Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Eredivisie clash between FC Utrecht and VVV-Venlo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Both teams have an identical record of three wins, a draw and a loss from the last five league games, so there is little to choose between them at the moment.
Utrecht were unable to make it four league wins on the bounce as they shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw with PEC Zwolle, who were very close to taking all three points.
Nonetheless, 10 points from four games is a healthy return by any standard as the Domstedelingen continue to climb up the table.
They have achieved this despite having faced AZ Alkmaar, Vitesse and Groningen – three of the current top six – since the turn of the year.
VVV’s six-game unbeaten run in all competitions since the turn of the year was brought to an end by Fortuna Sittard two Sundays ago courtesy of a 3-2 defeat.
That run has taken them clear of any immediate danger of relegation, and also into the quarter-final of the KNVB-Beker, where they will face NEC Nijmegen.
Venlo have lost nine of their last 14 meetings against Utrecht, but the last two have finished all square, including September’s reverse fixture which ended 1-1 at the Covebo Stadion.
The Venlose Trots have games against AZ, Vitesse and Feyenoord to come on the back of Sunday’s encounter, but they would relish the chance of going up against the big boys given the form that they are currently in.
No player in the division has scored more goals either this calendar year or the season in general than Giorgos Giakoumakis, who netted his 21st of the campaign in that aforementioned defeat to Fortuna.
FC Utrecht Eredivisie form: DLWWWD
VVV-Venlo Eredivisie form: WWDWWL
VVV-Venlo form (all competitions): WDWWWL
Christopher Mamengi will not feature for the home side until April at the earliest due to an ankle injury that he picked up while on duty with the reserve team.
VVV will have to make do without Guus Hupperts as he nurses a knee problem that has sidelined him since December, although he has made the bench on a couple of occasions since then.
Tristan Dekker is still a few weeks away from making his return to action as he battles with a muscle tear, and he will miss the game.
FC Utrecht possible starting lineup:
Oelschlagel; Warmerdam, Janssen, St Jago, Ter Avest; Maher, Boussaid, Van Overeem; Ramselaar, Van De Streek, Kerk
VVV-Venlo possible starting lineup:
Kirschbaum; Guwara, Da Graca, Gelmi, Pachonik; Linthorst, Donis, Post; Van Crooy, Giakoumakis, John
We say: FC Utrecht 2-1 VVV-Venlo
The teams are high on confidence going into this one, so it is hard to see either team running away with it. Notwithstanding, we expect Utrecht to narrowly take the victory in what should be an entertaining affair.
Top betting tip
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