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Football News: Ajax Team Analysis

Ajax Team Analysis
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Ajax Team Analysis

09 May 2019 12:30:20
Ed001, now Ajax are out, fancy doing a team analysis on them? I'd be keen to get your thoughts as I've read some of your comments on them recently.
They looked severely jaded last night and seemed to crumble under the pressure. It's just a shame they will most likely be dismantled before having another crack.
On a side note, I also thought Spurs looked tired. LFC seem to be one of the fittest sides going and hopefully that coupled with our determination will be enough, though you can never be certain in a one off game. - stuie_boy

That is the message which sparked this article into being, so I hope this meets the requirements!

Ajax for me are a team that are much more than the sum of their parts. As individuals they are a decent team, but not at the level their performances in Europe would suggest. Partially it is down to finding players who fit the system they intend to play, ones that are not necessarily outstanding on their own, but slot right in to the Ajax way of playing.

Added to that there is the way of playing itself, they outwork the opposition most of the time, but they do lack fitness and tend to tire in the latter half of matches. As they did so badly against Tottenham Hotspur. That is their big weakness, that lack of stamina and basic fitness that cannot be put down to age, as their team is not a bunch of 17 year olds that have yet to develop stamina.

To me it suggests a problem with the training, which might be down to Ten Hag or his coaches or a combination of the two, but it is something they need to look at for the long term if they want to compete in European football. Outworking the opposition requires boundless energy and stamina, something they do not possess but they can develop it for the future, but they will need to work at it, which they do not seem to be doing.


24 - Andre Onana GK 23 years old Cameroon
Young, indecisive and inconsistent. An agile shotstopper but he is positionally suspect and really is not someone you would want to rely on. He does not look to have the potential to be top class in the future either.


4 - Matthijs de Ligt CB 19 years old Netherlands (c)
One of the most highly rated youngsters around at the moment, though he does not live up to the hype in my opinion. He lacks pace, which is a problem when a team wants to press high, it does leave a big gap behind, which is not helped by his turning circle, which is not the best either. Added to that he lacks positional sense. He is strong, decent in the tackle, ok in the air and excellent on the ball, but his defending leaves a lot to be desired. De Ligt will need to make rapid improvement if he does move on, as Davinson Sanchez showed, being good in the Eredivisie is no real indicator of quality.


17 - Daley Blind CB 29 years old Netherlands
Another one who is a better player than he is a defender. He has improved in recent years but he is still too slow, still struggles positionally and still lacks strength and height. The fact that he looks an excellent player in the Eredivisie shows just how difficult it is to judge de Ligt.


31 - Nicolas Tagliafico LB 26 years old Argentina
I remain utterly unconvinced of the Argentine. He is very average going forward and much the same defensively. Weak in the challenge and slow to get back at times. He is one that could easily be improved on.


12 - Noussair Mazraoui RB 21 years old Morocco
A player I do actually rate, he is a very exciting attacking full-back with good delivery and pace. Unfortunately, as is the same for all modern full-backs, his defending leaves a lot to be desired.


3 - Joel Veltman RB 27 years old Netherlands
The back up to Mazraoui is just very much less than the player he backs up. He does also offer cover for the centre backs as well but is a major downgrade as he is simply not that good. A useful utility back up but nothing more.


20 - Lasse Schone CM 32 years old Denmark
Decent passer of the ball who controls the play well in a lesser league like the Eredivisie. At the very top end he is not quite good enough to do so. Lacks pace and that really top class vision he needs to play at a better level.


21 - Frenkie de Jong CM 21 years old Netherlands
Looks a very good player in the Eredivisie but has very rarely stood out to me as someone right for Barcelona. He will need to raise his game a lot, which is perfectly possible at his age, to make the grade there. It might well be that he is more suited to the centre back role in their team, a position he can play, due to his ability on the ball.


6 - Donny van de Beek AM 22 years old Netherlands
For me, he just does not offer enough quality on the ball at the highest level. Good movement, but not quite good enough, decent link up play, good workrate, lacks a killer instinct in my opinion. He is just a nearly player who needs to play with and against better players on a regular basis if he is to become top class.


10 - Dusan Tadic LW/RW/F9 30 years old Serbian
It did not work out for him at Southampton, but his spell at Ajax has, after initial teething troubles. He has shown the quality that made him a cult hero on the South Coast of England, while also showing workrate and linking the play, usually from a new role as a 'false 9'. He is not quite top class and that showed in Europe where he was never able to dominate a game.


22 - Hakim Ziyech RW 26 years old Morocco
Very skilful but has a bit of an attitude which led to him falling out over his role when Tadic arrived and the pair ended up in each other's space. He has pretty much been displaced by Neres since then, which is no surprise as he is very inconsistent.


7 - David Neres RW 22 years old Brazil
Incredibly skilful and pacey but lightweight. Works hard, causes mayhem on the wing but does lack a little in the defensive third. He clearly has enormous potential as an attacker, but he does need to work on end product and his contribution to the defence.


32 - Kasper Dolberg ST 21 years old Denmark
Dolberg came in as a future star but is right now a flop. Offered little and looks out of his depth in the Ajax team, hence Tadic playing up front in his place.


9 - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar ST 35 years old Netherlands
Just an impact sub to hold up the ball and use his experience to see out matches.


Unfortunately this team is going to be broken up a year too soon (at least) due to its over achievements in the Champions League. The youngsters really need another year at the club to develop their game, rather than heading off where they will be expected to be the finished article at the price they are going to cost. At least Ajax will have the money to invest in quality for the squad, but it is difficult to see them attracting replacements of the same level.

Probably most important of all is going to be Ten Hag and whether he stays or goes. If he stays, then they have a chance of once more over achieving and competing in Europe.

Written by Tris Burke May 20 2019 17:34:42


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