NEC Nijmegen v FC Groningen
Last time NEC played was two weeks ago due to their fixture being moved from last weekend (enabling their opponents, AZ, to concentrate on European action). Rogier Meijer’s side won convincingly 1-4 at Volendam, where their attacking midfielders really stood out for their quality. Mikkel Duelund notched a goal and two assists from the left wing, and the likes of Oussama Tanne, Lasse Schone and Elayis Tavsan were also heavily involved.
Equipped also with Jasper Cillessen in goal and Philippe Sandler at centre-back, I expect this new-look NEC to give Groningen a good game.
The visitors created a good number of chances against Go Ahead Eagles last weekend, but they do look a shade below what NEC may achieve this season. For me, Groningen still look like they give away too many opportunities to their opponents, and they may even struggle if star striker Jorgen Strand Larsen is sold this summer, but that looks unlikely with the club resistant to sell.
Vitesse Arnhem v RKC Waalwijk
It has been a predictably disastrous start for Vitesse, who have zero points out of a possible nine. They were beaten last weekend 0-4 on their own turf by Heerenveen. They look short of attacking quality in a really defensive-minded set-up by manager Thomas Letsch, and the defensive half of the pitch is made up of entirely new players who have not bonded yet. One of them is new goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen, who came in on loan from Brighton last week; he seems like a continuation of Vitesse’s goalkeeper woes at the moment, rather than an improvement.
RKC always remain in the game no matter who they’re facing. On another day, they could have nicked a point from Feyenoord to add to their draws with Utrecht and Emmen. They have needed to adjust following the sale of their first-choice centre-backs, but so far, their new back five is solid.
I don’t see RKC suddenly having an off day for Vitesse to have their ‘come-back’ performance. In fact, I can only see it getting worse.
Heerenveen v Fortuna Sittard
Heerenveen were one of my picks to surprise this season. They have a record so far of five points from nine and no goals conceded. Four matches in a row would be impressive, and I think that’s what Kees van Wonderen will use to motivate his players against a relatively open side to play against who won’t sit deep.
The big news from Sittard this week was that Sjors Ultee was sacked as head coach. For many fans, this came as a surprise, and many now speculate that the club will either use veteran striker Burak Yilmaz as their new manager (who this week was offering all of Fortuna’s players a pay-out if they win against Heerenveen), or a Turkish head coach will come in who has links to the Turkish club owner. The sacking of Ultee was harsh given the fixtures they have had so far, but the expectations of the club seem to be higher in the owner’s perspective having spent some money on the squad this summer.
It is unlikely that change will suddenly be inspired from Ultee’s departure, and it won’t be until a new coach comes in that we see some improvement. If Fortuna do win, talk will certainly surround Yilmaz’s impact at the club after only a matter of weeks.
Given Heerenveen’s rock solid start and Fortuna’s lack of goals, I would go for under 3.5 goals.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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