AZ Alkmaar v Feyenoord
Sunday 27th February – 11:15AM KO
AZ’s unbeaten run has now stretched to 18 games. Pascal Jansen will be feeling justified in his actions in the last couple of transfer windows – putting faith largely in his current, younger players to replace outgoing key players. They are still improving with each week, which is exciting when you look at their upcoming fixtures. Each time they face a more difficult domestic opponent, they are playing at home, just in time for the return of full stadiums in the Netherlands:
Ajax at home in the cup semi-final, and Eredivisie matches in Alkmaar to come against Twente, Vitesse, Ajax, and this one against Feyenoord. Exciting times could be ahead for AZ as they chase second and third place, plus a run in the Europa Conference League is possible too.
What a game this could be against Feyenoord, who will feel AZ breathing down their necks in the league table, but will be quietly confident of continuing their own good form. Arne Slot is Feyenoord head coach, who famously sacked by AZ during last season once his head was turned by the Rotterdam side wanting him to become their manager. I think that the home side will get a positive result from what has the potential to be a high-scoring game. I would back both teams to score because of the attacking nature of the clubs sitting in fourth and third respectively.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.62 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Vitesse Arnhem v NEC Nijmegen
Sunday 27th February – 11:15AM KO
In this Gelderse derby, tensions will run high. Already, both sides will be missing players due to suspension, with tall striker Adrian Grbic out for Vitesse and influential midfielder Lasse Schone suspended for NEC.
Sometimes, Vitesse play with a rugged style that will match the occasion on Sunday; their inability to keep the ball on the ground and dominate home games may explain why they have only won four out of eleven in Arnhem this season in the league. Coupled with the fact their slim squad already had to play on Thursday in Europe, this will be far from easy for Vitesse.
Wilfried Bony, who recently signed for NEC Nijmegen, received some criticism for signing a contract with the Arnhem side’s rivals – Bony was Eredivisie top goal-scorer whilst with Vitesse in 2012/13. It is unlikely once more that Bony will feature though because of his hamstring injury since signing.
We’ve seen already this season that Vitesse can struggle in home games they’re expected to win after playing in Europe, which has led to the league’s third worst defence whilst playing at home. Of course, Vitesse were brilliant in beating Rapid Vienna on Thursday, but they rose to the occasion that night – they have the same number of home wins in Europe this season (four from six). Can they do the same three days later in the Eredivisie?
NEC don’t score many, so a tight game with at least a point for NEC is probable
Prediction: NEC +1, 2.0 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Sparta Rotterdam v PSV
Sunday 27th February – 1:30PM KO
Like Vitesse, PSV also played on Thursday, but their bigger squad has been rotated by Roger Schmidt throughout the season.
Sparta didn’t play last week, and I really cannot see them being sharp enough to get a result out of PSV. This is one of those games in the Eredivisie where the gap in quality is too great (even with Sparta’s January signings) to reasonably expect a surprise result. If Sparta get a goal, or are clinging onto a draw late on, they will sit back in a shell under Henk Fraser’s tactics, which I think doesn’t do enough to restrict PSV. The visitors have shown on numerous occasions this season that when they are going late into a game chasing a result, they often get the goal.
Meanwhile, the Rotterdam club announced this week that Maurice Steijn would become manager after Fraser’s departure at the end of the campaign, which has frustrated some supporters. It’s not a happy time for Sparta fans.
The Eindhoven outfit though seem motivated at the moment with players coming back from injury, and not particularly worried by Ajax stretching their lead at the top of the table, though Cody Gakpo will be doubtful for this one through injury. The focus will be on Europe and there is a cup semi-final to come, plus if Gakpo is absent, I don’t see it stifling PSV’s attacking efforts to secure a win. The ever-creative Joey Veerman will come into the side on Sunday; he is desperate to become a first-team regular.
Prediction: PSV to Win & Over 1.5 Goals, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Go Ahead Eagles v Ajax
Sunday 27th February – 3:45PM KO
After their mid-week meeting with Benfica, Ajax return to domestic matters, and this’ll be another game of breaking down a tough wall of defence like against Willem II, where I was surprised Ajax only won 0-1.
Earlier in the season, you may remember that Go Ahead Eagles triumphantly returned to Deventer with a goalless draw from Amsterdam.
At times this season, you could say that Erik Ten Hag’s men have been unlucky not to score more, and I don’t think you can say they have been wasteful with their chances because the Eredivisie’s expected points table has Ajax way out in front of PSV.
Last weekend, Go Ahead Eagles manager Kees van Wonderen remarked that letting a two-goal lead at Twente was hard to take, but he also said if you looked at the second half as a whole, they were in fact very fortunate to get a point out of the game. Having watched the Eagles let in so many goals against AZ the other week, I think Ajax will find it easier to score this time
Prediction: Ajax to Win & Over 2.5 Goals, 1.50 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Heerenveen v FC Utrecht
Sunday 27th February – 7:00PM KO
The final match of this weekend sees Heerenveen, who have lost their last seven, take on Utrecht. This is an opportunity for the Frisians to turn their form around. Their new players have settled in OK despite the poor results; in the future, I think they have the potential to be a top-half team again.
I don’t think we will see many goals in this game when you consider that Heerenveen have only scored once in their last seven, and are still figuring out how to grow as an attacking unit without their two top goal-scorers Henk Veerman and Joey Veerman. So getting a positive result relies upon them being tight defensively, with regular starters returning from injury in defence and in goal. I also think that Amin Sarr needs to introduce himself at some point after his relatively big money move from Sweden – this could be the game.
The visitors have averaged a point per game away from home this season, which has kept them below the top five in the league. Apart from Adam Maher – an underrated gem of a midfielder – they don’t have much quality on the ball, so they choose instead to play long to the strikers. This is a game that could go either way and one which should be low on goals.
Prediction: Under 3.5 Goals, 1.40 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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