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 Michael versus Joshua Hayward, who is Sky Sports’ Chief Eredivisie editor in addition to his editorial work for Sky Sports News.

  • By Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike
  • Follow Crypto on Twitter @FcCrypto
  • Follow Joshua on Twitter @JoshuaHayward99

Saturday 9th September

Willem II v ADO Den Haag

Michael’s prediction: I went to De Kuip to witness Willem II perform abysmally against Feyenoord. That result along with similarly lacklustre displays versus Excelsior and Utrecht mean zero points from three games.

I expected better from manager Erwin van de Looi after getting in some good players during the summer, but the improvement is yet to materialise.

They will hope though that after a two-week break that they can beat ADO at home – another side I saw lose whilst in the Netherlands. ADO have continued to be the workmanlike team that were fortunate to stay up last season. I think a different approach is needed, perhaps a 4-4-2 formation implemented to get the best out of tall strikers Johnsen and Immers (the latter currently playing in midfield), or else the defeats will continue. Both sides here have no points thus far, so something has to give. 1-1

Josh’s prediction: Both sides have endured dreadful starts to the season, netting just one goal apiece in their three matches so far. Erwin van der Looi will be hoping the international break provided his Willem players with some time to re-focus after that 5-0 hammering by Feyenoord last time out. ADO have been guilty of making too many defensive errors, so, maybe unsurprisingly, I’m expecting a sloppy game. 1-1

Crypto tip: Double chance ADO

Heracles v Feyenoord

Michael’s prediction: Heracles will be glad that they have kept star winger Brandley Kuwas this summer, as he adds that little bit of spice to the attack which gives opportunities to beat sides like Feyenoord – take the 2-1 victory over Ajax as a good example.

However, whilst I think Feyenoord will have one eye on the Champions League fixture with Manchester City in midweek, they are a more sensible side than Ajax and will defend at key moments of the match.

Feyenoord will find it very tough though playing away in Almelo, like everyone else does. 1-1

Josh’s prediction: Heracles have shown, in parts, why many tipped them to have a strong season in their three matches so far – particularly in that opening-day win over Ajax. John Stegeman has some exciting talent in his squad and I believe they will prove a stern test for Feyenoord. The Champions, whilst I expect them to put up a solid defence of their title, looked somewhat unconvincing in the Super Cup against Vitesse and in the narrow wins over Twente and Excelsior. But I think their confidence-boosting 5-0 victory against Willem will push them on to win in Almelo. Just. 2-3

Crypto tip: Both teams to score – yes

Excelsior v Vitesse

Michael’s prediction: I have to express how impressed I’ve been so far with Excelsior. But it’s another tricky test for them against Vitesse, who were surprisingly disappointing in their home defeat to AZ in their last match.

I expect Vitesse to improve enough here to scrape the three points. Both teams are likely to be defensively solid here in a tight pitch. 0-1

Josh’s prediction: Excelsior, once again, were hindered in the transfer market by their shoestring budget but they have impressed in these very early stages – particularly away from home, which is a surprise.

In contrast, Vitesse have been boosted by a number of fine additions, such as Tim Matavz and loanee Luc Castaignos. Henk Fraser will have lofty ambitions for the current campaign and he will be encouraged by his team’s performances thus far. The 2-1 defeat to AZ prior to the international period will have been a bitter pill to swallow – particularly because of Wout Weghorst’s late winner – but I expect them to bounce back this weekend. 1-2

Crypto tip: Draw no bet Vitesse

Ajax v PEC Zwolle

Michael’s prediction: Where do I start with Ajax at the moment? In short, the transfer business was undertaken far too late and now the club find themselves under pressure to deliver the title after recent trophyless seasons and lack of a European campaign.

I backed Ajax to win the league before the season but now I cannot trust Keizer to be clever enough in key tactical moments and I did not expect the club to lose Davinson Sánchez so late in the transfer window.

PEC will be fine this season but will realise their level here. 3-0

Josh’s prediction: Seven points from their opening three fixtures has been a dream start for Zwolle. Confidence in the camp will surely be high, but I’m backing John van ‘t Schip’s side – who are notoriously inconsistent – to see their unbeaten run come to an end at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Ajax experienced one of the worst off-seasons in their history. The departure of Peter Bosz, Davy Klaassen and Davinson Sánchez undoubtedly affected the entire squad. And then, having made last season’s Europa League final, they were dumped out in qualifying by Rosenborg. And, of course, there was the dreadfully sad news regarding Abdelhak Nouri. It seems Marcel Keizer and his players have a bit of a point to prove and I fully expect them to be at their best against Zwolle. They’ll challenge for the title this season, no doubt. 3-1

Crypto tip: PEC Zwolle team goals over 0.5

Sunday 10th September

Heerenveen v PSV

Michael’s prediction: Heerenveen looked a lot more convincing in their win at ADO a fortnight ago. Under Jurgen Streppel, the Frisians have found it hard to hold on to a lead. I still think it’ll be a recurring theme this season but the defensive acquisitions this summer have been inspired, take Denzell Dumfries from Sparta as an example.

The main issue then for Heerenveen is playing style, and having a strong emphasis on attack is refreshing, making this match versus PSV even more enticing when you consider the visitors play far better when they are afforded the space.

There will be goals in this one. Watch out for the likes of Morten Thorsby and Hirving Lozano to bag more goals. 2-2

Josh’s prediction: Heerenveen looked more assured in defence against Heracles and ADO after shipping two late goals in the opening-day derby against Groningen. But they may find it more difficult to keep PSV at bay. Phillip Cocu’s side were hugely disappointing last season, but, as much as one can tell from three games, they look to be returning to form. I’m backing Hirving Lozano to have a splendid season, and to score against Heerenveen. But the hosts, too, have a formidable attacking force. I can only see a high-scoring match and I’m torn between a very entertaining stalemate or a tight PSV win. Draw, it is. 2-2

Crypto tip: Heerenveen +1.5 handicap

Sparta v Twente

Michael’s prediction: Ragnar Ache will be itching to start this game after his brace rescued a shockingly poor Sparta in their last match at NAC. The quality was so low coming forward until the introduction of the young German.

Twente appeared decidedly average again in their defeat to PEC Zwolle. I fear for them again here and I think that their away form this season could see them struggle. 1-1

Josh’s prediction: It’s probably fair to say that this match at Het Kasteel will not be one of the highest quality. I firmly believe that Alex Pastoor’s team is one of the poorest in the Eredivisie. It’s going to be a long and arduous season for the Netherlands’ oldest club.

Meanwhile, Twente’s relatively impressive performance against Feyenoord will prove nothing more than an anomaly. They lack any real quality or grit in midfield – something highlighted in their defeats to VVV and Zwolle – and I expect them to lose their fourth match in-a-row. 1-0

Crypto tip: Both teams to score – yes

Utrecht v Roda JC

Michael’s prediction: I think this match will see a rejuvenated Utrecht who will have been thankful for the two-week break.

They will have to be fresh in order to spray the ball around quickly to break through a defensive Roda unit. They should have few problems here. 3-1

Josh’s prediction: Erik ten Hag would have enjoyed watching his side during the opening two matchweeks. They played with fluidity and freedom against ADO and Willem, picking up maximum points. A well-earned rest over the last fortnight will see their players ready to take on a winless Roda, who could realistically be on the wrong end of another one-sided scoreline. Cyriel Dessers has looked lively and will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Roda’s suspect backline. 3-0

Crypto tip: Utrecht -1 handicap

AZ v NAC Breda

Michael’s prediction: It’s going to be another up and down season for AZ with strange consistency from match to match. For me, it’s odd how exciting performances away at PSV and Vitesse can be mixed in with a nonchalant and lucky win over ADO.

NAC should present few difficulties for AZ though. Breda are a much better side at home but are also a little low on attacking quality. I worry that their fairly slow defence will be sliced open with ease by AZ. 2-0

Josh’s prediction: AZ have undoubtedly been one of the stand-out teams during the first three matchweeks. They’re hugely enjoyable to watch – particularly when going forward – and can look a bit shaky at the back, which usually makes for a very entertaining match. John van den Brom will be hoping to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish, and evidence so far suggests they may well do just that.

NAC will be less than satisfied with how their campaign has started. Their last outing, at home to Sparta, was supposed to kickstart their season after two consecutive 4-1 defeats but Stijn Vreven’s side were held to an uninspiring draw. They won’t be looking forward to facing AZ and I expect them to take another beating. 4-1

Crypto tip: Over 3 goals

Groningen v VVV-Venlo

Michael’s prediction: It was a lucky win for Groningen over Utrecht last time out. I wonder if the dangerous Vito van Crooij will try his luck at the stiff back five that the home side employed.

VVV will throw up surprises this season, I wonder if another will occur here. 1-2

Josh’s prediction: In typical fashion, Groningen have had a topsy-turvy start to the season. Which Groningen side turn up this weekend is anyone’s guess. VVV are sitting pretty with six points from three matches, but it’s hard to read too much into how they’re playing because their victories came against Sparta and Twente. A tough one to call, this… 2-1

Crypto tip: Under 3 goals

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: 59.26% & Average Odds: 1.65

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)

Week 3: Michael: 6 results, 1 correct score // Crypto: 5W – 2L – 2V (versus [Ajax Daily] writer Alex Moretto)

Michael Statham (828 Posts)

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