RKC Waalwikj are the underdogs against Vitesse Arnhem in their fourth Eredivisie game, but they look a good bet to spring a surprise this weekend.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best online sportsbooks, we can see that the sportsbooks are rating Vitesse Arnhem as the firm favorites to win this game at odds of around -140. The visitors are underdogs, with bookies offering prices in the range of +350 to +360 while the draw can be backed at +310.
Slow Start for Vitesse
Vitesse finished in the top six for the last two years, but they’ve made a slow start this season, and the club does not seem to be in a good place at the moment. Vitesse are locked in a dispute with its Russian owner, with a €125 million loan the subject of much discussion. This has inevitably restricted the club’s attempts to recruit new players to replace key losses and has led to a toxic atmosphere.
Their opening game saw them concede five against Feyenoord in front of their supporters, eventually losing 5-2. They then conceded three goals against newly promoted Excelsior and suffered their third defeat from three last weekend, being dismantled 4-0 by Heerenveen. It is hard to imagine a worse start to a campaign, and despite the underlying issues, head coach Thomas Letsch is under intense pressure.
|Vitesse Arnhem v RKC Waalwijk|
Waalwijk Aiming to Repeat
With a small ground and little chance of capturing the best young talent compared to their bigger rivals, Waalwijk face a struggle to keep up in Eredivisie, but under Joseph Oosting last season, they excelled themselves and finished inside the top ten and appear to have recruited well this summer.
Although some of the more experienced players have left the club, they have a solid group with plenty of potential, and they have already shown admirable battling qualities this season.
They kicked off the season with a solid draw against Utrecht – who finished seventh last season – before drawing against newly promoted Emmen and fighting well against Feyenoord, eventually losing 1-0 but showing that they can match the bigger teams in the competition. They are obviously aiming to repeat last season’s successes, but the early signs are that they can do at least as well this time around.
At least Letsch has some relatively positive team news ahead of this game. Sondre Tronstad was missing for the Heerenveen game after being sent off against Excelsior and will be available here, and forward Miliano Jonathans may also be available after recovering from a muscle problem. Goalkeeper Markus Schubert however, remains absent as he recovers from knee surgery.
For Waalwijk, there are only two potential absentees ahead of this game. Defensive midfielder Kevin Felida is still out, while left winger Zakaria Bakkali is still not fit enough to start.
Forward Florian Jozefzoon has come off the bench in both of the last two games and so may be given a chance to feature in the first eleven. Julen Lobete may also be in line for a start, giving Oosting plenty of options to build his attacking plans here.
Match Betting Pick
Home advantage is a big deal in soccer, and any bettor has to think twice before wagering on the visitors, particularly when they are the weaker team, at least in terms of reputation. Sandwiched geographically between PSV Eindhoven and the major city of Rotterdam – which this season boasts three Eredivisie teams, Waalwijk have always been regarded as a small club with limited resources.
But Waalwijk have a few factors in their favor. For a start, Oosting was assistant manager with Vitesse a little over a year ago and will still have some insight into many of their players. Last season, the two teams recorded one win apiece in their two fixtures, and interestingly, both games were won by the visiting team. In fact, although historically, Waalwijk have had the worst of this match-up, in recent months, they have matched their more famous rivals with a win and a draw in their last three meetings.
And although their record of two draws and a narrow defeat does not indicate that Waalwijk are in top form, it is much better form than their opponents have shown.
At the start of the season, there was plenty of pessimism about Vitesse and their off-field struggles, but few were predicting a relegation struggle. However, their start has been disastrous. Twelve goals conceded in three games is a terrible return, and the fact that the crowd is turning on their manager – who has largely delivered success in his two seasons at the club – is a huge concern.
If the club stays resolute and backs Letsch, and crucially, if they can resolve their financial issues, then Vitesse have a squad that is capable of finishing in the top half, but right now, that is in the balance. Waalwijk feels like a young team on the up, and they are the best pick in this game.