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Vitesse, who finished 5th, are the leaders on goal difference, but how long will they stay there?
Vitesse, who finished 5th, are the leaders on goal difference, but how long will they stay there?
The first round of fixtures offered a whole lot of entertainment as last season’s runners up, Ajax Amsterdam, suffered a 2-1 defeat at Heracles. Vitesse, who finished fifth last season are the leaders on goal difference but how long will they stay there? Time will tell. Let’s have a look at this weekend’s fixtures.

Friday 18 August

47/20 Roda JC | Draw 5/2 | Vitesse 21/20 (20:00)

After managing to survive relegation by winning their play-offs group, Roda continued to disappoint in the Eredivise, losing their first game of the season 4-2 to Zwolle.  It shall be interesting to see what answers they will have to the questions asked by the table toppers on Friday night. Vitesse have hit the ground running in the new season, recording a comfortable 4-1 victory over NAC Breda. They finished fifth last season and they’re currently riding the crest of the Eredivisie wave. They will surely go for a victory against the league strugglers and I’m expecting them to win comfortably.

Saturday 19 August

13/20 FC Twente | 3/1 | VVV-Venlo 7/2 (18:30)

Twente put up a strong fight against last year’s champions but ended up going down 2-1. They will be hoping to return to winning ways against a newly promoted side at home. Twente finished seventh on the log last season. Newly-promoted Venlo thrashed Sparta 3-0 in their 2017/18 opener and that must be more than a statement to other Eredivisie teams. They topped the second-tier standings last season and secured Eredivisie promotion convincingly. Very tricky encounter and I’m expecting both teams to score and Venlo to cause another upset.

3/10 AZ Alkmaar | 17/4| ADO Den Haag 7/1 (19:45)

Having last won the league title in 2009, AZ have always been a top half of the table team but they haven’t been strong enough to challenge for the title. They finished sixth last season and they lost this season’s tightly contested opener against PSV Eindhoven 3-2. Den Haag had a disastrous start to the new season, getting trounced 3-0 by Utrecht and it was a clear indication of the huge difference between the two sides as they finished fourth and 11th respectively. This is another stern test for Den Haag and I foresee them losing again against AZ who will be hoping to return to winning ways.

13/20 SC Heerenveen | 3/1| Heracles 36/10 (20:45)

Hans Vonk’s former team, Heerenveen, played to a 3-3 draw against Groningen in their season opener. The fallen giant of Dutch football finished ninth on the log last season and a good start might help them improve that this time around. On the other hand, Heracles who finished 10th last season, surprisingly beat Ajax Amsterdam 2-1 in their first league match of this campaign. That must be more than a warning to other Eredivisie teams that they might be giant slayers. I’m backing Heracles to win this one.

Sunday 20 August

6/1 Excelsior | 38/10 | Feyenoord 4/10 (12:30)

Excelsior will be intensely tested against the league champions and believe it or not, in Feyenoord’s title winning season Excelsior did beat them 3-0 towards the end of the season and that was their first win over them since 2010. The Kralingers won their opener 2-1 away at Willem II. Feyenoord got their title defence off to a good start by defeating Twente 2-1 in a tightly contested match. They have only lost twice to their opponents since 2010 and they will be hoping to continue that dominance. This should be an easy win for Feyenoord.

1/4 Ajax | 5/1 | FC Groningen 17/2 (14:30)

Last season’s runners up, Ajax, were beaten 2-1 by Heracles in their season opener. Losing their attacking midfielder, Davy Klaassen, to Everton seems to have dealt them a terrible blow as they seem to not have an equally good source of creativity. Groningen were involved in that six-goal thriller against Heerenveen which ended in a 3-3 draw. They have signed Manchester City midfielder Uriel Antuna on loan for the next two years. To me they look better prepared than their opponents going into the fixture. I foresee Ajax suffering their second consecutive defeat.

11/20 FC Utrecht | 3/1 | Willem II 47/10 (14:30)

Utrecht drubbed Den Haag 3-0 in the season opener and finishing fourth last season must embolden them to push for and even higher position this term. They’re playing like a well-oiled machine, but to be honest, last season they were no match for the top three teams. Time will tell if they’ve improved this time. By a way of contrast, Willem have never won a football match since February and they’ve since lost five and drawn one match. It’s on home turf where they’ve had some sporadic recent joy, winning two and losing three of their last five games. I’m backing Utrecht to smash their opponents.

5/4 Sparta Rotterdam | 49/20 | Zwolle 2/1 (16:45)

This will be a bottom of the table clash and one of those matches where you have to at least take two points off your opponent. Sparta Rotterdam managed to avoid relegation play-offs on goal difference and they’ve kicked the new season off by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Venlo. Zwolle finished just a notch above their opponents last season, surviving relegation by a single point. Their last game ended in a 4-2 victory over Roda. In the previous campaign, the two sides took three points off each other with either team winning away from home. This match is likely to end in a lovely draw.

7/1 NAC Breda | 17/4 | PSV Eindhoven 3/10 (16:45)

The other newly-promoted side in the Eredivisie, Breda, will be measuring themselves against the team that finished third in the elite league last season. Breda lost their first game 4-1 to Vitesse and it looks like the new boys will have a hard time finding their feet in top flight football. PSV might have lost 2-0 on aggregate to Osijek in the UEFA Europa League third round qualifying but they have never lost a single match in the domestic league since February. From then until now, they have registered eight wins and three draws. I think PSV will be too strong for Breda and they will win convincingly.

TREBLE @ 18/10
PSV Win 3/10
FC Utrecht Win 11/20
Feyenoord Win 4/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya