EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is heading to the Netherlands for his next best bet from the continent.
Emmen v Heerenveen | Sunday 7th April 2019, 11:15
This season the Eredivisie has regained its crown as Europe’s top-scoring league. The Dutch top-flight is delivering 3.43 goals per-game on average with 43% of fixtures featuring at least four goals; two of the division’s leading protagonists now lock horns on Sunday and I’m keen to attack the undervalued goals market when Emmen entertain Heerenveen.
At the time of writing (Thursday morning), Heerenveen are six points adrift of the European qualification play-offs in Holland with a tough trip to Feyenoord on the agenda before the weekend’s away day. The wonderfully-nicknamed De Superfriezen (Super Frisians) are most likely to play out their entertaining campaign marooned in mid-table.
But it’s Heerenveen eccentric, and at times, kamikaze approach that has caused quite the stir in the Netherlands, particularly when playing outside of their Abe Lenstra Stadium base. Jan Olde Riekerink’s charges adopt a carefree, open and attacking mind-set that’s provided the foundation for sacksful of goal-heavy games.
Heerenveen have seen all 13 away days produce at least two goals with 11/13 (85%) bank in the Over 2.5 Goals column. Amazingly, 10/13 (77%) broke the Over 3.5 Goals barrier, 9/13 (69%) featured Over 4.5 Goals and 5/13 (38%) even ended with at least six goals scored. Ten (77%) of those outings also paid out for Both Teams To Score backers.
Heerenveen’s ability in both boxes
Riekerink’s men have been eye-catching in attack, scoring at least twice on 10 occasions on their travels. De Superfriezen struck four times at Ajax, notched three goals when visiting AZ, bagged twice when welcoming PSV Eindhoven, and registered three goals as hosts against Feyenoord earlier in the campaign. They pack a mean punch.
Sam Lammers and Michael Vlap are key to Heerenveen. The 21-year-old pair have excelled, grabbing 14 goals each, and added nine collective assists. Kosovan forward Arber Zenelli departed in January but Denis Johnson has come in from Ajax on-loan to add further thrust in the final-third for a De Superfriezen squad that’s also at full-strength this week.
Obviously, it’s not all positive for Heerenveen. The guests have conceded at least twice themselves in 10 of those 13 away ties, and have recorded just two clean sheets across the whole campaign. It’s no surprise therefore to see the Expected Goals (xG) average sitting at a bulky 3.20 when the Friesland club are on the road.
Emmen’s debut Eredivisie campaign
Emmen were promoted to the top-tier for the first time last summer, although their debut season has been tough. The minnows currently occupy second-from-bottom in the Eredivisie standings, a position that would see the Drenthe outfit enter into the relegation/promotion play-offs. However, they remain only one point from survival.
The hosts were thumped 5-2 at their De Oude Meerdijk base by Ajax on Wednesday – trailing 5-0 at one stage – extending their winless streak to seven (W0-D1-L6). Emmen conceded three or more goals in five of those fixtures and have silenced just one opponent in 2018/19, shipping twice or more in nine of 14 outings in front of their home supporters.
Goals on the agenda
There’s plenty of value to be found supporting Heerenveen in a variety of goalscoring markets on Sunday – to notch Over 1.5 Goals, to score in both halves etc – but I’m going to focus my attention upon the Over 2.75 Goals market, which pays XXX. It really should be much shorter.
Despite their defensive flaws, Emmen have scored in all bar three of their 14 De Oude Meerdijk dates, grabbing two goals each against Ajax and PSV here, whilst also notching against high-flying AZ and Feyenoord. Dick Lukkien’s troops generate 1.30 xG as hosts and should be well capable of joining Heerenveen in a high-scoring shootout.
All bar one of Emmen’s 28 encounters have produced at least two goals with Over 2.5 Goals collecting 20 times as matches have averaged a hunky 3.57 goal average. Thirteen of Emmen’s most recent 16 contests have also beaten the Over 2.5 Goals line – half featuring four or more goals – and the evidence suggests another goal glut could be on the cards here.
Emmen v Heerenveen – Over 2.75 Goals (7/10 BetVictor)