Heracles Almelo v FC Utrecht
Friday 11th February – 7:00PM KO
Heracles, who have only won once in their last ten, now only sit one place above the bottom three in the Eredivisie – albeit there is a four-point cushion to Fortuna in sixteenth. They need to start getting results soon or they really will be embroiled in a relegation fight.
Utrecht completed a comeback victory in their last match, beating Cambuur 3-2, despite going two goals down in the first quarter of an hour. Anastasios Douvikas scored twice and new man Henk Veerman was also on the scoresheet, which goes to show that Utrecht always play better with the supporters in the stadium, having welcomed back one third capacity last weekend. I also found that Veerman’s physicality in the penalty area was a well-scouted bit of business for Utrecht, which didn’t suit his old teammates at Heerenveen at all.
Stadiums are only allowed to be one third full in the Netherlands (despite protests from the Dutch clubs that they should allowed to be full), but Heracles will want their limited number of fans to give them a lift in a difficult home game. I fancy there to be a few goals in this one. Frank Wormuth’s side have found goals hard to come by, but they’re always stronger at home, and Utrecht have only kept one clean sheet in their last six
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.65 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
FC Groningen v Fortuna Sittard
Saturday 12th February – 5:45PM KO
Because of Groningen’s back-to-back wins, this game is now much more difficult for Fortuna – the hosts will be more confident. Tall Norwegian Jorgen Strand Larsen has three goals in his last two matches. I think he will be a difficult striker for the Fortuna back-line to handle.
Sjors Ultee’s Fortuna Sittard earnt a victory themselves though last time out; they finally got the win their good play was threatening, and they kept a rare clean sheet too – only their second since October. I think they’ll fight for another result here, which makes this game difficult to predict.
Whilst Groningen’s forward players lack quality at times, it’s very unlikely that the away side will keep successive clean sheets; they’ve conceded the most goals in the league for a reason! However, you cannot deny that Fortuna have a goal threat, with new signings Charlison Benschop and Jordan Botaka having made their debut last weekend off the bench. In a competitive game, I can see both sides getting good chances, so both teams scoring is a good bet, but I think Fortuna will find it hard to win in Groningen.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.80 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Cambuur v PEC Zwolle
Saturday 12th February – 5:45PM KO
Cambuur boss Henk de Jong stated that his side’s ambition for the end of the season is to “finish as high as possible”. At the moment, the Leeuwarden side are eighth after their promotion last season, with players like Mees Hoedemakers gaining interest from Danish club Midtylland.
I think that Cambuur will find it hard to creep any higher up the Eredivisie table now, which may mean they cannot reach the Europa Conference League play-offs after a great season. However, if a club who finishes in the European spots lifts the Dutch Cup (highly likely to be a PSV or an Ajax) then Cambuur will get a chance to compete in the end of season play-offs – hence eighth place could be an exciting ticket for one of the mid-table Eredivisie teams.
PEC Zwolle have picked up seven points from the last available nine. The league’s bottom club continue their revival. Playing against Cambuur, who are winless in six, represents a good time to play a team in the top half, having only gained one point off a top half team all season so far. Zwolle look much more assured with their back five and increased fire power options from the January transfer window, but I think this will still be an open game because of Cambuur’s style.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.80 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Vitesse Arnhem v PSV
Saturday 12th February – 7:00PM KO
Both Vitesse and PSV suffered poor defeats last weekend, with Saturday’s hosts now worrying about fading hopes of a top four or five finish, and the visitors letting slip their title aspirations. Both sides were also active in the last eight of the Dutch Cup in mid-week, with PSV winning well against second-tier opposition, but Vitesse were thrashed by Ajax.
It seems that Vitesse will put full focus now into their Europa Conference League run – the first leg against Rapid Vienna is on the following Thursday. Lois Openda will still be missing for this one. Vitesse also looked so toothless in their defeat to Twente, so this will be a low-scoring, frustrating affair for the Arnhem outfit. Though after three pretty poor defeats in a row, Vitesse’s season is taking a downward turn.
What’s more, I saw problems with Vitesse defensively that had previously not been such a worry. Jeroen Houwen, who had won the goalkeeper’s spot from error-prone Marcus Schubert, was all over the place; captain Danilho Doekhi was at fault for one of the goals; and centre-back Jacob Rasmussen will be suspended here too, which usually means one of Vitesse’s less than satisfactory back-up centre-backs will have to take Rasmussen’s place.
PSV usually struggle against the Eredivisie’s stronger teams, but I don’t see them having many problems here. How hungry will they be though after a couple of demoralising Eredivisie results which could end their Eredivisie title charge? Vitesse could come back stronger to prove doubters wrong, but I very much see PSV winning at a canter on Saturday.
Prediction: PSV to Win, 1.70 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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