Heracles Almelo – Sparta Rotterdam (14 Dec 2017)

Heracles Almelo can be satisfied with his appearances in the 2017/2018 season. Currently they are in the top 10 of the Eredivisie, with a victory, the jump is in the upper half of the table possible. So far, John Stegeman’s team has scored 18 points in 15 games, leaving behind more-rated teams like Groningen and Twente Enschede (for now). The last few weeks, however, were more than mixed. Especially an analysis of the last two games shows that Heracles opens up a new problem area. Meant is the defensive. In the last two games, the Stegeman charges in the duels with Alkmaar (0: 5) and Willem II (1: 3) conceded a total of eight goals. For comparison, the same number of goals conceded at the beginning of the season in twice as many games. In addition, three of four matches of the last rounds were lost, only against NAC Breda and thus a team that is currently located in similar areas as Sparta Rotterdam. The 2-1 win was incidentally the fifth full success in their own stadium. In general, Heracles has so far celebrated all the successes of this season in front of their own audience. Overall, only one game was lost in their own stadium, this against Champions League starter Feyernoord Rotterdam. Only in two of eight home games Heracles has suffered more than one goal. A glimmer of hope, because so far we see the defensive as the biggest weakness of Table ten. The Stegeman-Elf 2017/2018 had to swallow no less than 31 goals, “only” eleven of them, however, in home games. However, the last home defeat is already over three months back. Most recently in the 0: 5 against Alkmaar were problems in terms of passing game to recognize, with these went the game control completely lost. Almost a third of the passes ended up with opposing players, and in 90 minutes, only a single shot was fired directly at the opponent’s goal. Even with standards and shots from the second row you were vulnerable, so it is important to find the necessary stability and to go more aggressive in the duels. However, on Thursday some key players will be out. Especially Jeff Hardeveld and Robin Pröpper will miss their performances in the last weeks, also Droste, Agbajan and van Hintum are currently injured. Hope makes the fact that Heracles in two of the last nine home games (seasonal) could score two or more goals.

Current form Sparta Rotterdam
First of all, Sparta Rotterdam is under much more pressure than its opponent in this Thursday game. The distance to the saving bank is “only” two points, Sparta is currently on rank 17, the upcoming opponents Feyernoord and Groningen, however, also in the next few weeks little hope for improvement. After remaining four times without defeat on matchdays nine to twelve, they could not continue this run in the last two weeks. They lost 3-1 to FC Ultrecht and lost 1-0 to PSV Eindhoven. However, this narrow defeat away against the leaders, which we will discuss below, can be used as a good forecast for Thursday. First, however, a few more numbers. Sparta Rotterdam is currently one of the weakest away teams in the top division in the Netherlands. While Heracles celebrated all of its victories at home, Sparta is still waiting for the first away win of the season. A circumstance that clearly speaks against the guests. Especially in the defensive sector, they had problems, had already conceded 14 goals. Nevertheless, we see in Sparta defense again Sparta in the advantage, which has collected at least eight goals less than the opponent. In contrast, you could score only eleven goals in 14 games. Thus, in this game, the currently weakest offensive in the league, because even last light Breda currently holds a cut of one goal per game. Sparta Rotterdam is also the team with the fewest victories this season (2), with two exceptions, all the opponents have already won at least twice as often as the team of Alex Pastoor. Overall, Sparta has been without success for seven games, has also suffered three or more goals in the last three duels with Heracles. However, the very strong defensive achievements of the penultimate leave a prognosis that this will change on Thursday. Personnel, the guests have more resources, currently falls out with Bart Vriends only a single regular player, even Saksela is currently injured. We see problems at Sparta, especially in terms of Torabschluss, you recorded in many of the season games so far possession much, also comes to as many opportunities as the opponents, but missing really accurate players. Especially in the attack third one acts with too little emphasis, accordingly came against PSV most of the chances of distance shots.

Betting forecast
There are currently no clear advantages for any team. Heracles licks after the 0: 5 against Alkmaar, while Sparta Rotterdam could at least halfway keep up with another top team. Accordingly, we expect a close encounter in which we would not recommend a simple 3-way bet.

Our Prediction: Under 2,5 goals @ 2.22

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