-Venlo v Ajax

Michael’s prediction: I’ll leave my guest Alex the room to make comments about Ajax this weekend, but I fancy a more confident performance to put away VVV. I think the hosts’ open style will leave plenty of gaps for Ajax’s attackers to score enough goals to win comfortably. It has been a terrific start to the season for Venlo, though. 1-3

Alex’s prediction: I can’t say enough about Vito van Crooij. I picked him to finish as one of the top five scorers in the Eredivisie this season and he’s validated that through two matches. He’s got a wonderful future ahead of him, and should flourish once again in Maurice Steijn’s system – as should VVV. I think the newly promoted side could contest for the top 10 this season, and that’s not just an overreaction to how they have started the season. This is a very good side, who are in for a terrific test on Sunday.

Marcel Keizer finally picked up his first win as Ajax boss against Groningen last weekend, but this Ajax side has still yet to get on track. It has been a horrible summer for them, starting with skipper Davy Klaassen’s departure, highlighted by the Abdelhak Nouri tragedy, compounded by the Champions League exit to Nice and salt was rubbed in the wounds with the Davinson Sanchez saga. They hit a low against Rosenborg, but bounced back crucially against Groningen. As bad of a summer as it has been, I think there’s too many overreacting to the current state of the club.

Marc Overmars has assured no one else will be sold this window, and a large chunk of the Sanchez money will be reinvested in the squad, starting with Rapid Wien defender Maximilian Wober. They lack depth, but it’s still a very strong side, coached by a more than capable mind. I fully expect to be in the thick of the title race all season long. They face a must-win in Rosenborg on Thursday, which will take their focus away from the weekend. It will be far from straightforward, but they still should have too much for the hosts, who will likely be dealt their first loss of the season in a high-scoring affair. 2-3

Crypto tip: VVV -2 Asian handicap

PSV v Roda JC

Michael’s prediction: I think PSV fans have Hirving Lozano and Marco van Ginkel to thank for their beginning to the season. They are both high quality players for the Eredivisie and are bagging the goals to ensure the campaign begins a lot more smoothly than expected.

PSV at home to Roda, along with wins for Feyenoord and Ajax this weekend would make me a happy better. 3-0

Alex’s prediction: Many, including myself, picked PSV to struggle this season. They opened their Eredivisie campaign in putrid form, but despite the low morale in the camp they have managed to turn things around. I still fully expect them to hit a rough patch at some point, but it won’t be on Sunday at home to a Roda side who will only go as far as Simon Gustafson carries them. 4-0

Crypto tip: Hirving Lozano to score at any time

Groningen v Utrecht

Michael’s prediction: Groningen’s positives against Heerenveen were nullified by a below par outing at Ajax. It’s going to be an up and down season again for them and ultimately mid-table.

I can see the long journey back from Russia having a detrimental effect on Utrecht though, regardless of the result. Groningen will take advantage in the opening and closing stages of the match. 3-1

Alex’s prediction: Groningen have sputtered a bit to start the season, while Erik ten Hag has Utrecht playing some excellent football. They have yet to show any ill-effects from their participation in Europa League qualifying, keeping five clean sheets in seven matches to start the season, including back-to-back wins to kick-off their Eredivisie campaign. Contrastingly, Groningen have leaked goals early in the season, which was not supposed to be the case under Ernest Faber. That being said, the hosts have shown signs of life and have managed to hold onto Mimoun Mahi thus far. I like Utrecht to challenge for the top four, and they have won in each of their last two trips to the Euroborg, but ultimately I think Thursday’s visit to Russia will prove too much for them to overcome as they lose their first match of the season. 2-1

Crypto tip: Dessers to score at any time

Agree/disagree with our predictions and betting tips? Did we win/lose you a fortune? Tweet us!

How have Michael & Crypto done so far?

Crypto’s running success – Hit Rate: 61.11% & Average Odds: 1.63

Week 1: Michael: 3 results // Crypto: 5W – 3L – 1V (versus PSV-watcher and journalist Rik Elfrink)

Week 2: Michael: 7 results, 2 correct scores // Crypto: 6W – 1L – 2V (versus commentator Paul Thomas Clay)


Michael Statham (819 Posts)

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