Ajax invincible with Daley Blind

The 29 year old multi functional player is in his best season ever. Every week he takes Ajax by the hand and has them on course for another Eredivisie title.

He has the most minutes of them all and he scores the highest rates. In terms of quality and quantity, Daley is riding high. And off the pitch, lady Fortuna is smiling down on him too, with the birth of his son Lowen. These days, a player could easily get onto Cloud #9, but not Blind. He is too down-to-Earth for this and he has seen more than enough in football.

Blind was the Man of the Match vs Feyenoord, yet again. He ruled on the ball from his defensive position, was always an peaceful island in a sea of turmoil around him and was able to find the solutions moving forward. And defensively, he never got in trouble. Joel Veltman: “His interceptions, his choices with the ball, I can really enjoy watching him play. He dribbles as easy as Frenkie does and he always finds the footballing solution. Trust me, playing next to him makes it look really easy for me, you know. He is always relaxed and that radiates into the whole team.”

Blind is Ajax’ leader, exactly like he was planned to be when Ajax lured him back to Amsterdam. A silent leader, as Blind is not like Memphis playing loud rap music in the dressing room, or sporting huge lion tattoos on his back. Tadic is the leader up front, and the captain. Blind is vice captain and he lets his feet do the talking. When Blind left for Man United, Ajax just won 4 titles in a row. With Blind away, Ajax didn’t win anything. And once Blind was back at the club, the trophies came back as well.

“It feels amazing to get all this praise and to important for the team,” says Blind humbly. “I try to play a 6,5 every game, at least! I don’t want to go below that. I need to reach my base level, do my tasks well and then see if I can add to my game. I am here for the team, not for Daley Blind. And as a central defender you need to ooze calm, you know. Even when you’re not, or even when you get under pressure. Never panic.”

Those moments are rare though. Since last weekend, Ajax is on the throne. PSV is put on 6 points, as is the gap with AZ and Vitesse. And Ajax has a far better goal tally so it’s actually 7 points.

“I mentioned it to Siem after the Feyenoord game. This is the first time we have a gap with the number 2 before the xmas break. I’m not used to that. In the previous title races we had to come back from trailing.  And this means, that we’re not there yet. I have played in teams that had to cover 10 points, and did! Even once 13 points and in those seasons, PSV wasn’t too shabby either. So, we shouldn’t relax and sit back!”

He was hunter and becomes prey. Blind will be on the look out for complacency. The difficult match vs RKC fresh in his memory. “This 4-0 win was nice, but we don’t win the title by beating Feyenoord. We need to win all the games vs the so-called smaller clubs. We know we can play well in big games, but we also need to bring it in the more difficult matches away vs VVV and PEC Zwolle. We can be our own biggest opponent in those matches. The away game vs PEC Zwolle is actually next weekend. “That’s what I mean! I compare that with Heracles away. We lost that one, 0-1 last season. So we need to be vigilant, even if we are 6 points loose.”

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  1. Hi Jan,

    Thank you for the article and you always make our day.

    And yes, Daley Blind is great player. What I like is his visions and ball passing. Though he is not world class but I will say he is a good player.

    Jan, wonder is it possible for you to write an article on Calvin Stengs in close future.
    Thank you 🙂

  2. I will happily hold my hand up and say that I was once one of the Blind critics of accusing him of being a jack of all trades. Never really owning or specialising in a position. And of sometimes being to passive.

    But since his return to Ajax…. wow. He shown me what he can do. Maybe it was just a matter of finding the right home to showcase his skills.

    With Blind (covering LB and CB), van Dijk, de Ligt and de Vrij for CB, and even van Aanholt who admittedly is not the best defensively but does offer a lot going forward at LB, my position of worry for the NT is right back.

    Would it be fair to say that the last decent Dutch right back was Reizeiger?

    Since then Kromkamp, Denzel, Kew Jaliens, Melchiot, Bosvelt, van Rhijn, Janmaat, Hateboer (I’ve probably missed loads of others), in my opinion have all flattered to deceive.

    Karsdorp between injuries and his bad move to Roma has never quite had the in the needed to safely say if he is the man for the job or not.

  3. Goalkeepers: Marco Bizot (AZ), Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord), Jeroen Zoet (PSV).

    Defenders: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Aké (AFC Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta Bergamo), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Joël Veltman (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale).

    Midfielders: Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Pröpper (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta Bergamo), Kevin Strootman (Olympique Marseille), Tonny Vilhena (Krasnodar), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

    Attackers: Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (Olympique Lyon), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Donyell Malen (PSV), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Calving Stengs (AZ), Wout Weghorst (VfL Wolfsburg).

    1. Yes, watched the game. Some of the players had individual flashes of real quality, Braff, Maatsen (despite his red card), Hoever. But these were just flashes. As with the Japan, overall they didn’t have anywhere near the cohesion or chemistry they showed in the Euros. Hard to say why. Maybe its just that they are a group of 17 year-olds playing on a big stage in a different hemisphere.

  4. I am happy that Calvin was called for NT provisional but down inside it is quite scary that he could get injured again. Not sure whether it is his body type or what but he seems so fragile….

    1. Same thoughts

      He’s just a bit too tall and not muscular enough
      But he can’t do anything about that that’s his kind is type

      Really hope he can enjoy another long term injury as that would be a big blow to his career as well as oranje

      Being optimistic, even if he gets a chance he won’t be getting all the 90×2 minutes from
      Koeman . He would be lucky if he got playing time hahahaha which means ….. he can rest a bit

  5. But I think it is very important to let stengs

    join the oranje games . The “ know each other’s “ and building chemistry not only happens on the Pitch but also off the pitch . Let him make some “friendship “ first with the current orange players

    And can someone please send a message to koeman’s FB to kick out Strootman and Luuk ASAP ! They’re two old and over their peak ffs!

  6. Ok as i said before marzaui back to ajax stating 11 and dest leave on bench. Easily ajax have to forget dest and play with marzaui remain of the season. Marzaui is better defender and has more experience.

      1. If Martinez injured then Mazorui will be moved to Midfield i guess,i want to see Gravenberch and Noa lang there…Ajax sitiing pretty top at eredivise table..i cannot choose inbetween mazeroui and Dest both are equally good,i wish both choose Dutch NT,but thats long gone…

        1. Agree Gravenberch and eiting should be rotated more so that come next season they are ready to start.

          Mazzaroui and Dest is exactly what you wanna see happen in a team. Two very capable players competing for one spot.This always brings the very best out of players, ehancing competency. City is one team where this is evident in almost every position.

  7. Watched Liverpool and Aston Villa and I must say Anwar El Ghazi has become one of villas valuable player. He was on the bench last vs city and came out firing vs Liverpool even though they lost 2-1 conceeding two very late goals. Even though they play different position but still it was siprising to compare both him and wijnaldums performamce. Wijnaldum performance was no where to the level showing he is a NT player while El ghazi was showing it the other way around. Even he caused headache for van dijk. He is somebody who can pull something out of nothing runs,assists etc and in big games like this his quality was well reflected.

  8. De ligt scored the winner in the turin derby but looks like he cant stop using his hands. Escaped a clear penalty when it got deflected his raising arm.

    Kluivert also is making a good progress at Roma. He has became a starter these days and is showing good composure.

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