Analysis Ajax – Napoli

Napoli gave Liverpool football lessons earlier in the CL group and Klopp said: “We’ll have to go back to basics, to re-invent ourselves!” The Napoli traveling circus also visited Amsterdam and it seems Ajax too will need to re-invent themselves.

An analysis.

The Expectations

For starters, we need to be honest about where we believe this Ajax is, in their development. They impressed a couple of seasons ago, versus Real Madrid and Juventus and more, with the likes of Ziyech, Schone, De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong. Even more recent, they also got the people excited when Ten Hag was able to “re-invent” the team, adding Lisandro Martinez, Seb Haller and Antony.

Today’s Ajax is not the same. They let Martinez go, and got Bassey back. They let Antony go and use Tadic as his replacement. They had to let Mazraoui go, and are using Rensch in his place. And 38 year old new fave goalie of the month Remko Pasveer is the current goalie. But… is this Ajax capable of beating the best in Europe? With this team? Tadic is lacking form for months now. Berghuis is hot and cold. Blind is clearly getting older. It all starts by realising that the Europa League might be Ajax’s league at this point in time.


Ajax can only play one type of game. They do have a tall Italian Plan B striker on the bench, but they basically play the Ajax game, full stop. Which is: build up from the back, pass and move, lost of nifty little passes to get to the opponent’s box and then find the free man. Well, spoiler alert. Liverpool, AZ and now Napoli have shown the world that you can only play like this if you’re good enough. Meaning, if the players at the back (including the goalie) can play the forward pass inch-perfect under pressure. Blind and Timber can do this. Apparently, Bassey and Pasveer not so much. Furthermore, you need players from midfield who can drop deep and pick up the ball for a dribble, a passing move and win a physical battle. Like Frenkie, Gravenberch or Lasse Schone. Taylor and Berghuis are less capable to do this. Taylor is more of an 8, while Berghuis lacks the physical strength. Bassey is poor in the build up and although Timber is a superior talent, he would still need a Van Dijk or Martinez next to him to organise the backline.

When Napoli (or AZ or Liverpool) press ferociously and with more intensity than Ajax can use to play under out of it, the Sons of Gods resort to long balls (Pasveer and Bassey). But these long balls lack precision while Ajax doesn’t use the players up top to do something with these long balls. Which comes down to player selection. Bergwijn, Kudus and Tadic are exactly NOT the players to use in this way. Better to use Brobbey and Luca and even Ocampos for that type of game.

Typical for Ajax, they do what they always do even if it doesn’t work. Schreuder refused to sub his preferred players and has paid the price. When the stadium speaker announced at the start of the second half, that Ajax had not made any changes, the 10,000s in the JC Arena responded with a fierce whistle and booing concert. Schreuder was deaf to it. When Tadic got his first yellow, he should have been subbed. But no, he was allowed to stay and collect his second yellow.

The Quality

As indicated above, Ajax has lost too much quality. Antony left, Ocampos came (a totally different type of player). Bergwijn came, which is good, but he played his best games with Wijndal making his overlaps, so Bergwijn can cut inside and become half a striker in the half spaces. Blind has less of the overlaps and Bergwijn played too much with his back to goal. Tadic is struggling and should have been subbed after his first yellow. Taylor is an exciting midfielder, but he lacks the quality on the ball of Gravenberch and Frenkie de Jong. They could drop down next to the central defenders and play themselves out of trouble. Taylor is less equipped for this (for now at least).

For me, the indication that Ajax was not looking forward to this match and were a bit nervous, was clear in the first 15 minutes. Some unnecessary fouls from Alvarez, Blind and Taylor could have resulted in early yellows. In the first minute, the defenders allowed a ball to bounce in the box and there was some confusion (Bassey rammed the ball forward, to no one) and Timber and Pasveer got themselves into trouble. Ajax rattled.

Football principles

Ajax stuck to its principles and truth be told, when Ajax did play from under the press, they played ok. They found space and seemed to be in the match. But the % of personal duels won was quite low, which shows another problem. The Napoli defenders had a field day and the Ajax midfield struggled to control the game or even win second balls. The right flank of Ajax was a complete embarrassment. Non existent. With Rensch clearly lacking the confidence to support the attack and Tadic playing his worst game yet.

Remko Pasveer has demonstrated something that Van Gaal will have taken notes for: he panics when he is confronted with pressure while having the ball to his feet. He showed this versus AZ and now again. Although he is decent with both feet, he just hammers the ball forward when attacked and that resulted in constant loss of possession. In the first 15 mins, Pasveer and Timber had a miscommunication moment which almost resulted in the first Napoli goal.

Schreuder is not doing himself a lot of favors. Sometimes, it’s important to show the fans you realised you made a mistake and you do what you can to correct it. If there ever was a game to play Ocampos, it was now.

Dead Ball Situations

Most of you will have noticed that Ajax concedes goals (and chances) from set pieces and corners. It happened against Benfica, it happened against Liverpool (last minute of the game) and it happened versus Napoli, several times. There are ways to deal with this, as it is all a matter of focus and organisation. But, either Ajax is too arrogant to work on this (and hire a specialist dead ball coach for instance) or they are too amateur to realise this. I believe it’s the first.

the biggest problem: build up (avoiding the pressure). Ajax did this well at times and created space.

Van Gaal was purring

It seems Van Gaal is getting some great feedback from games like this. I would not be surprised if Pasveer just dropped a couple of spots on the goal keeper list. I don’t see much of Flekken but Cillesen is more impressive I think. It would make sense for Ajax to go to a 3-4-3, like Van Gaal did. Use Blind – who is still excellent on the ball (he actually was pretty good in the first half, apart from the Napoli equaliser) – Bassey and Timber and use Wijndal as wide left full back. This will go at the expense of Tadic, of course.

The Goals

It’s easy to try and blame one player for a goal conceded. For the layman, it’s usually the last defender or goalie who gets it. \

The 1-1 equaliser of Napoli starts with a senseless long ball, easily won by a Napoli defender (duel #1). Then Napoli combines past Alvarez, Tadic and Rensch as if they don’t exist. They are constantly a second or two too late. When the left winger runs deep, Bassey and Blind are covering their opponents on the proper side. But Bassey completely leaves his man behind. Blind goes with his man, but when he crosses over to the left of the box, Bassey forces Blind away by taking over the #11 while Blind now has to cover the penetrating run of goal scorer #81 Raspadori who was on his bike, while Blind stood on his heels. 1-1, not much for Pasveer to do here.

The 1-2 was embarrassing. A short corner with two Napoli players (obviously) only marked by one Ajax player (Berghuis) who is wildly gesticulating to his team mates for support. Timber is ball watching and the Napoli skipper has an easy header. Again, Pasveer couldn’t do much.

By then, Ajax is still  in the game but in the 39th minute another huge chance , for Zielinsky this time. Pasveer stops the ball which was shot right to him. In the 44th minute, Ajax is pushing up to score the equaliser and have 5 players in front of the ball (Blind, Berghuis, Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn). Alvarez loses the second ball duel, Timber decides to press forward on the striker but doesn’t get the ball. The bounce is played behind Timber, where there is a huge gap as Bassey and Rensch are also too high. One fast runner and a weak attempt from Pasveer and it’s 1-3, when Ajax was hoping for the 2-2.

Alvarez taking a huge gamble

Not a lot of trouble you’d say. Ajax can score two goals in 45 minutes and get back to 3-3, right?

But then in the first minutes of the first half, while the audience whistles due to no subs and the Bob Marley song “3 little birds” blasts from the speakers in the Arena, something terrible happens. Bergwijn is squeezed off the ball by two Napolitans (?). A long spell of Napoli possession ensues. Alvarez wins the ball in his own box and wants to play out with some nonchalance, engaging Pasveer in the short passing, who plays the ball to Bassey, but the pass doesn’t get there, It’s an 8 yard pass and it goes awfully wrong. The ball ends at the feet of Raspadori who gets his second. Pasveer bows his head.

Pressure on Pasveer

Now we’re 60 minutes into the game. Ndombele powers forward, 4 Italians vs 5 Ajax defenders. A little one – two combination (not unlike the Taylor – Bergwijn one for the 1-0) and Karanskhelia just passes the ball passed Pasveer 1-5. Simeone comes in as a sub and around the 80st minute, the situation becomes even worse . Ajax wants to build up from the back. It’s a sluggish so Pasveer hooves the ball forward. The aerial duel is won by Napoli (of course). Napoli finds space in between the lines, and a simple little flick plays the ball behind Bassey who doesn’t see the runner behind him 1-6.

In summary:

Pasveer simply gives possession away all the time. This was the case versus Liverpool and it is happening again versus Napoli. Playing high long balls to Tadic and Kudus really doesn’t work against Rrahmani and Min-Jae. Raspadori was clearly instructed to constantly put pressure on the 38 year old. In the past, Ajax had players like Martinez, Mazraoui and Gravenberch to avoid the press. Today, only Blind and Timber can do this. It is not enough.

Again, pressure on Pasveer

Ajax doesn’t take dead ball moments seriously. The second goal comes from a corner, where Berghuis has to wake up Tadic to come and put pressure on the ball. Pasveer is still organising when the corner is taken. Bassey and Alvarez are also not paying attention while Berghuis waits for Tadic to put pressure, instead of doing it himself as he is closest.

Too many Ajax players are betting on their mates winning the ball and moving forward when it’s actually not possible yet. Too many players think too offensive. Take this situation, as described earlier. Too many player in front of the ball and Alvarez taking a big risk going for a loose ball, exposing his defence.

Focus is also a problem. Here you can see Taylor mourning a missed pass, while the opponent is heading towards the Ajax goal.

In a match that isn’t going your way, you need to keep the focus, stick to your tasks and stick to your position.

A bad Ajax playing a top Napoli will therefore result in a massive hammering. Work to be done!

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  1. @ Anthony

    “I have one final question that I hope you can answer without sidestepping or saying nonsense. Just answer Yes or no – do you believe that you, Wilson knows more than all the elite players and elite coaches when it comes to assessing Daley blind? I know it will be extremely tempting to go off on your typical Wilson rant. I’m asking you directly for a one word response. Yes or no. Are you confident and secure enough in your credentials to say yes or are you willing to be humble and say no. yes or no only please”

    If you have read my posts carefully I had already answered to your this question which is” No”. It’s a Fan based forum.

    Then in contrary the elites are saying the same thing that I have been highlighting in the last couple of posts.

    You see Jan has been riding on something that was or may have been regarded once upon a time and held it for too long. It’s no more present day view point.

    Then the whole idea for me to bring up the “time line” was to prove the point that why continue in the on the same road when it has been yielding the same outcome again and again over the past years.

    Ad per your points I will give it a go again and then see.

    1. You can go back to comments from 2016 where yours truly already said Blind and Malacia will be the left backs for the future and there will be a time – as ever – where the old bull needs to make way for the new bull. Nothing new about that. I don’t need Wes Sneijder in 2022 (or Wilson ) to tell me that.

  2. Oh Jan. You should have closed with “long story short, Ajax needs a coach and a few players” 🙂
    Not sure if you noticed, but Berghuis was also in the game and did NOTHING. He is as light as a feather.
    Losing to Napoli is no shame, but being hammered 6-1 at home, in a full stadium is an epic humiliation. Especially considering Napoli had 11 unknown players in the field. I dare anyone in this forum to say they know more than 2-3 players from that team.
    I’ll add one more thing and it is not directed at Jan but I hear so often the expression “well that’s how Ajax plays, they only know one way of playing” and it is really embarrassing. It seems like it makes everybody feel better even when they get a whooping. Really strange. I thought smart football is about switching gears and being flexible, instead everybody is satisfied with that “one way of playing”. Same thinking was applied when they missed CHL final 2-3 years ago.
    Anyway, perhaps this is for the best and Ajax goes on to win the Europa League.

    1. I did notice Berghuis’ performance, I wrote about it in the post :-).

      He didn’t do everything wrong, in the first 20 minutes he really tried hard, but he failed.

      As for the Napoli names, I think it’s not fair to ask the Dutch NT forum people to ask names of a team from Italy. The left winger from Georgia is definitely a name that popped up on the radar of course.

      But, as Van Gaal says: The best team wins, not the best eleven individuals.

      As for Ajax’ style, back in the day, Co Adriaanse was fired – partly – for playing in a 4-4-2. Koeman tried to get the news into the ajax’ members heads that 4-3-3 doesn’t always work.

      They are very headstrong in Amsterdam, sadly for them. They got Luca for Plan B and they decided not to use him.

  3. @ Wilson.
    It’s great that the answer is no. My answer for me is also no. As long as we both agree that we know less than the experts then we can have debates.

    Unfortunately, I think you and I have different topics we are currently debating. I’m debating that blind is on the squad due to merit and that the 5-3-2 is tactical and not just to accommodate “daddys” wishes of having blind play. Based on your sneijder link – It seems you’re debating whether blind is our starter?

    Great debate but I’m worried we may hijack a 3rd post. Let’s continue to debate in the future as we support the greatest football nation(maybe tied for first with canada).

    @jan. I owe you an apology. You’ve made 3 great posts that I’ve turned into the anthony and Wilson show. That’s not fair to the work you put in as it detracts from your message. Looking forward to many more posts! Perhaps one outlining Ajax’s rebuild without overmars, ten hag, and how the next year or two will look as we replace some key players?

    @the other board members. Thanks for being patiently waiting till the anthony/Wilson shows over.

    @jean I was a bit harsh earlier. I’m sorry. Let’s keep debating!

    1. No worries brother, this is why the forum is here. No sweat. You don’t need to stay on point. I like the debates. I only start to get annoyed when people start to keep on beating a dead horse. I always like people who can learn and grow. People who cannot and have a closed mind are a waste of time.

  4. @ Anthony

    “1. Yes a dictator does not listen to anyone else. That was my point. Van Gaal is a dictator and tactical genius who has made it to the top level of coaching. He surely would be able to analyze blind, malacia, team shape, and team cohesion without bias. He spends weeks preparing for international breaks. Surely with this level of meticulous planning, he isn’t making his team selection based on friendship. Again, he is a dictator, which means he also is not scared of difficult conversations or confrontation. Based on his character, he does not seem too shy to have a conversation with danny to say, your son is not going to start today. Again all the signs of van gaal as a person and coach support the theory that he is not choosing blind because of “daddy”. Your only claim is that it can be natural for some people to embrace nepotism over tactical decisions. It’s nonsense.”

    I know this is not in the same context but it does show he listens and bows down as well.

    Being tatical genius, I have agreed to this but also as discussed this doesn’t mean though he hasnt bite the dust going wrong in vast circumstances. Player transfer, selection, fallout, strategy etc.

    Then the meticulous planing.

    Blind – what is there to analyze. Neither he is in his prime, neither he is getting any better, neither he is defensively reliable and neither his technical pros works in tatical or any setup Vs “X” teams. Then what is the bias of his selection as a starter over Malacia who with the limited games he has played has shown to be a reliable and better option than him and in the same setup. Because he peaks in certain type of games when he is able to move forward.

    You have to look at this from day 1 when van Gaal took over. Blind was at the front runner to be the starter and Malacia as his backup. I mean Vs Lativa and Gibraltar. Nothing tatical, still Malacia didn’t get the nod even after his good debut performance Vs Montenegro. Now my point here is it was nothing to do with any analyzing or meticulous planning like you claim but simply a carry forward from the euros and to be built on it. It again goes back to what I have said that’s how they want it to be and it has nothing to do with him tatically fitting better in that setup as Malacia with his quick feet as shown he is well capable of providing a better balance both defensively and offensively.

    Look when you this type of situations ( competition),there is only way solution to this and that is ” ROTATION” and not the criteria 1,2,3 which Jan mentioned. And this is what I have critical about Blind from day 1 especially now when Malacia is in the picture.

    Well off course Blind might have one two assists Vs Qatar and Ecoudor but still there is nothing that proves that Malacia can’t do that either in the same setup.

    The mic is yours Sir before I move to # 2

  5. @ Wilson. Great reply. I think youve done a good job being direct to the topic I presented. It pains me not to throw out some counter replies as I think we could have a great debate when you make posts like your most recent one! Shall we move on for everyone else’s sake?

    I will say that I rate malacia. Too bad he got subbed at half again today. Did anyone watch the game and see if hes just tired or was it a poor performance?

  6. As much as I think Gakpo is frustrating and overrated and he disappears in big games (against Monaco and rangers 4 games zero influence), but man seeing the beauties he scored today makes me excited and hoping that maybe he is peaking going into the World Cup…. He could be a lethal weapon in the World Cup if he produces those long range shots like that in the World Cup!!! I guess before dreaming so much let’s see the two real tests he has against arsenal, if he disappears in those two games against arsenal then he is just another eredivisie player who gets lost once he makes the jump to top leagues!!!!

    And it is nice to see all three of danjuma (scored today, and almost scored another amazing goal), malen and Lang all back and running!!! Fingers crossed , and my oranje jersey just arrived from the knvb shop today to Detroit, I ordered it 20 days ago:) , can’t wait !!!!

  7. Malen and lang is must… Alaa.. They can find goals from. Vaccum, they are difference makers..

    Tyrell malacia.. He was terrible in his last two games… He was defensively excellent before these two games also he couldn’t do anything in attack as his running off the ball lacks the idea, vision etc… May be this is due to sancho and rashford both are clueless players how to combine with your wing back… Malacia was shockingly bad… Lucky that Ten haag is the coach as he is starting every game.. But Ten haag was forced to sub him after poor performance..

  8. The way football fans can judge players….

    “Tadic is a legend”
    “Tadic sucks and needs to be subbed”
    “Malacia is the future!”
    “Malacia is crap!”
    “Memphis is our talisman”
    “Memphis is a waste of space”
    “Blind is suave”
    “Blind is shit”


  9. @ Manoj Kumar @ Emmanual

    I knew Emmanual was a highlight specialist but looks like you have fell in it too. Watched first half replay of both Man United and omonia and PSv Vs Zurich.

    Will only talk about malacia. Apart from the play which led to the goal. He never put any foot wrong and it was Sancho slow pass which put him under pressure as omonia’s Brazilian striker Bruno souza was quick to captilize on the pass. malacia was the last defender as everyone had come forward in the box. Free kick. Malacia stretched out and tried shielding but it was simply a big man over small and he easily got bundled over resulting in a run away goal. He did manage to track back and made a last ditch tackle but couldnt get to the ball.

    Apart from this his work rate was good playing a high line. Unfortunately the united players only used him when they ran out of options. This could have been one of the reasons why he got subbed off . He played really hard going up and day. I also don’t know whether it was tatical but he kept drifting into the middle.

    Note. I’m not defending but what I saw. He had few passes which found nobody but otherwise was composed.

    Zurich were no match for pSv and looked helpless on counters. I liked Xavi’s game. His work rate was phenomenal and threw his body in heavy traffic trying to bulldoze through. He will a good replacement for wjnaldum. Scored a good goal as well after a solo run deep from in the opponent’s half. Linked with Gakpo to poke the ball with stretched out leg. His touches were phenomenal as well. His combo with Gakpo, veerman was good as well. Gakpos goals were both as mentioned was top self.

    Arsenal should be a good test for the m.

      1. Nah you said apart from goal mistake he never put a foot wrong.. You are a dimwit… Dont roll around..sancho was bad he got subbed.. Malacia was bad he git subbed.. Very simple… But in your book Malacia was good… Eric subbed him not for mistake… As mistake happens with every one…

  10. @ Jan

    I had Bakker ahead of malacia. If I recall correctly, remember the debate when he was at PSG under tuchel and then his burst up in training session.

    I think nobody would have thought malacia will end up at Man United and that’s how he has really come into spotlight and pushing for starting spot in NT.

    Maatsen has been getting good reviews at Burnley on loan from chelsea under Vincent company. hoping to seeing him and malacia in 2026.

  11. I just saw ten hag comment on the malacia sub. He said it was because malacia was not good. His movement along with Sancho’s was poor and so he switched his left side. Perhaps that’s why you witnessed utd players not passing to him Wilson? He wasn’t in the correct positions for their tactical set up.

    1. @anthony…. As per wilson when you are good you will be subbed after 45 minutes…kind of reward in wilson book..Sancho–Malacia comibination is real waste… We must blame both for it…

  12. @ Jan,

    Something I’ve noticed a while ago, I would like to get your opinion on it. The height of some of our defenders is a great concern. Players such as Timber, Ake, Malacia. As you can see, the 3rd goal I believe was on Timber because that Napoli Player who jumped for the ball is twice as tall as Timber and this was a total miss match. I just can’t imagine a back line with Timber, Ake and Malacia. If we are going to have Malacia and AKE, I think we should have De Vri next to Van Dick just because of that.

  13. Jean Height with Timber at back 3 wont be a problem…As long as we have Virgil…Nathan Ake is an outstanding jumper while Timber is not…Malacia should develop skills on how to run on space ,he has to correct off the ball movements than Air domination…mostly wing backs will be facing short speedy wingers…So Malacia is free from Jumpers…We have koopmeiners at midefiled ,how is his areal ability???…
    Mathijs de ligt a ferocious header of the ball..Luuk De jong another specialist in header when you add Virgil we have the deadliest players for set peices..
    ============================================================ on bench
    additional 4 players
    Luuk de jong
    De roon

  14. @ Anthony

    @ I read that article as well. just saying. He specially mentioned the off the ball movement was not good. From what I saw, his positioning was good in clear.sancho receiving the ball and turning his back. Eriksen pulling the trigger and Martinez like I said was drifting out and malacia drifting to the middle. I really didn’t understand this.

    Well looks like fans like him and are following him

    Not saying Ten Hag is wrong.

  15. I saw the different interviews with Ten Hag and I saw the game. Malacia wasn’t so bad, and the mistake he made was in a situation that should not had happened, according to Ten Hag. “That back pass to Malacia was the problem”. He subbed his right flank because the partnership between Sancho and Malacia was not good and I think it was more Sancho (not making runs) than Malacia.

    As for the height question. Yes, I think the height of Timber is a problem. Ake less so, who has a great jump on him Sergio Aguero / Cannavaro style. And he’s a top header of the ball. In a 5 man defence, you can have Malacia and Timber as long as you compensate with Dumfries, Van Dijk and you can also see Gakpo as a tall header of the ball, he’s quite good.

  16. Jan,

    Thanks for the analysis’, very I formative.

    Now, its a total revelation for me that Ajax doesn’t work on dead ball situation. Is a huge weakness and I cannot believe they haven’t look into it.

    Another weakness is the mentality. Does Ajax have a coach for that?

    Do yiu think Schreuder will switch to 343 and bench Tadic? I don’t see this coming, but I like the idea

    Maybe to 532?

    Bergwijn Kudus

    Taylor Alvarez Berghuis

    Winjdal/Blind/Baseey/Timber/Rensch (other)

    This will be very good for Van Gaal

  17. @Jan

    Re: Typical for Ajax, they do what they always do even if it doesn’t work. Schreuder refused to sub his preferred players and has paid the price. When the stadium speaker announced at the start of the second half, that Ajax had not made any changes, the 10,000s in the JC Arena responded with a fierce whistle and booing concert. Schreuder was deaf to it. When Tadic got his first yellow, he should have been subbed. But no, he was allowed to stay and collect his second yellow.

    This statement, in a nutshell, is a summary of the state of Dutch international football.

    And nothing is more fitting than Ajax(feeder club) exemplifying this malaise and showcasing, microscopically, what a fan like myself have been harping on forever about Oranje.

    If you guys recall, I had a little write up wherein I talked about the reluctance of Dutch coaches to apply practicality in lots of decisions they undertake.

    Everything have to have an air of the esoteric. Practicality and common sense decisions are for commoners like myself. They see themselves as tactical juggernauts and would rather unnecessarily complicate things than succumb to the lure of the same wavelength of thought of the general public, however practical.

    There is something about common sense and practicality though. It almost never, ever loses. Like I always say, 1+1 will always be 2. No amount of tweaking and tactical genius and overthinking is going to trump the fact that you stand a better chance at success against the Brazilian ’82 team with two solid defensive midfielders(or maybe three) or even better, two defensive banks of 4.

    Cruyff would likely go toe to toe even with this current crop of Oranje players. Marjwick, a lesser coach, perhaps, uses practicality in 2010 and nearly went all the way.

    The 4-3-3 when perfected and buttressed by the right personnel is perhaps the most beautiful and fluid system of them all. But it is a travesty and outrage when the master becomes a slave to his own devices.

    Your allegiance should be geared towards making your team stand the best chance of winning. Always. Not how well you can execute a system regardless of what’s in front of you.

    It’s foolhardy. Arrogant. Spiteful. And the fans have every right to boo Schreuder. Common sense instigates them to.

    1. Yep :-). Your opinion is noted. You shared this before. You can call it arrogance, or spite, but these are “value judgements” (waarde oordelen) as we call it in Dutch. What you call arrogance, another person calls it confidence. We don’t know what we don’t know. We can’t look into the heads of the coaches.

      and to paint Bosz, Van Marwijk, Van Gaal and Schreuder with the same brush is a bit simple. Advocaat, Arne Slot, Frank de Boer, Ron Jans…they are not all the same.

      And with that “spite attitude” as you call it, Ajax didn’t do too badly in the past 50 years. They’re a rich club, they have a strong reputation, they win trophies and impress fans across the globe.

      You get the good with the bad, and vice versa.

      Btw, don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Schreuder’s decisions. I too would have subbed Tadic at half time. But I find some of the jumping-to-conclusions a bit too simple.

  18. I read Man united has put VDBeek up for sale. Should Ajax get him back or loan him?

    I also dont understand and have said it from day 1, why Tadic is deployed on the right when his strong hold is on the left. You look back , Tadic,haller,Antony, Tadic, Dolberg, ziyech, Neres, Tadic ( striker), ziyech, it worked wonderfully.

    It’s also a worrying sign looking at Bergwijn’s performance in the last 3-4 games from consistency point of view. I have said this before when he plays game after games his consistency level starts dropping and this was the reason why he flopped at Spurs vs a more consistent and clinical son. The hectic schedule which remains before the the WC wont help it too. He has been delivering it on NT stage but looking at his recent performances you can’t tell what form he will be in come WC. P

  19. A small coincidence between 1982 worldcup and 2022 worldcup. In 1982, Germany, Brazil,Belgium, Argentina, France and Netherlands were favourites. Netherlands failed to qualify and Italy underdog went on to claim title with the oldest goalkeeper in Dino Zoff.
    Now, incidentally in 2022, Italy was clear favourites along with others but failed to qualify. This time, Netherlands has qualified though ranked 8th is seen as a dark horse but has one of the oldest goal keepers in Remko Pasveer. What has happened is similar to 1982, is it an sign of things to come so is it going to be the turn of Netherlands to win the 22nd worldcup in Qatar 2022
    to win the Title.

      1. No, i am nit saying that. I was just pontibg out a inute coincidence. I already said, the way Ajax is playing now, the selectuons are going to be in controversy

  20. Frimpong with a brace in Bundesliga while Rensch got roasted by Napoli. I wonder what LVG and Blind will do? Ah, they will call Rensch because he know the Ajax players.

    1. @Oragutan: Well said. Things will never change. This is the Dutch way or the ostrich approach. Schreuder starts the same eleven after getting roasted by Napoli. Beat Volendam and get the false sense of security that things will go well.

  21. It looks like Botman has took the starting spot at Newcastle and they are doing well in EPL. He made the right choice in focusing his energy on right thing.

  22. Yeah rensch over frimpong is puzzling to say the least…. Rensch might turn out to be the greatest right back ever and I would be so happy to see that but for now taking him over frimpong is weird yeah….

    1. Yeah Rensch might become one of the best right back considering the skill that he has and his age. But he is still very raw. I play him in Fifa over Mazraoui too. But his selection is not deserved IMO. The only justification is about Ajax but this argument is invalid with how Ajax is doing.

  23. Frimpong bristling pace and powerful runs terrorized the Schalke defence. Interesting to see who (Frimpong Vs Rensch) comes up top eventually. For now, Frimpong and Malacia on either sides of defense will be exciting to have. 😊

  24. Also, just as we are all excited with Remko Pasveer goalkeeping, his calm demeanor and good shot stopping, he let in soft goals against Volendam. Guessed there will be twist and turns in selections from now till the announcement of the WC squad. 😬

    1. Boadu, Malen, Stengs, all those players are not having success at foreign clubs. This made me question so much the development of forwards in Netherlands. Do they give those players too much space in Netherlands and when they got abroad, they got suffocated? But then again, we keep developing top class defenders.

        1. As a forward in Bundesliga, he will be judged based on goals and assists. His last season was not good enough and this season, he has 0 + 0. He need to step up and consistently perform or he will get out soon. Moukoko at 17 years old has much higher production than Malen and that’s real danger of losing his starting spot. Plus if Haller return, I don’t see how he get minutes.

  25. Malacia has lost his starting spot at MU. Meanwhile, Struijk is playing as LB for Leeds for a while now and got a goal today. However, Leeds is one of the worst team in EPL now.

      1. Malacia was good at defending at the beginning but lately he has made some mistakes. This could be due to fatigue so it is good that he get some rest and fight back for his place. I did not see Malacia has good offensive contribution. Maybe his position force he to do so since Shaw was basically doing the same thing today.

  26. By the way, I did not realize that Reiziger is now assistant coach at Ajax. One of the golden generation. I still remember that defense line of Stam, FDB, Reiziger and Numan.

    1. How? He hasn’t featured much (. Bench) or has been a front runner for Argentina and nor stands a chance starting given his stronghold is the same position as where Messi and Di maria plays. Dybala is neither a pure striker nor a winger and this is where his downfall comes. Neither he can operate from the left fluently like when playing on the right. He is best suited when playing with two strikers upfront and this is why Juventus sold him. They wanted a clinical no 9 whom they got it by signing Vhalovic and in Argentina they have martinez ( inter) Correa (Inter), Alverez ( city) and then Di Maria on the wing and cover up for Messi if need be or should messi drop to 10.

      At Roma Mourinho deploys him in the formation which suits him best and hence he has been banging goals for them. In Argentina its not that
      case, everything revolves around messi.

  27. Malacia was lost in offense,His off the ball movemnet is poor thats why he lost his spot…also his wingers neither Rashford or Sancho are incapable of Ajax style of football…Luuk shaw is not trustworthy at defense ,but Manu plays better offensivly when Luuk plays…Malacia has to find a way..

  28. Euro group Draw out of 5 teams ,2 will go directly ,third place will get play off what else you want….since we qualified for Nations league final thanks to Van gaal we are already assured of Play off…if you cannot beat Ireland and Greece you better not go to europe…Koeman is the coach and he is not as bad as Van marwijk,FDB ,Hiddink etc…

  29. Watched Ajax vs Volendam and dont think there will an upset in Naples come champions league. Blind started at CB and though his distribution ( passing) was eye catching, hope Schruder doesnt get decived into starting him there vs Napoli.

    As expected Tadic started on the left and berghuis on the right with bergwijn behind kudus at 10.

    I think berghuis was the Man of the match. Ajax lookef to be cruzing with 3-0 until Volendam scored twice in 5 minutes and then had a goal disallowed before klaassen put the final nail in the coffin.

    Was really impressed with Eiting who was pulling the strings for volendam like Veerman at PSV. Even Taylor looked lacklustre when compared to him given both were playing the same position. Good to seeing him getting back to his best. Injuries really hampered his development.

    Also wanted to see how Xavier Mbuyamba stands vs big boys. Was composed both arieally and on ball. Especially when Brobbery came on. Didn’t put any foot wrong until in the very end when his short pass to another of his players resulted in a turnover and run away on which klaassen scored the winner. They were on attack mode searching for the equalizer when this happened.

  30. The first thing I want to see when Koeman takes over his Simons to be selected into the team. His Work rate his phenomenal and then with his footwork and touches he is destined for big things.

  31. As an Ajax fan I can say that we’ve become too soft as a team. Many of our players struggle defensively. From our midfielders Berghuis can’t win a duel to save his life, Taylor is the definition of a “soft” player and that leaves the helpless Alvarez trying to cover for both of them. The wingbacks aren’t any different with Rensch who has been very poor defensively so far and yet he gets the call for the national team! Blind and his pace have been an issue for some time now and we continue to uses him while Wijndal is only good for the bench!!

    Although I was excited to see Schreuder become our coach he has done some really questionable things as of now. The persistent use of Tadic on the right is absurd and extremely annoying, also annoying is the fact that no matter how bad Tadic is playing he still plays the full 90 minutes! As Jan said and I agree 100% with him that the 3-4-3 needs to be used from now on starting with the game against Napoli otherwise we’d see another humiliating defeat to the Italians. That is the preferred formation of Schreuder but he abandoned once he became our coach because at Ajax the 4-3-3 is unchangeable even if we don’t have the players for it!!! Having said that and knowing how stubborn Schreuder is he is probably going to play Blind as a CB and Bassey on the left as he did against the struggling Volendam where Blind was still poor and luckily Vermans goal after he easily out muscled Daley was ruled offsides. Blind as a CB will only benefit Raspadori to add to his goal tally.

    Last observation and as Jan correctly stated this team constantly loses aerial duels. There is not one player aside from Alvarez who you are confident they will win a header and it’s honestly so frustrating to watch. Against Liverpool it looked like men vs boys with every corner Liverpool won ending up in a goal scoring chance for them which was the same thing we saw against Napoli with the exception that the Italians didn’t win as many corners.

    I’d like to see a 3-4-3 vs Napoli with Paasveer in goal, Timber, Blind and Bassey as CB’s, Wijndal on the left, Sanchez on the right and Taylor next to Alvarez in midfield with Berghuis, Kudus and Bergwijn up top but I’m sure the only change will be Klaassen coming in instead of the suspended Tadic which basically changes nothing.

  32. forget to mention. Derry Murkin (23) Volendam LB looks like an interesting talent. he is English born but has come up all the ranks playing in Nertherlands from age 4. caused all sort of headaches for ajax on counter offensive and for Rensch as well.

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