After every match that Ajax plays, there is plenty to discuss. Beautiful goals, annoying moments, joy and sadness. Ajax Showtime looks back every week with one of the editors on the competition and weekly current affairs The Review. Today: Ajax does not win for the third game in a row equals negative record from 2015. This time with deputy editor-in-chief Reinand Visscher. Read his look at the match here and join the conversation!
Statement: Ajax’s selection is a lot less good than was thought at the start of the season.
- Statement: Ajax’s selection is a lot less good than was thought at the start of the season.
- What do you most attribute this third loss of points to?
- Was there anyone against FC Emmen that you can give the Man of the Match stamp?
- Alfred Schreuder again chose to adjust his line-up. What did you think of the choices this time?
- Ajax also had a very difficult time at Emmen. What did you see go wrong?
- Dusan Tadic has received a lot of criticism this season, but was important with two assists. How did you think he played?
- How do you view Schreuder’s position after this half of the season?
- How much confidence do you still have in a good ending to this season?
- More afterthoughts:
- Share this:
‘I agree with that. At the start of the season it was thought that the vanguard might be one of the best Ajax has ever had. Everyone was confident that Tadic was still the Tadic we knew. Bergwijn has shown very good things at PSV and Orange, so everyone had very high expectations of that, which he has not yet fulfilled at all. You have lost players like Antony, Martínez and Mazraoui. And for everyone who has left, you have sacrificed quality.’
What do you most attribute this third loss of points to?
‘The lack of tactics and automatisms. Everything seems to be based on coincidences and on the difference in quality between Ajax and Emmen. It seems like you have to hope for individual actions. I have not yet seen Ajax set up attacks as a team that I am used to from them. It’s hard to blame that on anyone but the trainer. It seems to be a tactical problem, because I have faith in the players individually, if they have an idea of what to do and that doesn’t seem to be there now.’
Was there anyone against FC Emmen that you can give the Man of the Match stamp?
‘That is difficult after such a match, because everyone underperformed, but I have seen things from Bergwijn that I am used to from the old Bergwijm and that you should expect from him. He managed to shake off opponents and scored a nice goal. That does not say everything, of course, but instead of receiving the ball from the left winger and playing back “safely” to the midfielders, he now had a good combination with Tadic in the box, for example. There was no goal, but it is still the kind of moment that you expect from such a player. So in that respect choose Bergwijn, but he wasn’t great either.’
Alfred Schreuder again chose to adjust his line-up. What did you think of the choices this time?
‘I think the most striking choice is that Brobbey were again in the lead, Kudus not in the team. Against PSV you played with those two on “nine” and “ten” and that was a bad game, but in my opinion that was not their fault. Why Schreuder finally chose to do that and then left it again remains a question mark for me. Kudus is a midfielder who can play as a striker, but I would like to see him behind Brobbey more often. Give that duo a chance and let’s see what that turns out to be.
“Otherwise, Álvarez returned and it makes sense that he is there again. Even though you could also try to play with a midfield without him against teams like Emmen, for example with Taylor, Berghuis and Kudus. There are advantages and disadvantages to passing Blind. You have less build-up and passing from the back, but everyone standing there now has been playing football. It seems to me that you don’t have to have a world pass like Blind to build up, because there are very few who have that. Setting up such an attack can also be done in many other ways and that that does not happen is due to tactics, the trainer, automatisms and structures that you want to introduce in a team. And if there aren’t any, I find it too easy to yell for Blind.’
Ajax also had a very difficult time at Emmen. What did you see go wrong?
“You see everything go wrong and very little go right. And what goes well, goes well because of individual qualities. However, you do not see for a moment that Ajax performs through good tactics or that they are well attuned to each other. In 2018/19, the Champions League year, we very often individually had a less good team than the opponent. But purely because we were such a good team, you could see that it went well. You don’t see that at all now. Above all, it seems very often hope that the creative guys do something good, because otherwise we simply do not create opportunities. And that doesn’t have to be necessary.’
Dusan Tadic has received a lot of criticism this season, but was important with two assists. How did you think he played?
“He played better than lately, but he still had a lot of sloppy moments and still wasn’t the Tadic we know. Today he had two important assists again, he had some important balls and he held the ball well. Yet that is no more than you may expect from him. That should actually be the case for ninety minutes and I also saw him make a number of wrong decisions against Emmen and suffer careless loss of the ball. And that is actually not allowed. This is the lower limit for him and we may already be happy with that, but that is purely because of what we have been used to from them lately.’
How do you view Schreuder’s position after this half of the season?
“I don’t think the elimination from the Champions League is necessarily a shame. Napoli were so good and that Liverpool turns out to be a size too big, can happen. The way you do it might be a bit of a shame, but what I think is even worse is the way you showed yourself in the competition. You could have gone into the winter break with a large lead over PSV and then there would have been very little going on. In fact, you would have been on track for the title.
Ajax’s current position, in combination with the fact that there is simply no line in the game, that you lose and draw against teams against which you don’t have to… I just don’t see any improvement in the game. There are no strings attached to the choices. I don’t see it getting any better this way and I don’t think Schreuder even knows what he wants now. I am very curious how long Ajax will keep his hand above his head. I defended him until the match against PSV, but this can no longer be justified. In my opinion, the best thing you can do now is prepare for the next season. You have to make sure you are first, because we have the selection to become champions with.’
How much confidence do you still have in a good ending to this season?
“I am confident that we will be first, but that is also purely because I am not that impressed with the competition. Purely in terms of quality and selection, Ajax must become champion, but I think that is also possible with the next Ajax in mind. Because it seems now is the time to start building on it. I think enough words have been said about players like Blind, Tadic and Pasveer. At some point you have to select further and I think it is good to start now.
“The most important thing for this season is to become champions and thus secure Champions League football for next season. I do have faith in that. Ajax has hardly broken any pots this season, but is still in a promising position and they can’t play much worse, I think. Purely on how good our selection is, I think that Ajax has a fifty percent chance and that the rest of the competition should divide the other fifty percent. If this selection also gets in tune with each other and there is a clear tactic behind it, I would estimate the chances for the championship at seventy percent.’
#ajapsv: ‘Pasveer now brings the peace that Gorter does not yet bring’
#foraja: ‘Brobbey made it clear why he should be in the starting line as soon as possible’
#ajagro: ‘The question is whether Blind plays because he is Blind or because he is so good’
#spaaja: ‘Timber and Bassey can become a fantastic central duo’
#utraja: ‘Álvarez is still getting better with the match’
#ajacam: ‘Taylor has become an indispensable player for Ajax in a short time’
#ajaran: ‘It was partly due to Kudus that Ajax played football so dynamically’
#ajahee: “If Tadic holds on to this, he can be the solution for Antony’s departure”
#livaja: ‘Ajax has shown that it can offer resistance at world top level’
#azaja: ‘It is worrying that Ajax does not seem to have an answer to high pressure’
#ajagae: “A lot stands or falls with how Ajax manages to measure itself against Napoli”
#ajanap: ‘The coming week will be crucial for Schreuder’s career at Ajax’
#volaja: ‘I would like to see Kudus as number ten behind Brobbey’
#napaja: “Maybe it is better for this Ajax to play Europa League”
#ajaexc: “You notice that Wijndal is more pleasant for Bergwijn on the left”
#rkcaja: ‘Ajax has a loose midfield, do you really need Álvarez?’
#ajaliv: ‘There will be a setback and Ajax will collapse completely’
#ranaja: ‘Berghuis went out and Ajax immediately started playing long balls again’
#ajapsv: ‘It seems like things are only getting worse at Ajax’
#ajavit: ‘The loss of Blind is so unbelievably great at the moment’