Ajax’ Delight with Ajax’ De Ligt

I have to admit, I truely don’t know where to start… This blog is a Dutch National Team blog, and your humble blogger is a Feyenoord fan, but I am drooling with glee when watching this Ajax play. And I am not alone in it. The whole world watches and the whole world seems delighted to see what they can do!

Johan will be resting in his final resting place with a grand smile on his face…

You probably know all the stats better than me… It’s been 22 years since Ajax last was in a CL semis finals. It has been a long time since Ajax beat Juve, etc etc.

And back in the day, teams were only allowed to have 3 foreign players!! So any team was forced to have domestic talent in their team, and could only shop for 3 starting spots.

Today, Man City, Real Madrid, Juve, Bayern, they could technically buy all the best players from anywhere and present them as the “local team”. And still, Ajax manages to do what they do on a meagre budget (compared to the big boys) and with 6 home grown players in their line up (De Ligt, Frenkie, Donny, Mazraoui, Veltman, Blind)…

It is just mindblowing!

And I didn’t write a post on the home match vs Juve (I did plan to do so, but life is getting in the way at the moment…moving house, flu attacks, internet dramas, work, etc)…

I was quite positive about Ajax’ chances coming into the game, like I was vs Real Madrid. But my positivity quickly evaporated when I saw how Ajax started!!

They were completely off their game. They were overwhelmed with the tremendous tenacity Juve demonstrated, and some of them clearly were suffering from tension in the body, with balls bouncing off feet, passes not arriving and even Mr Cool (Frenkie) dribbling senselessly into cul-de-sacs…

Onana got it wrong early (Can pressing onto him) and with Mazraoui having to be subbed and then C Ronaldo’s goal after 20 minutes and the disarray in Ajax’ defence (De Ligt bumping Veltman out of the way), I truly thought our national pride was imploding like never before.

(From L) Ajax’s Dutch defender Daley Blind, Ajax’s Brazilian forward David Neres, Ajax’s Danish midfielder Lasse Schone, Ajax’s Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt (Rear), Ajax’s Dutch defender Joel Veltman and Ajax’s Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek celebrate with fans defeating Juventus in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match Juventus vs Ajax Amsterdam on April 16, 2019 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Mazraoui is not a defender. He was developed as playmaker in the Ajax youth and as a result is quite comfortable on the left and right of the pitch. Just like Daley Sinkgraven is a midfielder, originally, and Daley hadn’t played a proper match for months on end. Oops.

But… something happened.

I think Ten Hag / Schreuder made some positional changes in the midfield (telling Frenkie and Lasse to guard the back four with a double 6 system (two controlling mids) and pushing Veltman and Mazraoui/Sinkgraven high up on the pitch, to allow Onana/De Ligt/Blind an outlet…

I also believe Juve felt they could take their foot of the gas a bit, leading 1-0.

And I believe Ajax started to play with mentality of “well…we’re out of the competition now, so lets just play for it”…

And magic happened!

A mishit by Ziyech ended up at Van de Beek’s feet and he didn’t lash out like he sometimes does, he simply passed the ball in the goal.

That will have rattled Juve and when Ajax reached the half time break, 1-1, I was getting the feeling that they’d be best positioned to progress. Because conceding another goal wouldn’t change much for Ajax and their game plan.

Alternatively, if Ajax would score the 1-2, Juve would have to score two goals! Those sortathings will get in the players’ heads…

And Ten Hag managed to settle the players’ nerves in the half time break and the second half was all Ajax!

The telling thing for Ajax being their composure on the ball when playing out from defence, finding the right pass, the right run…never hitting it upstream blindly, always with an idea, a though.

And boy, what a chances Ajax got to truly humiliate the Old Lady and score not 1, 2 or 3 but 4 or 5 goals!

1-4 would not have been an outrageous end score. Neres missed a sitter (use your right foot!!), some decision making didn’t end up going well, Schone was unlucky with a dipping free kick and a half volley later on in the game, etc etc…

Ajax even managed a really flowing one touch attack over the right wing, with some composed passing by De Jong, Ziyech, Tadic, sadly not resulting in a super dooper world class goal!

Captain De Ligt was at fault with CR7’s goal, one could say. So the skipper stepped up and paid Juve back after more than an hour’s play.

The corner was kicked by Schone, De Ligt timed well, jumped high and slammed the ball into the corner, in between two Italian defenders. That is a feat for any player, but for a 19 year old kid, it is just incredible.

Ziyech, outstanding in Ajax’ campaign but a tad off his game now even managed a superb goal, curling the ball into the far corner… this would have settled matters but the Moroccan playmaker was 1 toe offside, apparently and the goal was disallowed…

There were some shaky last minutes with Juve pushing for a miracle and when Daley Blind – another Man of The Match performance – seemingly handled the ball in the final minutes, a gasp was audible from the Ajax camp.

But one specific camera angle showed the VAR that the ball didn’t actually hit his arm, but bounced of his chest/core and therefore: no penalty and Ajax was confident it had done the job!

The joy and celebrative eruption was completely warranted, after the game, with a somewhat overweight Marc Overmars performing a class – albeit static – belly slide in front of the fans…

All Ajax players and staff members after the game were in agreement that “yes, Ajax should have scored more goals and taken the opportunities and all that” but the euphoria won vs the criticism of Ajax’ lack of effectiveness…

“Now, we need to get our head in the game again, because next Saturday, it’s FC Groningen!”

Some conclusions:

  • Ajax will be robbed blind this summer, even Ten Hag will be hunted (Schreuder is on his way to become head coach at Wolfsburg)
  • Van de Beek deserves a starting spot in Oranje
  • De Ligt will be the most expensive defender this coming summer (100+ million)
  • Ajax will win this CL
  • Overmars should not do belly flops and ruin the pitch of the opponent


Cinematic highlights both games…

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    1. Can somebody please tell me why is Van De Beek is not on the Dutch squad? Are you kidding me?Jan please help me? Is R koman not seeing the same thing i’m seeing?

      1. He is in the squad Jean. He was unlucky not to play for Ajax when Koeman started to build his go-to team. I think it won’t be long before Donny will replace Marten de Roon.

  1. Ajax stand to make anywhere between 400 and 500 million this summer, inclunding the Champions League prize money but excluding whatever the Eredivisie offers.

    I honestly would love to see Ajax buy another club in a foreign league that could act as a farm, in the same manner that Red Bull has with Salzburg and NY.

  2. Ajax have officially signed kjell sherpen from Emmen. Im sure van der sar will mould him into top goal keeper.he is a beast at 18.

    Again this is what I was saying how CL football can lure players.Ajax next target in the transfer window is Carlos Alena of Barcelona.with frenkie moving in the opposite direction,Barcelona will not hestitate to send him out on loan especially given his playig time will be slim witht frenkies arrival.

    1. Im expecting eiting and gravenberch to take centre stage next season after the depatures of de Ligt, Frenkie and VDBeek.the more they play together the better for NT as this will boost more options in thr midfield come euros.

      1. Who will Fill the shoes of Deligt???kik peirre??i dont know…
        Frenkie dejong and Donny van beek will not be missed much Eiting and Gravenberch has certaion of quality gurenteed. When u Shone and others they should be ok at midefeild…But Deligt will be huge miss..the guy is fighter and leader at back..They will miss the leader

  3. Adam Maher is back to his form. Although AZ lost to Feyenoord, he was fantastic. The way how he reads the game was incredible and his passes were incredibly accurate.

    Myron made his debut after long injury. Although three more games remain to finish this season, AZ lost the battle for the third place. vi.nl published interesting fact about AZ: this season the team lost 25 points after leading the game!!!! If that did not happen, AZ would have had 77 points like Ajax do now. Unfortunately, “if” does not count….

    When I looks at chances of our clubs in 2019-2020 season in Europe, at this point only PSV and Ajax are competitive. After major sell off this summer, Ajax need to reinforce the team with players that would be equivalent in the quality to de Jong, de Ligt, and Zeich. Otherwise, we will face the same situation as last season when Ajax was knocked out in the first phase of prelim CL.

    If Feyenoord will play as they do now, they will be humiliated again by some eastern European team or a team from Kazakhstan.

    I hope, Willem lose KNVB cup to Ajax, otherwise their representation in Europa League will be a disaster for the Netherlands.

    Finally, the last spot for the EL qualification round will be decided between AZ, Utrecht, Vitesse and most likely Heracles. Neither of the teams will survive the qualification round in EL if they learn one simple fact that entire team must defend. I really hope, AZ new coach Arne Slot, who is supporter of the disciplined game, will put the team on a right rack. He did an awesome job in Cambuur in that area and hope he will do similar work in Alkmaar.

    1. I think AZ needs an overhaul. They started the season with bang but all that came to a end after boadu got injured. That johnsen guy has been a flop in his absence and they should look for a good striker to compete with boadu upfront next season. Im not sure about ferdy Druijf. He has scored 25 goals in eerste divisie this season or if not they need to look for somebody out of eredivisie. To me boadu seems to be injury prone and after to horrific injuries he might have become more vulnerable and they cant just rely on him next season.

      On the wings, Stengs,Helmer are back from injury, Gudmundsson looks like a good talent, idrissi and seunjtsens should provide enough cover.

      In the midfield if maher back to his old form then they should relegate til to the bench and start with a BTB midfielder. What the hell has happened to Vejinvoic????
      In the backline they simply need new CBs.

      1. AZ need to revisit many things.

        1. Maher’s contract is over this summer. They need to secure him but if something comes up abroad he will be gone. That is one of the clauses in the agreement.
        2. Til is very useless and the ideal midfield for successful AZ will be Maher – playmaker, Midtsjø-central and Koopmeiners – defencive midfielder. However, current management will not change Til as he is an icon of their youth system.
        3. With respect to attack, Johnson is a good player but vd Brom does not know how to use him in his system of playing. AZ play with many short passes but Johnson needs good assists. Compared to Weghorst who worked as a horse in the field, Johnson does not do that and waits for assists as Dost. Idrissi needs to learn how to defend. He does not come back for defense which puts a lot of pressure on Thomas Ouwejan. I really like Mats Seuntjens but he is better on right side rather than on the center of attack. Myron has to be very carefully employed. Calvin Stengs needs to increase his physicality. He looks very exhausted.
        I personally think AZ need to stop playing attacking football. All their successes came when they played defensive football with sharp counter attacks under Louis van Gall, Dick Advocaat, and Gerdtjan Verbeek. I believe Arne Slot will be right coach for AZ. Bottomline, AZ have good material but in my opinion it has not been used properly.

  4. I have been followig vitesse for quite sometime now and I think they have good squad to compete in qualification.they are deploying 4-4-2 and have worked for them quiet well.they drew with PSV 3-3, AZ 2-2,Feyenoord 1-1 and take on ajax in mid week which could be the decider as to who will win the eredivisie.PSV or Ajax. They had very little chelsea influence as well this season so most of the players will feature again next season.odegaard is the only player who might leave if madrid do decide to call him back. Buitink has broken into the starting 11 as well with Linssen,Buttner and odegaard having a good season.

    If they qualify then definitely they will need reinforcement to upgrade certain department

  5. Koeman was in the house as well for AZ and feyenoord game.I wonder whom he was scouting.

    Good to see van bommel starting malen upfront. First full 90′ for him, scoring the third goal to clinch the winner.

    1. Dutch players who could come back to eredivsiie and revive their careers.

      Jairo Riedewald – Frozen at Crystal Palace

      Kevin Diks – Frozen at Empoli on loan from Fiorentina

      Mike Van der hoorn – Swansea contract to expire at the end of this season.

      Juninho Bacuna – Relegation Huddersfield

      Terence Kongolo – Relegation Huddersfield

      Jeffery Bruma – on loan at schalke with no future at wolfburg

      Jeremine Lens – Club crisis – Beskitas

      Bobby Adekanye – contract expired -Liverpool

      Philippe Sandler – no playing time at Man City

      Timothy Fosu-Mensah- No future at Man United

      Juan Familia Castillo – Contract expiring chelsea at the end of the season.

    2. Yes me too

      I’m really proud of Ajax what they have contributed to Dutch football this season

      That’s also why I really want them to be champions of the Eredivisie

      PSV should really learn from
      Ajax , the way they play , attack, defend

  6. Wijnaldum is a good player and hardworking one

    But he is not my ideal Oranje player in that position

    There will be better players coming on ( ihattaren? Van de Beek who can provide a better stacking opruon for Oranje

    Nathan Ake is one of my favourite He has more potential to show . But if he keeps stubborn and playing for a small club like Bournemouth, he will be wasting his talent

    Ake needs to move to a club that plays champions league . If he keeps his stupid loyalty that bye bye let it be !

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