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  1. January 2026 The first good news to start the new year with - our youth facilities were finally upgraded. We now boast State of the Art youth facilities and that’s fitting for the club who relies heavily on our own youth intakes. Things are often in balance, though. It was just when I was starting to enjoy our clean bill of health, but bad news started to arrive after New Year. Perr Schuurs was struck down with a virus and although it looked worse than a little cold, I’m still hopeful that he’d make it to our first competitive game. It was much worse with Tim Brown - he had just recovered from his knee ligament injury when a rough challenge in training ended with the worst possible result - the dreaded cruciate ligament injury that finished his season early. The best case scenario is that he’ll be back in action in August or even September. That’s a bummer and it probably means we need to think about promoting somebody from our U-19 team to fill the ranks. We don’t have any proper DLPd besides Youri Regeer and no central midfielder on loan that we could recall. Next player in trouble was Joel Veltman - he too recovered from injury, played two friendly games in January and then suffered another setback - groin strain will keep him out for around 3-4 weeks. And right before our season continued, the worst possible happened - Gürcan Dere had some problems and physios indicated he should take around 3-4 weeks to recover from abdominal strain. What a bummer - my first goalkeeper out for a month. Dani van den Heuvel will get some big games for himself. Eredivisie clubs kept themselves active in the job market and Feyenoord made a decision to hire sc Heerenveen’s Mark van Bommel as their new manager. Good decision for them, but unfortunate for Heerenveen. van Bommel did well to take them to the next level and he’s difficult to replace in the club like sc Heerenveen, but they didn’t waste any time and approached Willem II’s Ruud Kaiser in January and reached an agreement quickly enough. Finally, Pavel Vrba, who was sacked by FC Groningen in November, was appointed as the new Willem II manager. And when the job market was busy, so was the transfer market. We enjoyed a relatively quiet Summer and kept all of our first team players, but the January transfer window tried to make up for that. Perr Schuurs caught the interest of Tottenham and he left for England for £50m. A good money and I have no regrets - Schuurs was a team leader, but his balanced character has little mentoring value and at 26 years of age, it was time for him to go. Kik Taylor looks promising and might soon take over his position in the first team. Donny van de Beek was the second player to leave and this decision was made with a heavy heart - Manchester City swooped by and offered £66m for him and although I’d loved to see him in the team because of his leadership and character, I couldn’t deny him the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. van de Beek left after our game with FC Emmen. That departure was even more difficult to replace as Tim Brown suffered his injury and our midfield got dangerously thin before we faced the second half of the season. 22.01.2026 - AFC Ajax - SC Telstar 4:1 (TOTO KNVB Beker 3rd round) - 12. pen. Youri Regeer, 69. Remy Boer, 71. Kik Taylor, 82. Vincent Claes - 64. Arie Tol Telstar is the smallest, and weakest club in the league and I had no doubts that we will beat them in the cup game. We had injuries coming to this game - Gürcan Dere, Perr Schuurs, Tim Brown and Joel Veltman were out - but it was a good chance to give youngsters an opportunity and so Kik Taylor started in defense. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Taylor, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Regeer (69. van de Beek), Sangare-Aka, Hansen (71. Silveira), Fitz-Jim, Boer, Enem (71. Claes) We got an early lead and it came after a dubious penalty decision. Remy Boer was tackled in the box and honestly, out of nowhere a penalty was rewarded and VAR didn’t change that decision. Youri Regeer converted from the spot and that gave us the lead at half-time. Apart from the penalty we didn’t have too many clear chances in the first half. It looked like our attack was a little bit rusty after the Winter break and we needed some game time to get ourselves going again. The second half offered more action. At first we missed two great chances. Remy Boer found Sontje Hansen with a cross in 57’ and the winger’s header from point blank range should have landed in the goal, but instead it scraped the crossbar and went over. Jay Enem had an easy chance some minutes later and he blew it, and then Telstar had their only moment of the game - Arie Tol had some space on a counter and his finish from the edge of the area was way too good for any goalkeeper to do anything about it. It was 1:1 with less than 30 minutes to go. We had to pick ourselves up and find some goals and we managed to do that convincingly and quickly enough. We carved Telstar’s defense open in 69’ and the ball got to Remy Boer, who headed it in from a point blank range. Two minutes later Kik Taylor extended our lead from a corner and substitute Vincent Claes completed the rout with his goal in 82’. An emphatic 4:1 win in the end and we move forward into the quarter finals. our shooting was 24/13 in this game we created 3 clear cut chances we made 34 dribbles in this game - clearly superior technical ability over Telstar players who made 28 fouls against us Vincent Claes scored his first ever goal for Ajax Player of the game: Remy Boer - another excellent performance from the wonderkid, who scored a goal, earned a penalty and was always active in attack 25.01.2026 - AFC Ajax - FC Emmen 3:0 (ED) - 7. Rio Hillen, 43. pen. Youri Regeer, 66. Kik Braspenning Back to our Eredivisie campaign. We have all home games in January, no need to travel. That’s nice. Next up we host FC Emmen and their new manager Jurgen Dirkx who, by the way, took time in his press conference to criticize Ajax for (and I quote) - ‘lack of directness’. Well, let’s see what he thinks after leaving Johan Cruijff Arena this afternoon. We have some players absent for this game - Tim Brown and Gürcan Dere are out, Joel Veltman is close to full fitness (but not ready to start) and Jay Enem pulled his thigh muscle in training after the Telstar match, so he too will sit this one out (although his form has been rubbish lately anyway). It is probably the last game that Donny van de Beek will play for the club, so he will start in front of the home crowd. But the squad is getting quite thin and I have only seven substitutions for that game - including youngsters Kik Taylor, Vincent Claes and Tiago Silveira. Not a lot of options to change things when we need to. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Hillen, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (66. Douglas), Regeer (66. Sangare-Aka), van de Beek, Hansen, Fitz-Jim (66. Karahasanovic), Boer, Braspenning FC Emmen surprised us in 3’ when Runar Espejord was left completely unmarked in the box and his header landed against the crossbar. Despite that little mistake, we quickly took control of the game. FC Emmen’s tactical plan was way too defensive and their cautious 4-2-3-1 Wide formation was perhaps good enough to limit our space in attack, but didn’t protect them in set piece situations and we got way too many. In 7’ we had a corner and FC Emmen players made the worst possible mistake, allowing the ball to land in the area and Rio Hillen was at the back post to finish it from the bounce. We had full control of the game and were unlucky not to score more goals. Remy Boer hit the post from a narrow angle in 18’ and Donny van de Beek denied a great goal when his attempt from 20 meters bounced back from the woodwork. van de Beek looked highly motivated to score in his last game for the club - his fine header in 31’ was turned away by Michael Woud. While we couldn’t find the second goal from open play, we still had set pieces - Youri Regeer was pushed in the box and he converted from the spot to give us a two goal lead at the half time. The second half continued in the same fashion, even though we didn’t pressure the FC Emmen goal with as many attempts. Kik Braspenning scored our third goal after another assist from Donny van de Beek and the final score was a convincing 3:0. It was a fairly one-sided match and we never looked in trouble. we had 66% possession in this game we created 3 clear cut chances and didn’t allow FC Emmen to create any decent opportunities Youri Regeer made his 100th career league appearance for Ajax Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - the midfielder had an outstanding game, initiating attacks, created two goals and gave 7 key passes 30.01.2026 - AFC Ajax - AZ Alkmaar 3:1 (ED) - 19. Sontje Hansen, 21. Remy Boer, 88. Jay Enem - 1. Ferdi Kadioglu Well, as I predicted, Donny van de Beek’s transfer went through right before the Noord-Hollandse derby with AZ Alkmaar. It’s the most difficult game in January, partly because AZ looks incredibly strong, but also they’re our closest challengers now that PSV Eindhoven, Sparta Rotterdam and FC Utrecht have all failed to keep up the pace one after another. The club and Luka Modric’s style hasn’t changed much over the Winter break - no incoming transfers and I know what to expect. The fact that we lost the away game speaks for itself and the players don’t need any extra motivation - the opportunity to prove ourselves and take revenge is enough. Our squad is definitely weakened by van de Beek’s departure. There’s a shift in leadership, too - Youri Regeer replaced Donny van de Beek as our vice-captain and there’s new dynamics in the squad after two leaders departed. Injuries still play their part - Gürcan Dere and Jay Enem are close to full fitness, but not just yet. Joel Veltman is ready for the game, but starts from the bench. I didn’t want to make too many changes in our line-up, so we continue to play with Hillen and Lopes in central defense and Ismael Sangare-Aka will take van de Beek’s position as BBMs. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Hillen, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (63. Douglas), Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Hansen, Fitz-Jim (83. Karahasanovic), Boer, Braspenning (79. Enem) The match began with a cold shower - AZ Alkmaar scored in their first attack. Steven van der Sloot missed his interception on the right wing and Anass Salah-Eddine lost the header to Ferdi Kadioglu and it was 0:1 when only 20 seconds were on the game clock. I was stunned. Didn’t expect it to start like this, but to give credit to the players we composed ourselves fairly quickly. In the first 10-15 minutes it was clear that the game was slowly, but surely continuing under our control and most of the shots were directed on AZ Alkmaar’s goal. In 19’ skipped past the defender and finished his move with a nicely placed shot to the far post - a lovely goal by the right winger. Two minutes later he found Remy Boer with a pass and it was 2:1. AZ’s goalkeeper Mees Bakker got his hand to Boer’s shot, but not enough to save it and so we took the lead. When Kik Braspenning headed against the crossbar in 27’ it looked like AZ were in trouble already. Braspenning should have scored in 41’ but sent his shot wide and at the half-time we held a narrow lead. It was just 2:1, but considering what was going on we were fairly comfortable and AZ had every reason to be worried before the second half. The second half was fairly quiet in terms of chances, but we always looked more comfortable in possession and had control over the game. And with the game nearing to end, AZ needed to take more risks and we found more space behind their defensive line. Sontje Hansen had a couple of good attempts, but wasn’t able to double his tally. In the end it was substitute Jay Enem who headed in the late goal and buried the game (cross came from another substitute Terrence Douglas). AZ tried until the end - Bruma’s ambitious attempt from some distance was denied by the woodwork - but without much success. The final score 3:1 was a pretty good result for us and I’m happy with that and the effort and determination that we showed to come back after conceding an early goal. Well done. our shooting was 29/13 in this game we made only 7 key passes, but 32 dribbles in this game we didn’t allow AZ to create any real chances - they can threat from every situation, but in terms of organization our defense looked good enough Jay Enem scored his 10th goal of the season and it also marked his 50th goal for Ajax Player of the game: Sontje Hansen - an outstanding game from the right winger, scored a goal, delivered an assist, was active in attack through the whole 90 minutes and made 9 dribbles in this game Summary Smooth sailing so far for us. The other contenders have all failed in at least a few games, but our winning streak that started in December continues and that has given us a healthy lead in the table. Winning a derby game over AZ Alkmaar was important and there’s a feeling that we’re really difficult to beat at the moment. Eredivisie
  2. December 2025 03.12.2025 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 3:0 (ED) - 45., 81. and 89. Remy Boer Two very important fixtures in Eredivisie to start our December with, and the first one of those is the home game against sc Heerenveen. Heerenveen is a difficult opponent to every team, but few injuries in their squad make our job a little bit easier, at least I hope so. We have our own injury problems, too - Jay Enem is back in full fitness, but Youri Regeer is out and Joel Veltman twisted his ankle in training and he’ll be sidelined for a month, so that’s bad news for us. sc Heerenveen begin with a 4-2-3-1 formation with two DMCs (again, a difficult defensive block to break down) and their danger maen is Jay-Roy Grot who plays in AML position, but is way taller and better in the air than Steven van der Sloot will ever be, so we have to do our best to close down all crosses from the left and hope that van der Sloot can win as many duels as possible. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (67. Douglas), Brown, van de Beek (81. Sangare-Aka), Hansen, Fitz-Jim, Boer, Enem (67. Braspenning) We looked like the better team in the first half. We had a slight initiative, several shots on target and looked good in defense, but couldn’t create any clear goal scoring opportunities. Both teams had underlying nervousness in their game and no wonder it wasn’t the best level of attacking football. We took the lead in the very end of the first half, though - Sontje Hansen found Remy Boer at the far post with a good cross and the youngster headed it in to send us into the half-time with a dressing room goal - well done. Excellent time to score and that made my team talk much easier inside. The second half continued in the same fashion - a 1:0 lead is always a fragile one, but sc Heerenveen couldn’t create too dangerous moments in our box and when they finally started to take more risks, the space began to open up for us. Donny van de Beek delivered a great forward pass to Kik Braspenning in 77’, but the shot was saved and then hacked away from the line by Joshua Brenet. The second, decisive goal came soon enough, though. Terrence Douglas passed it to Remy Boer in the box and the left winger fired it with a great strike to double his tally and our lead with it. Boer completed his hat-trick before the final whistle, with another great shot from a narrow angle that went in off the bar. sc Heerenveen looked undone and the final score 3:0 was better than I expected before the match, even though the game itself didn’t go as smoothly for us. Still, I was happy with the result and especially Remy Boer’s contribution. our shooting was 19/13 in this game - good accuracy Player of the game: Remy Boer - just outstanding game from him again, wonderful goals to complete his hat-trick 07.12.2025 - AFC Ajax - PSV Eindhoven 2:0 (ED) - 5. Remy Boer, 23. Perr Schuurs I think that game can be described as the title six-pointer, despite the fact that it isn’t a two-horse race in this season and we have more contenders, but PSV have been right up there since August and should be considered a threat. Perhaps it plays to their advantage, that their poor season (just 6th place in 2024/2025) don’t allow them to play continental football and they can concentrate on the Eredivisie. Fighting on two fronts seems to hinder Feyenoord, for example. The PSV squad hasn’t changed much over summer, but their longtime goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall has been forced to the backup role and youngster Aron van Lare has started all of the games in this season. In my eyes that’s their weakness, because at 35 Unnerstall’s ability and experience still exceeds van Lare’s. Another player we should be aware of is 19 years old wonderkid Kevin van den Broek - the winger is one of the most talented youngsters in Eredivisie at the moment and we have to turn him close attention in the game. We don’t have to change much compared to the sc Heerenveen match. Youri Regeer and Joel Veltman are still injured and our starting line-up remains the same. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (75. Douglas), Brown, van de Beek (69. Sangare-Aka), Hansen, Fitz-Jim, Boer, Enem (80. Braspenning) We were extremely motivated and concentrated on the game, but the same couldn’t be said aboud PSV Eindhoven players. How else would you explain that their defender fouled Sontje Hansen in the box on our very first attack and in the first minute we were awarded a penalty. Donny van de Beek stepped up to take it, but sent it straight into the middle of the goal and the ball was held by the goalkeeper. Held! I’ve never seen a penalty being held. Donny van de Beek was clearly embarrassed by that and determined to make amends. It didn’t take long before we took the lead - Hansen delivered a cross and Remy Boer headed in from the far post, continuing his fine goal scoring form into this game. Perr Schuurs doubled our lead with a header from IFK and Boer hit the post at the end of the first half. We had a good lead at half-time and were looking good on the pitch, too. I felt that PSV were too cautious - their 4-1-4-1 formation didn’t provide enough threat and they didn’t create anything dangerous in our area. We continued to control the game in the second period and again Remy Boer had the best chances to extend our lead. PSV’s Jorrit Hendrix tested Gürcan Dere before the final whistle, but the great save from our keeper kept our clean sheet and that was it. The final score wasn’t too impressive, but we didn’t give PSV Eindhoven any chances to get back into this game and I was thoroughly impressed by our performance. our shooting was 24/12 in this game we didn’t allow PSV Eindhoven to create any real chances Player of the game: Perr Schuurs - very good defensively and got himself to the score sheet we have now played 17 games in Eredivisie and collected 38 points - not exactly what we’re aiming for, but we’re still leading the table 10.12.2025 - AS Monaco - AFC Ajax 1:3 (Champions League Group H) - 36. Bernard Maurin - 16. Carlos Manuel Lopes, 47. Sontje Hansen, 81. Alen Karahasanovic We have won two really difficult games in December, but the schedule is tough and players don’t have too much time to recover. Our last Champions League game does not make any difference in the group and although I’d like to win every game, it’s perhaps best to rotate a little and give certain players some rest. Remy Boer is one of them, who has problems with recovering in three days and he’ll get a day off. Joel Veltman and Youri Regeer are still injured, so that limits my options further. I know that despite some flaws and weak positions in their squad, AS Monaco is still a formidable opponent and home advantage makes them even stronger, so we’ll use our Champions League balanced 4-2-3-1 Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (83. Douglas), Brown (61. Sangare-Aka), van de Beek, Hansen, Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim, Enem (70. Braspennning) Monaco welcomed us with heavy rain at the kick-off and we’re not known for playing well in bad conditions, but this time it didn’t seem to bother us at all. We quickly took control of the match and completely dominated in the first fifteen minutes - good with possession, good attacking football and some fairly dangerous attempts on target. We took the lead to wrap up this period - Carlos Manuel Lopes headed in from a corner and just a minute later Kian Fitz-Jim had an opportunity to double it, but the attempt was met with a fine save from the AS Monaco goalkeeper. In short, we were cruising. However, the game started to change then, along with the weather - the first warning was the chance for Wissam Ben Yedder in 32’ that was expertly dealt by Lopes, who was on time with his challenge in our box, but four minutes later we conceded an equalizer. Ben Yedder got away from Lopes, continued into the box and even though Gürcan Dere made a great save from one-on-one situation, Bernard Maurin slided himself into the situation to put the ball over the line. AS Monaco were suddenly in control of the game and their individual skills were also starting to become evident against our defenders. Alexandr Golovin dribbled into the box in 43’ and saw his shot being tipped over by Gürcan Dere and in injury time Maurin had another one-on-one opportunity after breaking our offside trap and Gürcan Dere stopped him with a brilliant save. It remained 1:1 at half-time, but AS Monaco had been so impressive in the last fifteen minutes that I felt lucky to go to dressing rooms at level. We reacted well and my half-time team talk perhaps had a little impact, but we restored our lead quickly after the second half kick-off. Donny van de Beek found Sontje Hansen with a great through ball and Hansen finished expertly with a placed shot. That unsettled AS Monaco a little and although the second half was fairly even as a whole, we did much better in preventing their attacks after the half-time and their first dangerous opportunity came when already 70’ were played. We didn’t get too many opportunities, either, and Jay Enem once again almost disappeared on the pitch. He came off and Kik Braspenning came on, to get a clear cut chance in 79’ - unfortunately, his attempt was parried wide by the great save of the goalkeeper. We scored our third goal two minutes later, though - excellent build-up from our right wing, several passes between van der Sloot, Hansen and van de Beek before Braspenning laid it to Karahasanovic with a lovely backheel pass and the Bosnian fired it in from 10 meters. That settled it. Sontje Hansen missed another clear cut chance in injury time, but the game was over with our third goal. Great result - in a very entertaining match. We saw attacking football from both teams, but we were a little bit more clinical with our moments and deserved to win. we had 60% possession in this game our shooting was 15/10 AS Monaco had 19/11 shots and they created 3 clear cut chances in the first half - enough nervous moments in defense for us Tim Brown came off with a knock in 60’ and he’ll be out for 3 weeks with pulled knee ligaments Player of the game: Alen Karahasanovic - a brilliant performance from the midfielder, scored a great goal, delivered assist to Lopes’ goal and created two best chances of the game for us Champions League Group H AFC Ajax 18 AS Monaco 7 CF Valencia 6 Hertha BSC 4 13.12.2025 - AFC Ajax - FC Twente Enschede 3:0 (ED) - 11. Remy Boer, 61. pen. Quincy Promes, 88. Alen Karahasanovic Well, this could be a tricky tie. It took us around 60 minutes to finally break FC Twente at Grolsch Veste and I expect them to defend deep and sit tight in Amsterdam, so it’s a question about finding space and creating chances once again. But the opponents are still without a manager after sacking Dan Petrescu in November, so it will be interesting to see how it affects the tactics and game plan in this match. We have to rotate again, because Tim Brown is added to the injury list and there are some tired legs in the squad after our midweek trip to Monaco. Ismael Sangare-Aka starts as a DLPd, Remy Brown is back in the line-up while Quincy Promes replaces Sontje Hansens (who has been in a good form, but his match load is starting to pile up). Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (67. Douglas), Sangare-Aka, van de Beek, Promes, Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (70. Braspenning) FC Twente got the best chance of the game early - eight minutes were played when Jeremy Helmer stepped past Perr Schuurs way too easily, cut into the box and had an open look on the goal, but Gürcan Dere made a fantastic save to deny him. That was a close call for us, but we reacted well and took over the game. Ismael Sangare-Aka sent a good header on target two minutes later and at 11’ Remy Boer gave us the lead with a wonderful volley. Quincy Promes delivered a deep cross to him and Boer showed once again his excellent finishing with the strike. We controlled most of the first half and could have scored more, but finishing let us down a little. Alen Karahasanovic found a great chance in transition, but his shot was held by the goalkeeper and we went to the half-time with a 1:0 lead. We continued to control the game in the second half. Boer and Karahasanovic had good attempts, but couldn’t find the target. Then Anass Salah-Eddine was fouled in the box and Promes converted the penalty. 2:0 looked like a good lead and FC Twente didn’t have any answers to that. Perr Schuurs was unlucky that his header hit the crossbar in 84’. Quincy Promes was in the middle of action in most situations - he delivered the ball to Schuurs and it was Promes who put the ball in front of Karahasanovic who fired in our third goal. Deserved win in the end and with a good performance, too. we somehow lost possession 45/55, but FC Twente didn’t make much with their performance our shooting was 22/10 in this game we created 3 clear cut chances Remy Boer scored his 10th goal of the season and Quincy Promes has now delivered 10 assists in this term Player of the game: Quincy Promes - a wonderful performance from the winger - he created most of the chances, delivered two assists and scored from the spot 16.12.2025 - AFC Ajax - Almere City 3:0 (TOT KNVB Beker 2nd round) - 20. pen. Donny van de Beek, 26. Kian Fitz-Jim, 86. Kik Taylor Going against the lower division club in the cup means that we can rotate (and have to anyway, because fatigue becomes a real problem with this kind of schedule). Dani van den Heuvel is getting his chance in goal and both Kik Taylor and Tiago Silveira are in the starting line-up for us. Almere City are currently 13th in Keuken Kampioen Divisie, so they shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, and with their best goalscorer injured, even less so. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Taylor, Hillen, Douglas, Sangare-Aka, van de Beek, Silveira, Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim, Braspenning (60. Claes) We had no troubles keeping control of the ball and the game overall, but new faces in the line-up meant that our attacking movement and understanding wasn’t as smooth as usual. Chances kept themselves waiting, but when the Almere City defender slid into Kian Fitz-Jim in the box, Donny van de Beek’s penalty gave us the lead. Fitz-Jim scored another goal soon after that - a beautiful strike from 15 meters - and that settled it. We had less pressure in the second half. Kik Braspenning worked hard to get his name on the score sheet, but his close range header was tipped over and a clear cut chance was well blocked by the defender, before he came off and Vincent Claes got his thirty minutes to impress. Almere City had their best moment in 70’ when their young winger Ted van Beek had an attempt from an angle and hit the post, but the rest of the game was pretty easy for us and Dani van den Heuvel didn’t have much to do. Our young defender Kik Taylor completed the rout with a header from corner late in the game and that was it - pretty routine win for us and I was happy enough with the result. we had 65% possession in this game Kik Taylor scored his first ever goal for Ajax Player of the game: Kian Fitz-Jim - scored a great goal, earned a penalty for us and was the best player in attack 21.12.2025 - Sparta Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 6. Calvin Verdonk (og), 85. and 90. Sontje Hansen We’ve gained control in the league table and are leading the title race, but few clubs can still challenge us and one of those clubs is Sparta Rotterdam. Their exciting squad has been just incredible over the first half of the season and they did beat us at Johan Cruijff Arena, so this game here at Het Kasteel is both the revenge match and a title six-pointer for us. However, Sparta looks significantly weakened, because two of their best wingers are out of this game - Ayodele Lauteria is suspended and Helgi Viktorsson injured. That’s a big blow for them, because depth is not their strength and star players are difficult to replace. We have our own injury problems - Youri Regeer, Joel Veltman and Tim Brown are all close to full fitness, but not yet - their return will be in the new year. Jay Enem injured himself in training (another calf strain) and he’ll be out as well. Perr Schuurs suffered a minor knock in training, but he’s likely to play through this. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (85. Douglas), Sangare-Aka, van de Beek, Hansen, Fitz-Jim, Boer (70. Karahasanovic), Braspenning (85. Claes) We had incredible luck on our side to take the lead early on. Steven van der Sloot delivered a cross from the right wing and Calvin Verdonk got his foot to it. The ball took a deflection and went towards the Sparta goal. Their goalkeeper Karol Niemczycki was slow to react, so the ball rolled over the line from the near post to give us the lead and Sparta’s game plan looked undone. They gathered their composure quickly enough and in 12’ found the first good opportunity themselves - their best striker Mohammed Tahiri had a close range attempt, but he was well marked by Carlos Manuel Lopes and the defender got his foot in to block it. Both teams defended well and looked very well organized - it reminded me of some games we have played against Feyenoord in history - both looking very calm and controlled without the ball and limiting chances and attempts. We switched back to a balanced 4-2-3-1 formation to avoid unnecessary risks and took notice of what Sparta attempted to change in their tactics to find an equalizer and get control over the midfield. We had the lead at half-time, but we failed to make a single shot on target in the first half - you could say that we didn’t deserve to lead, but despite the statistics we had some promising attempts and good attacks. We kept things well under control in the second half. Balanced mentality worked out well and Sparta’s switch to a more attacking mindset didn’t give them more chances. It took us a whole 77 minutes to get our first shot on target (sic!) but then Sparta started to take more risks, press higher and space opened up for us to take advantage of. Sontje Hansen doubled our lead in 85’ with a nice volley after Salah-Eddine found him at the far post with a cross and Hansen’s second goal from a corner wrapped it up for us. The final score looked impressive enough, but the game itself was an even battle and we weren’t always so comfortable. we had 67% possession in this game Gürcan Dere made his 100th league appearance for Ajax we allowed Sparta to make 24 dribbles in this game - a little too many Player of the game: Sontje Hansen - an outstanding game from the right winger, his brace secured all three points for us Summary December was the first month I was entirely happy with - there were some big games and we performed well in all of them, regardless of the opponents and the squad we fielded. Important wins over sc Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven and now Sparta increased our advantage in the table and put us in control of the title race. Our goal scoring has been consistent and we kept our clean sheet in most of the games. Confidence is high and when the players will get fit near Christmas, it will increase my selection options even further. If I had to give out the title for the player of the month it would be Remy Boer - he was outstanding against Heerenveen and PSV in the beginning of the month, was rested against AS Monaco, but returned with another goal against FC Twente. In every game he played he looked dangerous and clinical with his finishing. Great talent despite his young age. Patience is starting to run out faster than usual in Eredivisie and FC Groningen manager Pavel Vrba was sacked at the beginning of December. The club wasn’t doing that poorly and they were perhaps a little underachieving, but that was enough to trigger the sack and Vrba was replaced with NAC Breda’s Peter Hyballa. At the same time decisions were made about vacant posts. FC Emmen hired Jurgen Dirkx as their new manager in mid-December and Giovanni van Bronckhorst returned to Eredivisie to take charge of FC Twente. And while the next sacking threat hung over Vitor Pereira’s position, the Feyenoord manager decided to leave himself and accepted the offer from Sheffield United. I also had to deal with player contracts. Ismael Sangare-Aka signed a new £9,500 p/w deal until 2028, youngster Renato Molnar extended his contract for a couple of years. At the same time the decision was made about Youri Baas - despite his decent performances in Serie B his contract will run out in Summer and he won’t be getting a new one in Ajax - at 22 years old he should be better to play consistently for Ajax. Eredivisie We have opened up a gap in the table after defeating some challengers in December. It appears that AZ Alkmaar and FC Utrecht can get closer to us if they continue their good form. Feyenoord is still struggling and it’s interesting to see if the change in management helps them to challenge for the European places. Their Champions League campaign wasn’t a success story either - they finished 4th in the group with only one win from six games and so their continental season is over. At the bottom of the table Telstar have managed to get only four points before Christmas and that’s not good enough - they look relegated already.
  3. November 2025 02.11.2025 - AZ Alkmaar - AFC Ajax 1:0 (ED) - 76. Fedde de Jong We start the month with perhaps the most important and challenging game - away trip to Alkmaar. It’s fair to say that AZ is at the same level with the Eredivisie ‘big three’ and playing against them is really difficult. Yes - their season hasn’t started so well and they’re 7th in the table (perhaps because they replaced several first team players in Summer), but you have to take seriously the team that can make transfers for around £20-30m in one window and produces so talented youngsters at the same time - quality is not lacking, talent is definitely there and Luka Modric (despite his rather poor attributes on the screen) is doing OK job with them. I had fresh in my mind our defeat from AZ in an away game just a year ago - we had no answers to them then and our tactics just didn’t work. So this time I chose to be more careful and started with a balanced 4-2-3-1 that we usually exploit in the Champions League. Sontje Hansen and Steven van der Sloot are still injured, but the rest of the team is ready and I fielded my best eleven. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (84. Douglas), Regeer, van de Beek, Promes, Fitz-Jim (84. Karahasanovic), Boer, Enem (84. Braspenning) I suspected it would be a tough game and it really was a fairly even battle. We had a good second half, actually, and had two of the best chances in the first period. Kian Fitz-Jim and Remy Boer found Jay Enem with some good through balls, but the forward couldn’t finish them off. Top saves from the AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper, too - I have to give credit when it’s due, but in games like these, we have to finish the chances and be more clinical, because both teams defended well and overall number of attempts was low, so every shot counts and can make a difference. And that was proved in the second half - both teams defended well and looked well organized, but AZ Alkmaar built one good attack in 76’ and Fedde de Jong was left unmarked in our box - just a half-chance for the AZ winger, but that was enough to make it 1:0. I switched to attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, but that didn’t matter - AZ held onto the lead and we had to return to Amsterdam with a frustrating defeat. I was disappointed, because over the two periods I felt that we looked like the better team. At least we created better chances and had some initiative in the game, but couldn’t even get a single point for the effort. Sometimes those close games come our way and sometimes they don’t. This was one of the latter ones. we had 61% possession, but couldn’t make it count today we made 23 individual mistakes in the game and allowed 21 dibbles - areas for improvement, surely Player of the game: Youri Regeer - solid midfield performance, gave 4 key passes in that game 05.11.2025 - AFC Ajax - CF Valencia 2:0 (Champions League Group Stage) - 1. Donny van de Beek, 8. Remy Boer We can approach that game without too much pressure - we have a home advantage and 9 points in the table. Just one more point is enough to secure our qualification from the group. Valencia looks just as much in trouble than they did after we beat them 5:0 in Spain - they’ve retained Antonio Conte as their manager (surprising, because the results have been continuously poor), they miss two defenders because of suspensions and we’re clear favourites for the home game. Let’s hope that we can continue to build upon their misery and win this one as well. Both Sontje Hansen and Steven van der Sloot are close to full fitness, but we’ll do without them in this game. Anass Salah-Eddine suffered a minor knock in the AZ game and he’ll miss this one, too. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Douglas, Regeer (75. Brown), van de Beek, Promes, Fitz-Jim, Boer (75. Karahasanovic), Enem (46. Braspenning) Well, that was quick! In the very first attack Donny van de Beek smashed it into the net from 23 meters to give us the lead and soon after that Remy Boer headed in from a corner to make it 2:0. CF Valencia didn’t seem to put up a fight after that and we didn’t have much more to do than just control proceedings, possession and keep things tight in defense. We did that expertly and except a couple of half-chances in the first half the rest of the game was rather uneventful. Jay Enem had to come off at half time with a knock - it didn’t look too troublesome at first, but after the game our physios let me know that it’s much more serious than anticipated. That’s the only sour part of the game. we didn’t allow CF Valencia to create any real chances in this game; in fact, they only had one attempt in those 90 minutes of football and none on target Jay Enem suffered a calf strain (shortly after his previous calf injury) and he’ll be out for a month - that’s a bummer we’ve gathered 12 points from 4 games and secured the first place in our group Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - wonderful goal from the midfielder to kickstart this game 09.11.2025 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 2:0 (ED) - 41. Kik Braspenning, 69. Quincy Promes VVV Venlo was the surprise package of the last season with their 3rd place, but things haven’t worked out so well for them in this year and they find themselves dangerously close to relegation battle after the first couple of months. The loanees from their parent club, West Ham United, haven’t worked out so well this time either, so there’s some work to do for them and we’re clear favourites for the game, even though we have several players missing - Jay Enem and Sontje Hansen are injured, Carlos Manuel Lopes suspended. Squad: Dere, Veltman (73. van der Sloot), Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek (76. Sangare-Aka), Promes, Fitz-Jim (69. Karahasanovic), Boer, Braspenning We had several good opportunities in the first fifteen minutes - Remy Boer had a clear cut chance in 5’ that was saved. Kik Braspenning saw his free header being held by the goalkeeper and Quincy Promes sent a fierce shot on target. That initial period of dominance ended with VVV’s Michael Vlap who won a header after their free kick and sent it against our crossbar from close range - that was almost a goal. A clear sign for us to maintain our concentration and take our chances better. We finally took the lead at the end of the first half. Remy Boer found Braspenning with a cutback cross and the forward finished it well. Braspenning had another great chance in the first half injury time, but that was saved. At the half-time we had a deserved lead, because we’d created better chances and dominated the game, but the finishing could have been much better and we needed to be careful with those set pieces. I knew that we needed to score the second goal to finish this game off and we got that in 69’. The second half didn’t offer too many easy chances, but we didn’t need them, because Quincy Promes just took the ball and fired it in from 23 meters. A wonderful goal from the winger and that settled it. That 2:0 win looked solid enough, considering the players that we missed, and I was satisfied with the outcome. our shooting was 18/10 in this game Player of the game: Quincy Promes - brilliant strike from 23 meters and created good chances for others 22.11.2025 - NAC Breda - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 17. and 87. Kik Braspenning, 90.+2 Donny van de Beek Another international window behind us and we’re back in Eredivisie action. NAC Breda is another newly-promoted team and they actually look good enough to remain in Eredivisie compared to some smaller teams. They were promoted two seasons ago, then dropped back to Eerste Divisie and here they are again - that signals their desire to develop as a club and fight for their place against every opponent. What characterizes their team is a number of exceptionally quick players, so we have to defend well against pace and counter-attacks. We still miss some players due to injuries - Sontje Hansen is close to returning along with Jay Enem, but we have to play this one without them. Anass Salah-Eddine suffered a minor knock in training just a couple of days ago and has to miss this game, too. Remy Boer looks exhausted after international games and it’s better to give him some rest. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes (85. Hillen), Douglas, Regeer (71. Brown), van de Beek, Promes, Karahasanovic (77. Sangare-Aka), Fitz-Jim, Braspenning It was a drab match in rainy weather. We had just one good moment in the first half and that was good enough to take the lead - Kian Fitz-Jim found Kik Braspenning with a lovely ball and the striker executed well from his one-on-one situation. The rest of the game was uneventful and for a period in the second half NAC tried harder to find an equalizer, so we switched back to balacned 4-2-3-1 and kept things in order defensively. Real chances were rare after the break, too, but Braspenning secured our three points with a wonderful free kick a little before the final whistle and in injury time van de Beek scored an incredible solo goal - he took the ball from midfield and just dribbled it into the NAC box from between defenders and finished from close range. The final score looked very good, but the performance was rather unimpressive. Either way I have to be happy with 3:0 from the away game. we had 61% possession in this game, but made only 8 key passes we didn’t allow NAC to create any real chances in this game Player of the game: Kik Braspenning - two goals, a brilliant free kick and an assist - just outstanding from him tonight 25.11.2025 - AFC Ajax - Hertha BSC 2:0 (Champions League Group H) - 19. Donny van de Beek, 39. Kik Braspenning Positives first - we don’t need to travel for this game and we can approach it without significant pressure. It’s a rare occasion when the result doesn’t matter in a Champions League game, because we have never secured our qualification from the group stage before the final match day. Negative part is that around international windows our schedule is quite packed and here’s another week with only three games between fixtures. Physical fitness and recovery plays a significant role in my team selection decisions - a couple of players look just too tired to start and both Steven van der Sloot and Carlos Manuel Lopes look outright exhausted. Terrence Douglas has a tight muscle from training and it’s better to give him a day off, too. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Regeer (67. Brown), van de Beek (69. Sangare-Aka), Promes, Fitz-Jim (80. Karahasanovic), Boer, Braspenning Hertha started with a cautious 5-4-1 formation and although our tactics weren’t the most attacking, we controlled midfield comfortably. Hertha’s five defenders crowded their area and there wasn’t much space to be found - we tried some long shots, but chances were rare in the first half until Donny van de Beek broke the deadlock with another brilliant strike from outside of the box. He’s been outstanding this season, scoring beautiful goals from all kinds of positions and this time he drilled a low drive from 23 meters into the bottom corner. No wonder that big European clubs have started to take notice of his form. Our second good moment of the first half came in 39’ - Remy Boer tried his luck from angle, his shot was saved, but perhaps because it had started to rain and the ball got wet or the attempt was just too difficult to handle for the goalkeeper, it deflected right onto the foot of Kik Braspenning, who scored with a simple finish to make it 2:0 at half time. I was very happy with our first half performance and it looked like Hertha had no desire to fight for the come-back in the second half. The second period offered less action - we remained in control of possession and looked comfortable defensively. I replaced both midfielders and our chances dried up, but we were never in trouble and held onto our lead until the final whistle. Excellent result once again and we continue our winning streak in the Champions League. we had 64% possession in this game our shooting was 28/12, but 16 attempts came from outside of the box we made only 8 key passes in this game we didn’t allow Hertha BSC to create any real opportunities in attack we’ve now won 5 games in our group - the only team in this season to win five in the Champions League and also the only team not to concede a single goal in five games Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - another brilliant goal from the midfielder to lead us to victory 30.11.2025 - FC Groningen - AFC Ajax 1:1 (ED) - 88. Zico Buurmeester - 16. Kian Fitz-Jim To wrap our month up we travel to Groningen. FC Groningen has been one of the underrated teams in Eredivisie in recent seasons, but I have doubts over their transfer decisions this Summer. They cashed in over £33m for their players, but spent £20m for players of questionable quality, so I’m afraid that they’re one of the teams that have become weaker over Summer and a top five finish could be too big a task this year. They still have a talented striker in Aron Schrijver - we have to be aware of his quality and play smart football in the away game to limit their chances. My own squad struggles with fatigue and injuries start to creep in, too. Sontje Hansen has returned to full fitness (very happy with that, because Quincy Promes has carried a lot of load in recent games), Jay Enem is not yet ready to play and Youri Regeer picked up a hamstring strain in training and he’ll be out for at least 2-4 weeks. Remy Boer needs a rest, because match load is getting to him and that limits my options. Squad: Dere, Veltman (83. van der Sloot), Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (77. Douglas), Brown, van de Beek, Promes (66. Hansen), Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim, Braspenning It was a fairly even game, but both teams were cautious with the tactics. FC Groningen even more than us - their 4-2-1-3 DM with two defensive midfielders packed their box and we couldn’t find enough space to turn our possession into chances. We took the lead from a corner - Kian Fitz-Jim did well to win the header and send it into the net - but the first half lead wasn’t enough to take all three points. FC Groningen had a couple of half-chances in the second half and they eventually found an equalizer in 88’ - Sontje Hansen lost a header in our box and although initial shot was blocked by defenders, Zico Buurmeester was first to get to the ball and finished from close range to steal the point for Groningen. It was a difficult game for us and the draw was probably a fair result for both teams, but to concede a late equalizer like that is obviously frustrating. I knew that it was a tricky away game and we missed some first team players, but we have to be better than that. we had 64% possession in this game both teams had 9/3 shooting - very low number of attempts and even lower number of chances Player of the game: Zico Buurmeester (FC Groningen) - his equalizer rescued FC Groningen a point Summary Some good results, but some poor games as well. We didn’t play very poorly in any of the games, but lost valuable points and I’m not sure how much further we can afford to do that. Our Champions League fairy tale continues, but that hasn’t helped us in Eredivisie. The first sackings of the season took place in November with Sjoerd Ultee departing FC Emmen and FC Twente board fired Dan Petrescu - both clubs have had a poor first half of the season and linger dangerously close to relegation zone. Expectations of mid-table finish do not appear to materialize with the form they’ve been showing so far and it’s probably better to change horses sooner rather than later. Eredivisie At least six clubs are still in the title race - AZ Alkmaar have climbed up from the middle of the table and have a chance to overtake us when they win their next game. PSV Eindhoven have shown inconsistency in their form and Sparta Rotterdam have had an incredible November - they have a real shot at the title this season with their young and talented team.
  4. October 2025 04.10.2025 - AFC Ajax - Helmond Sport 3:1 (ED) - 5. pen. Youri Regeer, 45.+1 Remy Boer, 53. Ismael Sangare-Aka - 49. Bassala Sambou Helmond Sport is the new club in Eredivisie - they haven’t played in the top tier for more than 20 years and now they’re bound to fight against relegation. They started their campaign with a win over Heracles, but that has remained their only win so far - five defeats and two draws in the next seven games indicate trouble for them. Their squad doesn’t look like much and as a result I’m bold enough to rotate the team in our home game against them. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Douglas, Regeer (54. Brown), Sangare-Aka, Hansen, Karahasanovic, Boer, Braspenning (74. Claes) We went off with a flyer and to be honest - didn’t have to do too much to score our first goal. In a seemingly innocent situation Sontje Hansen was pushed in Helmond’s box and the penalty was awarded. Youri Regeer has been fairly good converting them in recent weeks and so he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and scored his fifth goal of the season. The rest of the first half continued under our control, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of chances (or lack thereof) that we created - having the ball and getting some shots on target here and there just wasn’t enough. And with the first half nearing to end, we were almost punished - Rio Hillen forgot to watch Helmond’s Bassala Sambou and he received the cross while being unmarked in front of our goal. Excellent reaction save from Dani van den Heuvel saved us. We dealt with the following corner and initiated the counter-attack that led to our second goal - Hansen laid the ball well to Remy Boer, who went one-on-one against the goalkeeper and finished with a fine strike. Helmond’s manager can rue the missed chance but that’s football - if you don’t take your opportunities, you often concede in the next moment. We had a rather comfortable 2:0 lead at the half-time and that looked solid enough. Despite our lead, we started the second half poorly - Bassala Sambou showed his speed and skills on the counter-attack, darting away from Rio Hillen and finding enough space to show his speed against Perr Schuurs. When he finally reached our box it was a solid finish from a clear cut chance that summed up his solo run. 1:2 with less than five minutes spent from the second half. It has to be said that we reacted well - soon enough Ismael Sangare Aka delivered a great strike into the bottom corner from 21 meters to make it 3:1 and put the result beyond doubt. Another great goal in this game - perhaps the positioning of the goalkeeper was a little bit off, but that doesn’t matter. The rest of the second half was rather uneventful and we couldn’t score more goals. The final score looks solid enough, but there’s plenty of room for improvement in our performance - to concede two clear cut chances to a club like Helmond Sport is not acceptable in my eyes. we had 67% possession in this game our shooting was 27/16 Vincent Claes made his league debut for Ajax in the second half Player of the game: Remy Boer - he scored a great goal, made key passes and 9 dribbles - outstanding attacking performance from the left winger 18.10.2025 - AFC Ajax - Sparta Rotterdam 0:1 (ED) - 37. Mohammed Tahiri Sparta is one of the most exciting teams in Eredivisie - they’ve produced a number of talented youngsters in every part of the team - Ayodele Leuteria, Jairo Simons, Rodney de Jong could be good enough to play for Ajax and attract the attention of bigger clubs already. Their problem is inconsistency and because of that they’ve finished in the middle of the table, but on a good day they can beat any team in the league, so we have to be prepared and ready for them. Good news is that Jay Enem is fit again after recovering from his calf injury. Our team selection is affected by the international window - some of the players played several games for their national teams and returned a little bit tired. It’s better to give them a day off, because I might need them for the next Champions League game in midweek. Anass Salah-Eddine made his debut for the Holland national team and came back happy and motivated - hopefully it shows in his performances for the club. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Douglas, Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen (53. Promes), Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim (46. Boer), Enem (75. Braspenning) The first half was extremely disappointing. We couldn’t create anything in attack and despite our possession it was Sparta who created the most dangerous chances of the first period. In 11’ Helgi Viktorsson skipped past Joel Veltman way too easily and had a good look on goal. Gürcan Dere made a good save to tip it over the bar and saved us there, but in 37’ Sparta took the lead - Mohammed Tahiri was left alone at the far post in a free kick situation. His first attempt was saved, but the rebound fell to him, too and there it was - 0:1 at the half time. Sparta used their set piece moment well and our inability to create chances was just frustrating. I switched to an attacking 4-2-3-1 for the second half, but that didn’t make our attack any better. Sontje Hansen’s injury in 53’ disrupted our rhythm further and the final result remained 0:1. What’s the most disappointing about this defeat is the fact that it looked like a tactical failure - Sparta had a clear plan for the away game and they played it out perfectly while we failed to create chances and couldn’t react to their goal. When I’m personally to blame, it always hurts a little more. Not the way we wanted to restart our campaign after the international window. we had 60% possession, but that didn’t count for much tonight Sontje Hansen will be out for 4-5 weeks with a twisted ankle Player of the game: Micky van de Ven - good game from the Sparta centre-back 21.10.2025 - CF Valencia - AFC Ajax 0:5 (Champions League Group H) - 11 .Youri Regeer, 23. Remy Boer, 50. Jay Enem 73. Perr Schuurs, 77. pen. Quincy Promes Another failure to secure the win has affected our morale and I have to be more cautious with my team talks in our Champions League game. Don’t want the team to get too nervous and apprehensive under pressure. CF Valencia is a solid opponent - on paper they’re the best team in the group, but their form has been even worse than ours - three defeats in a row, including the injury time goal from Hertha in their previous Champions League game. They’re 15th in the table in La Liga and it’s fair to say that their manager Antonio Conte is under some pressure at the moment. I resumed our balanced 4-2-3-1 with Champions League tweaks - it’s an away game, after all. We miss Sontje Hansen for some time now, so Quincy Promes returns to AMR position and Terrence Douglas makes room for Salah-Eddine in DL Lopes looked just tired, so Hillen got his chance to impress at this level. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Regeer (74. Brown), van de Beek (71. Sangare-Aka), Promes, Fitz-Jim, Boer, Enem (71. Braspenning) Valencia started well and looked good in the first ten minutes. Their forward Son Heung-Min (yes, he plays for Valencia now!) had a good attempt on target in 9’ that required a good save from Gürcan Dere, but two minutes later we took the lead. Youri Regeer was left unmarked in a free kick situation and he scored with a nice volley from the far post. Remy Boer doubled our lead in 23’ with a close range header and that gave us a 2:0 lead at the half time. We had looked like a slightly better team in the first half and had two goals to show for it. Quincy Promes had a good game so far - his crosses and passes opened up space and created chances for others. Valencia now had to change something in the second half and they came back from the dressing room with a much more attacking mentality, but that backfired instantly. We had a good counter-attack in the 50’ and Jay Enem scored with an excellent volley to make it 3:0. Valencia players started to get more and more frustrated and in 69’ Jose Gaya was sent off for his two-footed tackle on Promes. That clinched it for us - Perr Schuurs added another goal from corner and Promes completed the rout from the spot after Remy Boer was fouled in the box. 5:0 was an emphatic win for us - I didn’t expect us to score five against any team in the Champions League and to pick apart Valencia in such a manner in their own home is certainly something special. Great performance from the whole team. our shooting was 20/11 in this game our average rating was 8.24 Player of the game: Quincy Promes - delivered 5 key passes, created 3 goals and scored from the spot 25.10.2025 - Telstar - AFC Ajax 0:6 (ED) - 4. Donny van de Beek, 17. Rio Hillen, 29., 34. and 62. Jay Enem, 71. Quincy Promes Remaining two games in October look easier. The first one of those is Telstar - the team that finished 6th in Keuken Kampioen Divisie in the last season and somehow ended up in the top tier after play-offs. If there is a team that looks completely out of their depth, it’s Telstar - they’re still looking for their first win of the season (a couple of draws so far) and there’s no way they can retain their place in Eredivisie. Their squad looks a mess - too many players, many of them transfer listed, indicate that squad building is still in process and Summer didn’t go exactly as planned. Morale is low and the level of players is outright inadequate. So, my mind was rather relaxed before the game, even though we had a couple of players unavailable - Sontje Hansen was out, but Steven van der Sloot also hurt his leg in training and he’ll be sidelined for a couple of weeks and Youri Regeer is suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card in Sparta game. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Brown, van de Beek (46. Sangare-Aka), Promes, Fitz-Jim (46. Karahasanovic), Boer, Enem (63. Braspenning) I was right - Telstar was no match for us and it was clear in the early stages of the game. Donny van de Beek smashed in a brilliant strike from some 19 meters out to put us in control, Rio Hillen added another goal with a header from a free kick and in the first twenty minutes it was clear that Telstar players didn’t want to be there. Jay Enem had space to run into and teammates found him with good passes. Quincy Promes created chances from the right wing and we went to the half-time with a solid three goal lead. I used the opportunity and made changes at half time, but that didn’t slow us down - Jay Enem completed his hat-trick in 62’ and got the rest of the day off. Quincy Promes added another goal with a simple tap-in after Remy Boer had run most of the opposition defense to the ground. Telstar finally woke up in the final ten minutes (or complacency started to creep into our game); they had a couple of promising attacks and in the final minute of the game their midfielder David van Kaam was unmarked in our box. He should have scored their consolation goal, but the first attempt hit the crossbar and the follow-up bounced back from the post before Perr Schuurs cleared it off the line. A little mishap here by our defense, but the final result was still impressive and I was happy with the game. we had 63% possession in this game our average rating was 8.48 we created 3 clear cut chances our shooting was 14/13 - not too many attempts, but almost everything was on target and dangerous Player of the game: Jay Enem - the hat-trick hero has now scored 7 goals in 8 league games 28.10.2025 - FC Volendam - AFC Ajax 0:2 (TOTO KNVB Beker 1st round) - 35. Remy Boer, 48. Kik Braspenning Another small opponent in the cup - FC Volendam from Keuken Kampioen divisie should be an easy training match for us and a chance to give rotation players more game time. I took a short look to FC Volendam squad and they seem to make right decisions in the transfer market and developing their own youngsters - some promising 19-24 year olds in the team and they’re building for future, but the quality of the team is not nearly good enough to beat Eredivisie sides. Squad: van den Heuvel, Veltman, Schuurs (80. Taylor), Hillen, Douglas, Brown, Sangare-Aka, Promes (66. Silveira), Karahasanovic, Boer, Braspenning (66. Claes) The first half was a little bit disappointing. I can’t say that we dominated, but we had chances to take the lead. In 18’ Remy Boer was fouled in the box and the penalty was awarded. Quincy Promes stepped up, but this time his penalty was really poor - straight to the middle and the goalkeeper saved it without much effort. We scored a goal, though - Remy Boer dribbled into the box, skipped past two defenders and found the net from a narrow angle. That goal helped us to keep our confidence, but I wasn’t happy with our overall performance - it was a fairly even game, we allowed FC Volendam to our half with the ball too often and conceded unnecessary fouls near our own area. The missed penalty just added failures to all that. The players understood my frustration and picked it up in the second half - Kik Braspenning doubled our lead with a beautiful free kick early in the second half and that gave us a necessary cushion to be more relaxed in the remainder of the game. I sent out the youngsters for the last 20-30 minutes and that allowed FC Volendam back into the game - their best opportunity came in 79’ when Marco Tol won a header from point blank range, but it went way over the crossbar. The overall performance left much to desire, but the final result itself looked solid enough. we had 60% possession in this game Tiago Silveira and Kik Taylor made their debuts for Ajax in this game Player of the game: Remy Boer - scored a great goal, gave 4 key passes and made 10 dribbles; earned a penalty, too Summary Not a bad month, all in all. We have scored plenty of goals and found our attacking game. Still, almost every month we have one poor game where we stutter and drop points and this time it was a home defeat to Sparta. The highlight of the month was certainly the 5:0 win over CF Valencia - that puts us in a fairly strong position in our Champions League group and hopefully builds a foundation to our good campaign. It’s difficult to select my player of the month - on one hand I’m delighted that Quincy Promes returned to the starting line-up with such brilliant performances, but Remy Boer has been outstanding too, despite his young age. Eredivisie We’re now level with PSV Eindhoven. AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord are down in the middle of the table, but the differences in points are still fairly small.
  5. September 2025 International window was fairly quiet - our number of internationals is average now, because many players have turned 22 years old and don’t feature in U-21 competitions any more. The most important thing is that everybody returned back in full fitness and we have a full squad available for our next games. September includes five matches, two of them are Champions League games with Hertha and AS Monaco. 14.09.2025 - Vitesse Arnhem - AFC Ajax 2:2 (ED) - 5. Myles Peart-Harris, 90.+6 George Power - 2. Carlos Manuel Lopes, 43. Donny van de Beek Vitesse have rebuilt their squad a lot during this Summer. Over ten players have left and the club have collected over £7m in transfer fees, but have spent virtually nothing on new players. Instead, they signed Darren Eiting from Liverpool for free (excellent signing, a talented 21 years old defender who was not needed by the Premier League giants, but could be a star in Eredivisie team) and bolstered their ranks with three loanees from Chelsea. Vitesse could be (and should be) a mid-table side and they have finished between 7-10th position in the past few seasons, but that link with Chelsea and good players that they can loan for free make them much stronger, at least if they can combine those players into one coherent team. So, an away game in Arnhem is not easy for any club in this season. Squad: Dere, Veltman (73. van der Sloot), Schuurs, Lopes, Douglas, Regeer, van de Beek, Promes, Fitz-Jim, Boer (61. Karahasanovic), Enem (86. Braspenning) We have been good in the first five minutes of games and were again this time. Quincy Promes created an early chance for Jay Enem, who decided to hit the ball with power. Whatever kind of shots he takes, he rarely scores from open chances in this season and this time was no different - Vitesse goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther made a great save to parry that attempt, but the following corner was headed in by Lopes and so we took the early lead. It wasn’t for long, though. Some passive defending in our box and inability to clear the ball allowed one of the Chelsea men Myles Peart-Harris to equalize soon enough and then the game settled down for the most of the first half. We had a small initiative, but Vitesse defended well and chances (and even attempts) were not so easy to find. At least until 43’ when Donny van de Beek produced something magical and curled his shot next to the far post from 19 meters. A wonderful strike and kick in the teeth for Vitesse right before the half-time whistle. In games like that you need players who can create something out of nothing and van de Beek has been that kind of player for us in this season. That dressing room goal hurt Vitesse and we gained confidence and initiative for the second half. My substitutions looked fine, too - both Karahasanovic and van der Sloot were looking to make an impact and around 71’-78’ we had several chances to score our third - Karahasanovic’s attempt was blocked by arriving defender, van der Sloot had a great opportunity right after coming on, but he too was denied by Wellenreuther and Fitz-Jim saw his attempt being met with a great save from the keeper. Despite those misses we controlled the game and looked good enough to secure the win, but it wasn’t to be. Five minutes were added to normal time and even when this time was almost over, Vitesse had one more counter-attack. Mark Hamilton (another Chelsea loanee) took the ball into the box, Schuurs and Lopes both shied away from the tackle (partly because it was in the box, partly because both were booked already) and Hamilton found George Power at the far post who scored a relatively easy goal to equalize, right before the final whistle. I was obviously hugely disappointed. Not even because of that late equalizer, but our inability to decide the game when we had chances to do it. It has to be said that Vitesse goalkeeper Wellenreuther looked really impressive in this game even when conceding two goals, but we HAVE to start scoring when we have clear cut chances. Two wasted again today and this time that was costly. Vitesse can thank their parent club for this draw - their both goals were combined by Chelsea loanees. our shooting was 21/12 in this game - good attacking football for most of the time Perr Schuurs collected his 5th yellow card in 6 games and will be suspended for our match against Heracles Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - his second outstanding goal of the season to make it 2:1 in the first half 17.09.2025 - Hertha BSC - AFC Ajax 0:1 (Champions League Group H) - 42. Donny van de Beek Here starts our Champions League journey and for the first game we travel to Berlin. I’m not sure that we’re favourites for this game, but we sure can win if we play our cards right. Hertha looks solid, but not good to beat. Playing away makes it obviously more difficult and I have to balance our tactics right. Before the game I had a chance to glance at how Feyenoord were doing - they lost 0:2 to PSG at home. They were clearly beaten, but at least it didn’t get embarrassing for them. Expectations to us were significantly higher. I had two dilemmas about team selection - firstly, whether I should prefer Steven van der Sloot’s pace to Joel Veltman’s tackling and aerial ability at the right-back position? Secondly, should I go for Alen Karahasanovic or Remy Boer in our attacking midfield. I decided to go for Veltman, because his long balls forward can create moments for Enem (and I expected Hertha to leave space behind their defense, as their home tactics were supposed to be more positive and attacking) and use Karahasanovic and Fitz-Jim in midfield, purely because of their experience. Sontje Hansen also returned to AMR, although Promes had a good game against Vitesse and Salah-Eddine resumed his usual place in AML (Douglas had an OK game against Vitesse, but offered little extra). Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek (76. Sangare-Aka), Hansen, Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim (68. Boer), Enem (76. Braspenning) Our balanced mentality was matched by Hertha - both teams looked careful and cautious on the pitch and didn’t want to take too many risks. Because of that the game was a rather boring affair and didn’t offer too many noteworthy moments. Both teams looked nervous (Hertha even more so than us) and at the end of the first half we managed to take the lead. There was a portion of luck involved - Donny van de Beek’s attempt from 20 meters took a deflection from Jay Enem and went into the goal. Perhaps undeserved, but the lead allowed us to start the second half with more confidence and composure, so after the break we had the advantage of motivation and focus while Hertha continued to fight nervousness and apprehension that hindered their attacks. Both teams had a couple of half-chances, but we looked comfortable in our lead and just continued until the final whistle. The win was perhaps a little undeserved, because the game itself looked pretty even, but three points from Berlin could be extremely valuable for us. Great result. our shooting was 18/10 in this game Player of the game: Jay Enem - no exceptional performances in this game, but Enem gets the plaudits for his goal; funny lad - can’t score from clear cut chances, but somehow gets his butt in front of the shot and his name onto the score sheet 21.09.2025 - Heracles Almelo - AFC Ajax 4:3 (ED) - 6. pen., 39. and 73. pen. Rico Strieder, 84. Christian Aubry - 16. and 55. Jay Enem, 68. pen. Youri Regeer Winning our first game in the Champions League gave us some usual composure and confidence back after that disappointing draw in Arnhem, so I was fairly confident before our next match against Heracles. Perhaps it was time to rotate the squad a bit - we’re now in a period with two games in a week and I have to use the squad in a balanced fashion. My assistant advised me to use Steven van der Sloot in DR and we missed Perr Schuurs because of his suspension, so Rio Hillen got his chance to impress. Heracles’ squad doesn’t look particularly strong and it might be a good place to take some calculated risks with the line-up. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Hillen, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen, Karahasanovic (64. Boer), Fitz-Jim (73. Veltman), Enem (57. Braspenning) We had a terrible start to the game - Carlos Manuel Lopes handballed when defending the free kick and Heracles scored from the early penalty. We didn’t let it shake ourselves and ten minutes later it was 1:1 - we won the ball back in midfield and van de Beek picked out Enem with a great ball forward. The striker (for once!) scored with a lovely finish into the bottom corner. Things looked good enough for some time - it was 1:1 and plenty of time to score another goal, so the game looked under our control, until we conceded another goal late in the first half - again from the set piece. This time it was a free kick that found the goalscorer Rico Strieder at the far post and, Lopes missed his header and Strieder headed it in from close range. I was literally furious at the half time - defending free kicks had been just terrible and that was something we specifically practiced before the game. Unacceptable! I switched to attacking 4-2-3-1 formation and my motivational shouting at half time seemed to have the desired effect. Jay Enem scored another great goal from a corner to equalize and Youri Regeer gave us the lead after Anass Salah-Eddine was tripped in the box. Players looked motivated and it seemed that we had turned this game around. But it wasn’t over yet - Jay Enem pulled something in his calf and had to come off. That affected our attacks. Then Steven van der Sloot managed to do something incredibly stupid - with noone around him, he had to head away a cross from our box, but instead he managed to put his hand to the ball. Another handball, this time completely unnecessary and stupid. To make things worse, he received the yellow card for it and it was his second booking of the game - red card. So, after Rico Strieder completed his hat-trick from the spot, it was 3:3 and we were down to ten men. And, of course, it was inevitable that Heracles found the winner in the end. Anass Salah-Eddine was to blame for losing possession in midfield and failing to make a proper challenge on Christian Aubry, who had freedom to cruise into our box and fire it in - 4:3. Sontje Hansen wasted his late half-chance and that was it - an unexpected defeat to the smaller team. I was literally out of my mind and fuming like thunder. It’s better for younger readers that I don’t write down the exact words that I delivered in the dressing room, but it’s fair to say that most adjectives used were combined with different levels of profanities. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen my team defend so poorly, giving away idiotic penalties with handballs. It’s like professional footballers looked like regular Sunday league players for one game. van der Sloot got his share for his dismissal, but to be fair the whole defensive line looked just abysmal. What the actual…. we had 65% possession - that didn’t help us too much in this game Jay Enem pulled his calf muscle and he’ll be out for around 3 weeks Player of the game: Rico Strieder - helped by the two penalties, but Heracles midfielder finished the game with hat-trick and walked away with the match ball 27.09.2025 - FC Twente Enschede - AFC Ajax 1:4 (ED) - 51. Julio Pleguezuelo - 6. Perr Schuurs, 69. Kik Braspenning, 74. Donny van de Beek, 90.+2 Quincy Promes The last game made me really furious and that sense of urgency to return to winning ways was probably felt throughout the whole weeks of training and preparing for our next league game. No excuses for repeating the failure of this kind, so the team knew what was expected of them. FC Twente is another must win for us not only because we’ve dropped points in our last two league games, but because FC Twente is in a rather low point themselves right now - they’re 16th in the table, having troubles with scoring and three of their first team players are injured. We had problems of our own - Perr Schuurs was back in the line-up, but Jay Enem was injured and we surely needed him in that kind of form that he showed against Heracles. Kik Braspenning has a huge chance to show what he’s capable of. Steven van der Sloot is suspended, but after his display at Almelo it’s better for him to sit some games out anyway. Quincy Promes starts in this game, because Sontje Hansen has been unconvincing and I need goals and assists from the attacking winger who’s on the pitch. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (75. Douglas), Regeer (75. Brown), van de Beek, Promes, Karahasanovic (65. Boer), Fitz-Jim, Braspenning More and more Eredivisie clubs have started to use formations with 2 defensive midfielders. Whether it’s 4-2-3-1 with two DMC-s, 5-4-1 or other formation, but the goal seems pretty obvious - just pack the box (and the area right in front of it) with bodies and defend with everybody. I haven’t looked into it closely enough to understand if it’s the tactics that’s been used specifically against us, but we have more games where we control possession fairly comfortably, but lack space to create chances. The FC Twente match was exactly like that. One key to break this defensive wall might be set pieces. That’s why we practiced them so much and that worked nicely for us early in the game - Perr Schuurs scored from a corner after just five minutes of football and although the rest of the first half was rather boring and FC Twente’s game plan seemed to work well, we had control of the game. That evaporated early in the second half - FC Twente got a free kick and Julio Pleguezuelo was left unmarked at the far post. His header equalized the score and put us under pressure. I knew that we had to change something, because so far we hadn’t created much in attack. Remy Boer came on and Kian Fitz-Jim moved into the AMC position. I don’t know if that changed the things or Donny van de Beek’s leadership, but we improved a lot at around 65’ - at first van de Beek found Kik Braspenning in front of the goal with a good pass and the striker finished his chance well to score his first goal of the season. van de Beek continued to lead by example and fired in a great goal from 20 meters to make it 3:1 and that was already a young win - FC Twente didn’t look like they had another two goals in them. In injury time substitutes Boer and Quincy Promes combined for another good goal and the final score was rather impressive 4:1. I was really happy with the last thirty minutes or so - great attacking football and good goals. we had 62% possession our shooting was 19/11 - pretty good at the end, after rather poor first half we had 3 clear cut chances in this game, we didn’t allow FC Twente to create any real chances Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - an outstanding game from the midfielder, a great goal and assist that inspired the team to the win one note to take away from this game - perhaps I should use Kian Fitz-Jim in the AMC position from the start; Alen Karahasanovic proved his inconsistency again and offered little in 65 minutes and our game improved a lot with Fitz-Jim and Boer on the pitch 30.08.2025 - AFC Ajax - AS Monaco 1:0 (Champions League Group H) - 18. Sontje Hansen Next up, AS Monaco. Champions League level is something else and this game might be a big test for the likes of Kik Braspenning. Scoring against FC Twente is one thing, but can he excel against the big boys? AS Monaco squad looks strong, but not without weaknesses - veteran striker Wissam Ben Yedder with plenty of skills and experience, but his 35 years have had an impact on his physical abilities. I’ve seen better goalkeepers in Eredivisie than AS Monaco have in League 1 level, so that could be something we can exploit. No big changes in our line-up for this game - Steven van der Sloot served his suspension and is available. Jay Enem is still out, but not for long - perhaps we can use him already in the next league game. I opted to start with Kian Fitz-Jim in the AMC position and Remy Boer starts on the left - he’s trained well and showed some good moves against FC Twente. Alen Karahasanovic’s inconsistency in that position notes that we might need a change there. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen, Fitz-Jim (67. Karahasanovic), Boer (73. Promes), Braspenning (85. Claes) The game was less exciting to watch than I expected. AS Monaco came against us with their 4-4-1-1 formation and remained conservative. After a fairly even first fifteen minutes we took initiative and managed to score the goal - Sontje Hansen found himself on the left flank, cut in and fired with a fierce shot that landed in the top near corner - 1:0. That goal should have provoked a reaction from AS Monaco, but it didn’t. Initiative was ours for the remainder of the game and even though good chances were rare, we never looked in trouble. AS Monaco had only two attempts in the whole game and we took a comfortable 1:0 win. The best chances for us came both from Joel Veltman - his intelligence allowed him to deliver long balls on the run for Kik Braspenning and a couple of times it worked well, but the striker couldn’t finish it off. Second win in a row puts us in a strong position in the table - very pleased with that. we had 60% possession in this game our shooting was 22/9 no real chances to AS Monaco Player of the game: Joel Veltman - solid defensively and created the best chances for Braspenning Summary I have mixed feelings about September. Our Champions League campaign has started with a bang - two 1:0 wins, albeit narrow, give us six points and take us to the top of the group and that’s a lot more than I expected. In Eredivisie, however, we’ve been terrible and dropped cheap points - late, late equalizer from Vitesse and the way we completely fell apart against Heracles are unacceptable. We haven’t played against big opponents or in difficult games, just performances have been below-par and that has to improve in October. Donny van de Beek has carried us a lot in September and his leadership is the key factor in several games - he initiated the come-back against FC Twente, scored the winner against Hertha BSC and another goal against Vitesse. In my eyes clearly the player of the month. Eredivisie So, we’re second behind PSV Eindhoven, but some rivals (Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar) are already a few points behind. We’ve scored a lot of goals, but conceded a lot, too. At the bottom of the table we find small clubs, as expected - Telstar, Helmond Sport, FC Emmen.
  6. August 2025 03.08.2025 - AFC Ajax - Willem II Tilburg 2:1 (ED) - 19. Jay Enem, 90.+4 Kian Fitz-Jim - 12. Keziah Veendorp We start our Eredivisie campaign with a home game (always easier that way) and our schedule in August does not look too difficult. Willem II has looked like a decent mid-table or upper half team in the past seasons and their line-up hasn’t changed much in Summer, so we know what we’re up against. We had Rio Hillen suspended and Remy Boer suffered a small knock in training, so he won’t start. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen (51. Promes), Karahasanovic (70. Boer), Fitz-Jim, Enem The first fifteen minutes of the game didn’t look good. I’m not sure what was wrong - if the concentration was poor or something missing, but at first we game Willem a great chance in 5’ - Anass Salah-Eddine gave a poor pass in our third that was intercepted and the following attacking move led to an easy chance for Mo El Hankouri, but Gürcan Dere came off his line to make a brilliant save and deny the opportunity. Soon, it was 0:1 though, and Willem II took the lead after a free kick - it was expertly flicked on to empty space in our box, where Keziah Veendorp was open to fire it into the top corner. Unstoppable strike and Gürcan Dere had nothing to do in this situation. Sontje Hansen was the one to blame, because he was in that zone and should have followed Veendorp into the box. We reacted well and equalized soon enough, similarly from the free kick. Perr Schuurs did well to win his header and direct it across the goal where Jay Enem was well-positioned and put it in from a point blank range. The first half finished 1:1, but after the poor fifteen minutes in the beginning, we looked better after our equalizer, controlled the game and it felt that the win was ours to take in the second half. The beginning of the second half was again terrible. We gifted Willem II another clear cut chance in 47’, after allowing Mats Köhlert to dribble all over the pitch and lay it to Vangelis Pavlidis with a simple pass. Again Gürcan Dere was there to save our ass with a brilliant save. We composed ourselves (like we did in the first half). Disappointing Sontje Hansen came off and Quincy Promes came on and that, too, gave us more energy in attack, but the goal didn’t come. We even had a penalty in 56’, but Promes saw his spot kick being saved by Maarten Paes (who had a very good game, to be fair). Second half offered plenty of decent chances for us, but the goal kept itself waiting. Paes denied Kian Fitz-Jim’s fierce shot, Jay Enem had a clear cut chance in 77’, but his weak attempt was easily dealt with by the goalkeeper. We kept Willem II defense under pressure until the final minutes and in the end it brought the deserved reward - we had another corner late in injury time and in the follow-up Kian Fitz-Jim had an attempt from 22 meters. His shot was just so accurate and unexpected for Paes, that it rolled into the bottom corner from 22 meters. A late winner with a brilliant strike and I was clearly delighted with that! Great to start our campaign with a win, but I’ve seen plenty of room for improvements in our performance. our shooting was 24/14 in this game - pretty good we made 22 key passes in this game and created 3 clear cut chances Player of the game: Kian Fitz-Jim - scored an outstanding late goal to win this for us 10.08.2025 - FC Emmen - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 31. Martin Polman - 4. Donny van de Beek, 24. Jay Enem After a rather difficult first game, we travelled to Emmen next Sunday to face the local FC Emmen. Our opponents have been in Eredivisie for quite a long period now, but starting to finish closer and closer to relegation zone and so they’re predicted to finish 14th in pre-season expectations. It’s not quite consistent with what I notice on the club screen - they’ve had a good transfer window, offloaded some deadwood for £2,8m (incredible amount of cash for players with that kind of abilities) and spent less than £1m. The board can count (and make) money, that seems. The squad looks familiar, too, with a couple of good-looking youngsters (especially 19 years old midfielder Peta van Rooij, who looks good enough to play for Ajax in the future). They’ve landed experienced winger Ola John on a free and that’s the only addition to their attack. I made one change to our starting line-up - Steven van der Sloot starts and I expect his pace to be important to cover for Emmen wingers. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (71. Douglas), Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen, Karahasanovic, Fitz-Jim (63. Boer), Enem (81. Braspenning) We had a good start to the game and in the first 20-30 minutes FC Emmen couldn’t stop our attacks. Donny van de Beek scored a flyer in 4’ with a shot that took a heavy deflection from a defender and sent their goalkeeper the wrong way. Sontje Hansen’s attempt just a minute later rattled the crossbar and Jay Enem found a clear cut chance in 14’ that was tipped away by the goalkeeper. Enem finally found his goal, though - in 24’ he received a great pass from van de Beek and managed to score from a narrow angle to make it 2:0. We looked very comfortable at this point and well in control of the game, but FC Emmen did have an answer - in 31’ their cross from our left came to the far post area where Martin Polman rose above Steven van der Sloot and powered his header into the goal. That concluded the first half - we played well, created chances, could have (perhaps) scored more goals, but one moment in 31’ allowed FC Emmen back into this game, so we had to guard against complacency in the second half. We continued to control the game in the second half and eventually that was good enough to keep our narrow lead. Alen Karahasanovic created another clear cut chance for Enem in 57’, but if you can’t score, you just can’t score. It’s like a curse with Enem - his attempt was again brilliantly saved by the FC Emmen goalkeeper and I’m not sure whether to criticize Enem or praise the keeper. Few other attempts from Enem, Perr Schuurs and Kik Braspenning were promising, but didn’t lead to goals and it remained 2:1. I was satisfied with three points, but not entirely happy with our performance, especially finishing. we had 61% possession our shooting was 24/14 in this game we created 3 clear cut chances Player of the game: Alen Karahasanovic - great midfield performance from the Bosnian, he gave 5 key passes and created 4 chances to his teammates; not his fault that the others couldn’t finish them off 16.08.2025 - AFC Ajax - FC Eindhoven 2:0 (ED) - 9. pen. Youri Regeer, 46. Perr Schuurs One of the easiest fixtures in August, at least on paper. FC Eindhoven are one of the relegation candidates (in fact - have been for the past couple of seasons). Only the fact that ADO Den Haag had just a terrible season in the last year kept FC Eindhoven in Eredivisie and they need to fight against relegation again. They’re doing it fairly well, though, and stunned AZ Alkmaar 1:0 in the previous round, so if they continue to get points like that, everything is possible for them. I gave chances to some of the players - Rio Hillen, Remy Boer (he trained exceptionally well this week), Kik Braspenning (Jay Enem suffered a minor knock in training and I don’t want to use him here if I don’t want to). Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (68. Douglas), Regeer (73. Brown), van de Beek (59. Sangare-Aka), Hansen, Karahasanovic, Boer, Braspenning We controlled the game pretty much from start to finish. We took the lead from the penalty after Remy Boer was tripped just inside of the box at 9’ and looked comfortable after that. The number of chances and goals could have been higher, but we didn’t look in trouble. Kik Braspenning had a chance to impress through the whole 90 minutes and he, too, tested the goalkeeper with a couple of good attempts, but wasn’t able to get himself onto the score sheet. I asked the team not to get complacent in the second half and Perr Schuurs responded with a goal from a corner right after the second half kick-off and that settled the result. 2:0 was a solid win. With so many changes in the squad I can’t really complain about that result. Happy with the clean sheet, though. our shooting was 23/8 in this game we didn’t allow FC Eindhoven to create any real chances FC Eindhoven made 38 fouls in this game - incredibly high number; they were constantly disrupting the flow of the game, but at the same time we had many set piece opportunities because of it Player of the game: Remy Boer - had a good game on our left wing, made 8 dribbles and created 3 chances in that match, in addition he was fouled for the penalty 24.08.2025 - FC Utrecht - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 4. Donny van de Beek Our trip to Utrecht looked trickier than expected. FC Utrecht was predicted to finish 10th by analysts, but looking at their squad I’d say they’re a much better team - plenty of options in all positions, experience mixed with youth and talent. They’re participating in Europa Conference League this season and have played play-offs in August, so they come against us with some fatigue, but with an impressive 10:1 win over the Serbian club Partizan. So - morale is high in their camp and we have to be at our best to beat them in Galgenwaard. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (71. Douglas), Regeer, van de Beek, Promes (85. Hansen), Karahasanovic (58. Fitz-Jim), Boer, Enem We started the game in the best way possible - an early goal from Donny van de Beek gave us the lead and what a goal that was! Remy Boer passed the ball right to van de Beek who had some space quite far from the goal, but he tried his luck and scored an incredible goal from 26 meters. FC Utrecht’s goalkeeper Robin Roefs had no chance to stop it. Despite the early goal FC Utrecht players didn’t look disenchanted - their motivation seemed even higher than ours and their game plan looked clear enough - two DMCs in their 4-2-3-1 formation packed the box with bodies, so it was very difficult to break down and create space for attacking moves. No wonder that the rest of the first half offered no real chances and most of our noteworthy moments came from set pieces. I tried to adjust in the second half - lowered our line of engagement to allow FC Utrecht some room to rise with the ball and create space for our counter-attacks if we win the ball back. On a couple of occasions it worked well - both Kian Fitz-Jim and Joel Veltman found Jay Enem on the run, but as it has happened before, the striker couldn’t finish his chances. Some credit has to go to Roefs, too, who did well to limit the angle and made great saves. With only a 0:1 score line and in a rival game, it’s often motivation that decides the outcome and ability to handle pressure with it. Both Alen Karahasanovic and Quincy Promes started to show nervousness and were taken off. Fitz-Jim came on well to the AMC position and even though we couldn’t score another goal, we looked good in defense and limited FC Utrecht’s chances to equalize, so it remained 1:0. Good win in a difficult game - FC Utrecht manager was quite pleased with his team’s performance and rightfully so - their game plan was clear and the players did their best. Without the brilliance of van de Beek it could have been 0:0 easily on another day. we made only 8 key passes in this game - no wonder if our opponents defended with such a good organization FC Utrecht players made 29 dribbles in this game - interesting, because it wasn’t so evident watching the highlights Perr Schuurs have collected three yellow cards in four games already - he’ll face his first suspension already in September if he’ll continue like that Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - his incredible goal that ends up in the season highlight reel was the difference today 29.08.2025 - AFC Ajax - Feyenoord Rotterdam 3:0 (ED) - 18. Remy Boer, 23. pen. Youri Regeer, 90. Sontje Hansen Here it is, the most difficult test in August. It feels like we have played that game already a month ago and it’s interesting to see if Feyenoord approaches it the same way. Their rather defensive 5-4-1 formation didn’t bring them any success against us in the Johan Cruijff Schaal final. It has to be said that Feyenoord bounced back from that defeat well - they won three games in a row in Eredivisie, but were then stunned 1:2 by PSV Eindhoven at De Kuip - defeat in a game where they were actually the better team. Would this defeat make them a little fragile? Let’s see. I made a couple of changes in the line-up. Kian Fitz-Jim starts in the AMC role (he’s been playing there a couple of times from the bench and has always showed his ability to pick a pass or create something for his teammates) and Sontje Hansen returns to our right wing (Quincy Promes didn’t impress against FC Utrecht - his set piece deliveries were there, but not his usual creativity and sharpness). Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes (77. Hillen), Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen, Fitz-Jim, Boer (82. Karahasanovic), Enem (89. Braspenning) We started well, but the first dangerous moment had a familiar conclusion for us. In 4’ Salah-Eddine found Jay Enem on the run, but Enem wasted another chance this season - he made a mess out of his shot and in the end it was easily held by the Feyenoord goalkeeper. The goal came soon enough, though. Kian Fitz-Jim took a fierce shot on target in 18’ - it was parried well, but the ball fell straight on the path of Remy Boer, who slotted it into the empty net. Five minutes later Sontje Hansen was tripped in the box and Youri Regeer doubled our lead from the spot (his third goal of the season and second from penalty). Feyenoord clearly played for counter-attacks and like in the last game just month ago, they found one good chance in the match. In 33’ their striker Tamer Erdem received the pass and turned away from Lopes, ran past Schuurs and had a one-on-one opportunity, but Gürcan Dere ran out of his line to close the space for him and parried it brilliantly. At half time we had a 2:0 lead and I was fairly happy with our display so far - we created chances, had most of the possession and a good lead. The second half offered less chances - we weren’t as attacking as before (and I switched our mentality from positive to balanced in the middle of the second half). Feyenoord had one half-chance after Schuurs lost possession in midfield, but Gürcan Dere made the second good save of the game and Kian Fitz-Jim saw his long range attempt clip the crossbar. The game still had one goal in it and it came in the final minute - Sontje Hansen powered a mighty header into the top corner from 12 meters - a great goal and lovely way to finish this derby. I was really happy with the result and performance - it was an important win for us and we played much more convincing football than we did in the cup final four weeks ago. our shooting was 23/10 in this game we made only 9 key passes (but didn’t need to attack in numbers in the second half) we created 3 clear cut chances (all of them in the first half) Feyenoord players made 34 individual mistakes in this game - incredibly high number we’re now unbeaten in 14 games Player of the game: Kian Fitz-Jim - very good game from the attacking midfielder, 3 key passes, 6 dribbles and assist to his name Summary The performances haven’t been always at the level I expect, but results have come our way in August and we’re five out of five before the international break. It’s been nervous at times and margins were narrow, but we’ve done well enough. We’ve scored some early goals and some late goals. The fact that we’re ready right at the kick-off and fight until the end has turned some games to our favour - that’s the margin between wins and draws. Youri Regeer and Donny van de Beek have been really good in midfield; both have scored important goals and played well. Alen Karahasanovic has shown some of his magic and both Kian Fitz-Jim and Remy Boer are showing good skills. Where we can improve is our left-back area, right wing attacks (neither Promes or Hansen have impressed so far) and Jay Enem with all of his wasted chances has let us down too often. Hopefully that improves in September. Champions League Group H AFC Ajax AS Monaco Valencia Hertha BSC Not too bad, actually. We got the lowest ranked 2nd seed club in AS Monaco. From the 4th seeded clubs I would have preferred somebody from smaller leagues (like Slavia Prague or Brondby), but at least we avoided European giants and all in all, it’s a playable group. Difficult to predict how this plays out, because results can go in various directions. Feyenoord is the other club from Eredivisie in the group stage and boy, they got it bad… They’re in Group E with PSG, Manchester City and FC Porto. I predict nothing good for them from those games. Eredivisie Excellent start for us and we’ve already opened up the gap with PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord. FC Groningen have done really well, too (I’ve said it already, but they really have a good squad) and sc Heerenveen is in European places at the moment. AZ Alkmaar had a slow start and they need to improve quickly if they want to fight for the title. At the bottom of the table we find smaller teams, but amongst them FC Twente - they’ve had a rocky start so far; heavy defeats from PSV and Feyenoord, another one from sc Heerenveen and the only win over minnows Helmond Sport. Schedule has been tough for them, but they need to shake those defeats off and not allow it to affect their confidence.
  7. Squad Update 2025-2026 Season Not a lot of changes in the squad over this Summer. The first eleven looks pretty much the same. Some overall notes to add about the players: Joel Veltman and Quincy Promes will enter their last year of contract and it’s doubtful that they will continue in Ajax after this season. Promes has an automatic extension clause in his deal that will be triggered after 20 first team appearances, so that limits his games and Sontje Hansen will get most starts in the AMR position. It’s time for transition and Hansen and van der Sloot have to step up and take over from veterans. We have better depth in some areas. Or in other words - some youngsters who looked barely first team material one year ago can fill the roles much better now - namely Remy Boer and Tim Brown, but Alen Karahasanovic has improved a lot, too, over the past twelve months some players are merely backup and can (perhaps will) be replaced. Dani van den Heuvel does not look like he could develop into the first team goalkeeper, Rio Hillen’s transfer fell through, but I was ready to accept the decent bid for him as his poor aerial ability and balanced personality can offer little in long term. Kik Braspenning is another decent rotation/backup player, but unlikely to end up in the Premier League or perform well in the Champions League level Vincent Claes is the new addition to the first team. He was the best player in his youth class in 2024 and looks like he could develop into a good player, but we’ll have to wait and see. Not quite ready for the first team role, but could get some minutes here and there. Goalkeepers Defenders Midfielders Wingers Strikers
  8. June 2025 We started the pre-season with the board meeting. A few things were agreed. Firstly, another £5m will be invested into youth facilities (this time it was the board’s initiative and I wholeheartedly supported it), secondly physio wage budget was increased and we took a closer look at next season’s expectation. To my surprise, the board reduced the expectations for our Champions League campaign. For the past seasons it’s been reaching the knockout stages, but this time the board will be happy with group stage and good performances there. I have to admit that I’m a bit relieved, because our chances of qualifications were often affected by the fact how difficult the group we had or the result of one single game, but my personal aspirations are obviously getting through the group and claiming as many coefficient points as possible. Transfers No big moves, although there was interest in Gürcan Dere and Carlos Manuel Lopes. The youngster Tiago Silveira attracted attention from Chelsea and Manchester City, but I tied him down with a professional contract as soon as possible. The only departure in Summer was Jaymillio Pinas - the forward looked like a surplus to requirements and left to PEC Zwolle for £1,5m. Contracts Remy Boer - £14,000p/w until 2030. Hopefully stops PSG’s interest in him. Steven van der Sloot - £25,000p/w until 2028 Sontje Hansen - £35,000p/w until 2029 Tim Brown - £5,000p/w until 2029 Gürcan Dere - £30,000p/w until 2030 - would it deter Real Madrid? Vincent Claes - £2,500p/w until 2029 - youngster needs more time to train and develop before I make final decision about him Loans Cor Drommel - KV Oostende - at least one left-back needs to go on loan and Drommel needs definitely more playing time than he’d get in Ajax Philippe Barriere - young right winger spent a short spell in Heracles at the beginning of the last season. Failed to get agreed playing time there and was recalled after Quincy Promes was injured. Did extremely well to help the team with a couple of goals, but dropped to the bench in the latter stages of the season - needs more playing time elsewhere to develop his skills Youri Baas - Alto Adige - Serie B club takes Baas on loan with a promise to give him plenty of game time. Decision based on our left-back surplus rather than Baas’ personal development plan. Julius Dirksen - Cercle Brugge - it’s evident that Perr Schuurs and Carlos Manuel Lopes are not leaving this Summer and Rio Hillen’s deal with Derby County fell through, so four centre-backs look too much to my team. Tiago Chaves - Helmond Sport - 19 years old winger needs more first team football than Jong Ajax can provide and at Helmond there’s a chance of Eredivisie level minutes. Staff Kristjaan Speakman signed as coach to replace Richard Witschge Nathaniel Weiss signed as U-19 coach - good addition to our backroom staff Eredivisie transfers Willem van Wijk from FC Groningen to Tottenham for £18,75m - the wonderkid attacking midfielder is one of the biggest transfers this Summer and when Tottenham showed interest, FC Groningen decided to cash in for the 20 years old youngster. His talent is obvious and it’s fair to say that FC Groningen didn’t have time to show it fully on the pitch, before he moved on. Good money, though. Nick Lee from AZ Alkmaar to Aston Villa for £15,5m - great player, worth a shot in higher level and moved forward to the Premier League. Aston Villa could be a good choice for him. AZ bought him two years ago from FC Utrecht and paid £10m, so a healthy profit for them. Darryl Hose from ADO Den Haag to AZ Alkmaar for £11m - probably the most talented player in relegated ADO team, attacking midfielder with technical ability and creativity. Obviously AZ Alkmaar was the first to react and land him. Could be a good deal for both sides. Owen Wijndal from RB Leipzig to AZ Alkmaar for £8,5m (£10m) - AZ Alkmaar brought back the left-back who went away to England (played four seasons for Fulham) and then Germany. Turned up not to be exactly Premier League material, but very good player for Eredivisie level. The transfer fee might look fair, but it has to be said that AZ Alkmaar will pay him £97,000 p/w and so Wijndal will have the highest salary of all Eredivisie players. Sherel Floranus from Watford to PSV Eindhoven for £8,25m - another Dutch player returning home, but I’m not sure about that transfer. On paper, Floranus looks rather mediocre and not the kind of player to take PSV Eindhoven team further. At least he’s not worth £8m - you could find those kinds of players in Eredivisie for £2-3m. PSV’s decisions in the transfer market have not been impressive in the past (I still can’t believe they signed Brian Brobbey for free, decided to pay him almost £50,000 p/w and then play him only TWICE from the bench in the whole last season). So, bringing on another fairly expensive squad player when they have plenty of young talents coming up for the wing-back position - why? They’re not even playing European football this season, so the number of games should be lower than usual. Mitchel Bakker from FC Groningen to Standard Liege for £8m. Actually a very good left-back in a strong FC Groningen squad. Transfer fee seems to match the value of the player on this occasion. As Bakker was once trained in Ajax, around £200k of that was paid to us. FC Groningen brought the talented Bradley de Nooijer from ADO Den Haag earlier this Summer and so they’re not really weakened by that move. Carel Eiting from AZ Alkmaar to Newcastle United for £6,5m - not sure about that deal. Eiting was a valuable first team midfielder for AZ and they paid over £7m for him in 2022, so that deal didn’t make any profit for the club and they lost a good and experienced player. Good move for Eiting himself, to get into the Premier League after years in Netherlands and Belgium. Karim Rekik from Wolfsburg to Feyenoord Rotterdam for £5,75m (£7,25m with clauses) - 30 years old experienced centre-back will bolster the ranks of our rivals, at least for a couple of seasons. July 2025 Our pre-season friendlies went OK. I’ve delegated arranging them to my assistant which means that I have little control over who we play with. This time the biggest name in our schedule was AC Milan in the Amsterdam friendly cup competition, but we trashed them 4:1. Our toughest opponents turned out to be OGC Nice during our tour in France - that game remained goalless after ninety minutes. 26.07.2025 - AFC Ajax - Feyenoord Rotterdam 1:0 (Johan Cruijff Schaal) - 87. Youri Regeer The usual pre-season Johan Cruijff Schaal fixture is this time another Klassieker derby. This time we have the home advantage and that will make us favourites, but Feyenoord are tough opponents who are difficult to beat anywhere. We have all of the players fit and ready for the game and that’s the best news that I can have ahead of a long season. Not much has changed in the squad, so we start with our usual first eleven and standard 4-2-3-1 positive formation. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes (87. Hillen), Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek, Promes (62. Hansen), Karahasanovic (76. boer), Fitz-Jim, Enem Feyenoord started with a rather cautious 4-5-1 formation and clearly played for counter-attacks. It almost led to success for them early in the game - in 9’ Cheick Toure found Tamer Erdem with a long ball forward and while the Feyenoord striker was free of our defenders and went one-on-one against Gürcan Dere, he put his shot wide of the post. My initial feeling was that we were lucky there, but for the remainder of the game we weren’t so easily surprised by those counter-attack attempts. Instead we dominated the game and had most of the shots. 75% of the possession belonged to us in the first half, but Feyenoord defended in numbers and it was extremely difficult to get shots on target. I wanted a more straightforward approach in the second half and asked the players to shoot on sight for around 20-30 minutes. That changed the game - we took more shots, half of them from the distance. Few were rushed, but some of them were clearly dangerous and the Feyenoord goalkeeper had to make a couple of good saves. One of those came early in the second half when Salah-Eddine’s strike from 20 meters was on its way to the bottom corner, but was brought away by the keeper. Jay Enem managed to hit the post in 69’, but with the game nearing to end, we were still looking for the winner. It finally came late in the game - Remy Boer delivered a free kick to the far post where Youri Regeer was ready to head it in. 1:0 and Feyenoord had too little time to react. Boer had a great chance to extend our lead a couple of minutes later, but messed up his shot and late in injury time Jay Enem wasted another clear cut chance. Despite those misses 1:0 was good enough for a win and even Feyenoord’s manager Vitor Pereira had to admit that we were the ones that deserved to win in this game. We kept Feyenoord under pressure for most of those 90 minutes, had a number of shots on target and eventually scored the winner. we had 62% possession in this game our shooting was 34/14 - quite impressive I replaced Karahasanovic with Boer in the second half and moved Kian Fitz-Jim to the AMC position - he really impressed in midfield and created two clear cut chances in the final minutes - not his fault that Boer and Enem couldn’t finish, but that’s food for thought for our next games Player of the game: Youri Regeer
  9. Season Summary Well. To sum this season up I have to begin with the last Summer - so many first team/key players leaving (Lassina Traore, Kenneth Taylor, Marco Ferreira) that in August I was in serious doubt if we’re Champions League material or not. But we passed this test with flying colours and won our group, only to get FC Barcelona as our opponent in the first knockout round. Tough draw and there our journey ended, but we gave them a battle at home and can keep our head high after that performance. Our domestic campaign looked less impressive than in previous seasons, but we won the title and cup, even though AZ Alkmaar looked really strong contenders in Autumn and Feyenoord pushed us all the way in Spring. Some failures were directly connected to my decision to rotate players and give playing time to youngsters, but after losing so many good players in Summer, we needed to take some risks with youth. Players and Stats Few notes and highlights from my point of view. Joel Veltman ages like a fine wine. He captained the team most of the time, delivered good performances from right-back and even though his age (33 years) is starting to slow him down, his tackling ability, long passes forwards (that have created plenty of chances to Jay Enem and Quincy Promes) and good tackling ability means that he’s still our preferred right-back and keeps Steven van der Sloot out of the first eleven. Cor Drommel emerged. We have enough left-backs, with Anass Salah-Eddine a clear first option and Youri Baas producing cover, but because of injuries and suspension, the youngster got enough first team chances in this season. He’s still green and needs to work a lot harder in training, but that was a clear breakthrough season for him. Tim Brown is a good option after all. After Kenneth Taylor left I was afraid that we don’t have enough cover for the DLPd position. Youri Regeer was the clear first choice, but Tim Brown put in some good performances and surprised some pundits in the process. His most memorable game was our home win over FC Barcelona (9.0 rating!) and even though he missed his penalty, that’s a huge experience for the young player. Alen Karahasanovic’s inconsistency. You never really know what kind of Bosnian will step on the pitch. At times he looked unstoppable, but in other games disappeared completely (or the opposition defense was just able to neutralize him easily). He delivered 11 assists in this season, but with over 40 starts, that’s not enough, especially as he did fill for Marco Ferreira Kian Fitz-Jim’s injury - the biggest set-back in terms of fitness, our first team left-back was out for almost 5 months with a broken foot. Remy Boer did well enough to cover the AML position, but we surely missed Fitz-Jim in the second half of the season. Our attack relied too much on Quincy Promes - the 33 years old winger was our main provider with 14 assists, he delivered good corners and free kicks, he was fairly good from the spot (scored 4/5 from penalties in Eredivisie) and was able to create something with the ball when our ´attack started to stall. You’d expect to see more from Sontje Hansen, Karahasanovic or Boer, but no. Jay Enem and his missed chances. At first glance 26 goals is a good number. Pretty good, actually. But given the fact how many chances Enem blew, is just astounding. I can’t complain about his ability to be at the right position at the right time - he found 33 clear cut chances in Eredivisie this season, but scored only 10 goals from those chances. Incredible number of goals left not scored. Fortunately he was slightly better in the Champions League where chances are more rare. No goals from direct free kicks. In the past we have had Dušan Tadic and Marco Ferreira, who had the ability to curl the ball over the wall and into the top corner, but at the moment no player has a free kick attribute over 14 and that shows. We can deliver the ball into the box and head in or find an open player, but we weren’t able to score a single goal from direct free kick in this season. Ajax goals: Jay Enem 26, Remy Boer 14, Quincy Promes 10 Ajax assists: Quincy Promes 14, Alen Karahasanovic 11 Ajax End of Season Awards 2024-2025 Eredivisie Awards Golden Boot: Aiden Toal (VVV Venlo) Wouter Burger (Feyenoord Rotterdam) Jairo Simons (Sparta Rotterdam) Top Goalscorer: Aiden Toal (VVV Venlo) - 22 Jay Enem (AFC Ajax) - 18 Ayodele Lauteria (Sparta Rotterdam) - 13 Young Player of the Year: Aiden Toal (VVV Venlo) Jairo Simons (Sparta Rotterdam) Carlos Manuel Lopes (AFC Ajax) Goalkeeper of the Year: Alexei Koselev (VVV Venlo) Gürcan Dere (AFC Ajax) Robin Roefs (FC Utrecht) Manager’s Manager of the Season: Me Vitor Pereira (Feyenoord Rotterdam) Ernest Faber (PSV Eindhoven)
  10. May 2025 Two tricky fixtures in May and we need results here to secure our title. Both are away games and against teams that can cause us some trouble. 04.05.2025 - Vitesse Arnhem - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 11. Jay Enem Now is not the time to rotate and distribute playing time - it should be our first eleven against Vitas. Vitesse could be a decent top-half team (especially because they have fairly good loanees from Chelsea), but they’ve lost all of their games in March and sunk to the bottom third of the table. We miss Carlos Manuel Lopes due to a small injury and Youri Regeer (another suspension and one week’s wages of fine to him), but the rest of the team is ready and up for the challenge (at least according to our team meeting feedback). Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (86. Baas), Brown, Sangare-Aka (62. van de Beek), Promes (76. Hansen), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem We took the lead in 11’ - Joel Veltman did well to work hard and pressure Vitesse defenders near their byline and after he won the ball back, crossed it quickly into the box where Jay Enem was completely alone and finished his chance into the near post. We had a good opportunity to double our lead in 26’ when the referee awarded a penalty (Enem was tripped in the box), but Quincy Promes hit the post from the spot and that miss made me cringe at the sideline. We needed the win so much and the second goal would have given us a huge advantage, but to miss a penalty in such a moment is a big let down. Moments of let downs continued in this game - Jay Enem wasted his clear cut chance in 34’ and when the first half finished with a 1:0 lead, I felt that our poor finishing hampered our game. We should have been 2:0 or 3:0 ahead at this point. Motivation of the players was evident in their body language. I detected no nervousness or pressure, but the finishing continued to be a problem in the second half. Alen Karahasanovic had a good chance to score in 59’, but his attempt was again saved by Timon Wellenreuther. In those circumstances it was almost inevitable that Vitesse would get their chance to equalize and that moment came in 76’ - Elliott Boyce was open after their quick counter when Tim Brown lost possession in attack, but Gürcan Dere showed his class to hold the ball with a very good save. That was it - a narrow win in a game where we created chances, but failed to finish them. But those three points were the most important and clinched our league title. we created 4 clear cut chances in this game, with only 8 key passes, but failed to take full advantage of the goal scoring opportunities we allowed Vitesse to make 26 dribbles in this game - way too many Player of the game: Joel Veltman - good in defense, provided an assist and overall good game from the captain 11.05.2025 - Heracles Almelo - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 34., 49. and 73. pen. Remy Boer With the title secured, I could relax for our last game of the season and distribute playing time to rotation players. Perr Schuurs and Joel Veltman picked up injuries in training and were out anyway. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Hillen, Lopes, Baas (60. Drommel), Brown, Sangare-Aka, Hansen (60. Barriere), Karahasanovic, Boer, Braspenning (71. Pinas) The first half was a very quiet game, with a low number of attempts. The only moment came in 34’ when Sontje Hansen’s attempt was blocked by Heracles’ defender, the ball fell to Remy Boer who finished it off to give us the lead. Boer continued well into the second half - his header from a corner extended our lead and when Carlos Manuel Lopes was fouled in a corner situation, it was Boer who stepped up to complete his hat-trick from the spot. It wasn’t the game where we kept Heracles’ defense under pressure for long periods. In fact, we only got four shots on target. But those moments were enough to score three goals and the final result looked fairly convincing. we had 60% possession in this game again, only 8 key passes - not the most creative attack Player of the game: Remy Boer - superb performance from the hat-trick hero Summary Good finish to our season - kept two clean sheets, took two wins and clinched the title with one game to go. Eredivisie We collected 80 points - a bit low, but good enough to win the title. We allowed Feyenoord to close the gap in the last couple of months, but their first half of the season was too poor to get any closer. PSV Eindhoven was a disappointment, AZ Alkmaar looked like title contenders until Christmas, but their form dropped in Spring. VVV Venlo was the real surprise package of the season and their third place is something that nobody expected. At the bottom of the table we have three teams relegated. FC Dordrecht and Roda JC Kerkrade were favourites to go down, as their squads didn’t look good enough to stay in the competition, but ADO Den Haag’s failure to get out of the relegation zone was a real surprise. They have a lot of good players in their team and other Eredivisie clubs will do their best to raid them in the coming Summer. ADO’s failure meant that FC Eindhoven survived another year.
  11. April 2025 Four games in April - schedule gets a lot easier and we have just one game in every week. I’m looking forward to securing our title (our opponents look easy enough and we need another three wins to secure our place), but the biggest match of the month is the cup final that is also the Klassieker derby against Feyenoord. It’s held at De Kuip this season, so we’ll go to our enemy’s home for the game. 05.04.2025 - FC Dordrecht - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 80. Friedrich Ndongala - 25. Tim Brown, 77. Philippe Barriere The smallest team in the league will come to this game after a surprising 1:0 win over Vitesse Arnhem. That result helped them to the 17th place and improved their morale significantly, so it could be a bit more difficult to beat them in the away game than it was in Johan Cruijff Arena. I try to balance rotation with strength for this game. Good news is that Sontje Hansen regained his fitness during the international window. Anass Salah-Eddine is also back in light training (and could be fit for the cup final). But Youri Baas injured himself in training before the match and he’ll be out for 3-4 weeks. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Hillen, Lopes, Drommel, Brown, Sangare-Aka, Promes, Karahasanovic (77. Hansen), Boer (68. Barriere), Enem I expected us to dominate the game more than we actually did in the first half, but we had to wait for a while for our good chances. Tim Brown gave us the lead with a header from a corner and that was our only goal before the half time. Jay Enem started to get good passes in the final 15 minutes, but he was wasteful with his opportunities, and a little bit unlucky, too - his attempt from a one-on-one situation in 45’ rattled the post. Enem continued to be a disappointment after the break. He had a free header from IFK in 54’, but it landed in the hands of the Dordrecht’s goalkeeper. Our narrow lead looked always a little fragile and even more so in 68’ when Dordrecht found their first clear cut chance of the game - Jeppe Gregersen received the pass and found himself with space and time in our box, but Dani van den Heuvel showed that he, too, can make important saves, and parried the attempt. Quincy Promes was our most creative player in attack and when Barriere came on, he was moved to AML. It was his attempt in 77’ that was blocked by the defender, but the ball fell to Barriere at the far post who could finish into the empty goal. 2:0 and it looked like the game was decided then, but it was still too early to relax. Dordrecht reacted well and their striker Friedrich Ndongala had the ball on a counter with only Rio Hillen to beat. Hillen, who was already booked, didn’t dare to make a proper challenge in the box and was passed too easily and Ndongala finished his one-on-one opportunity with an excellent strike to get Dordrecht back into this game. 1:2 and we were facing a rather nervous last ten minutes. Jay Enem’s poor game continued in 86’ when he saw his long shot hit the post (again), but we managed to hold onto our lead. The final whistle marked another win with a poor performance - nothing to be proud of, but got the job done. It could have been much easier if Jay Enem had scored a couple of goals from the chances that he had, but it was a poor display in front of the goal from him. we had 63% possession in this game we managed to create 3 clear cut chances - pretty good, but conceded 2 ccc-s, too Tim Brown scored his first league goal for Ajax Player of the game: Quincy Promes - delivered dangerous set pieces, created three chances, gave two assists and made 11 dribbles 13.04.2025 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 2:0 (ED) - 12. and 56. pen. Quincy Promes Feyenoord have no intention to drop points and they’ve continued their winning streak. We have maintained a six points gap with them, but need two more wins from our remaining games to secure the title, so when we hosted sc Heerenveen I had to revert back to our best eleven to get the job done. sc Heerenveen have dropped to 10th place in the table - their team has some potential, and they have a lot of depth in their squad, but perhaps they’d do better if they replace numbers with more quality. Their depth means that they have an ability to mix things up and offer a number of various tactics, so this could be a tricky game for us. We have Anass Salah-Eddine back in full training (great news!), so a bit more players are available for selection. The one player missing is Steven van der Sloot - it’s his turn now to be suspended after collecting five yellow cards. These bookings start to haunt us in the latter stages of the season and more and more players are either suspended or one yellow away from suspension. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Drommel (71. Salah-Eddine), Regeer, van de Beek, Promes, Karahasanovic (75. Sangare-Aka), Boer, Enem (71. Braspenning) sc Heerenveen had the first good chance of the game - Teun Wilke Braams received a defense-splitting pass in 7’ and went one-on-one against Gürcan Dere, but his shot was perhaps a little rushed and our goalkeeper made a great save to deny him. We then took control of the game - Quincy Promes produced some magic in 12’ by scoring a great goal from just outside of the box and that stunned Heerenveen for a while. At the half time we had a narrow lead, although Heerenveen had the best chance in the first period. The second half was also rather quiet. Remy Boer was tripped in the box and Promes converted a penalty to make it 2:0 and that was it. No more big chances in the second half and we took a solid win against a good team. It looked like they tried a bit more in the final 10-15 minutes, but we looked really good in defense, especially controlling the set piece situations. Alen Karahasanovic had to come off with an injury in 71’ - that’s a big loss for us ahead of the cup final. we lost possession 44/56 in this game Ismael Sangare-Aka made his 100th appearance for Ajax Alen Karahasanovic will be out for a week with a twisted knee Player of the game: Quincy Promes - an outstanding game from the winger, two goals and led our attacks 20.04.2025 - Feyenoord Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 1:2 (TOTO KNVB Beker Final) - 36. Soulyman Allouch - 65. Quincy Promes, 102. Sontje Hansen The cup final at De Kuip. Media and football journalists did their best to heat up rivalry and increase pressure before the final. It’s true that it’s always more special to play against Feyenoord or PSV in those games, but those press conferences turn more and more ridiculous when people continue to emphasize it in every possible question. The truth was that with the game being held at De Kuip, our rivals had a kind of home advantage this time (to be fair, plenty of times it’s been held at Johan Cruijff Arena as well), so I prepared for a tough game. Feyenoord has been just incredible in the second half of the season. Their last defeat came in January and they’ve won no less than 14 games straight after that. Rightfully in the 2nd position of the table in Eredivisie and the team to beat in this stage. I wanted to start with our best eleven and injuries have become better in the last week, too. Kian Fitz-Jim is in the rehabilitation phase of his recovery, Youri Baas and Alen Karahasanovic are back in light training, but I can’t use either of them. Anass Salah-Eddine is fortunately back and his 20 minutes against Heerenveen gave him the first competitive game after the injury, so I hope that he’ll do well enough despite lacking match fitness. Jay Enem has a tight thigh, but he’ll have to do with it - I’ll take him out if it gets worse. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, Sangare-Aka (113. Brown), Promes, van de Beek, Boer (77. Hansen), Enem (119. Braspenning) For the first ten minutes it looked like we had possession and small initiative in the game, but after that it was evident that Feyenoord’s attacking plan was much better. Their three forwards were so good with the ball and our defenders were always a little bit late to situations, so chances started to come and Gürcan Dere had to be alert. Marouan Azarkan tested him in 12’ and two minutes later there was a clear cut chance to Tamer Erdem, who took a fierce shot on target. Dere did brilliantly to save it and keep us in the game, but in 36’ Soulyman Allouch finally scored after another good combination. It was a deserved lead to Feyenoord who had been the better team in the first half and attacked continuously. At times we couldn’t cope with them at all and I knew that I had to make tactical changes if we wanted to turn this around. I tweaked our line of engagement, and some individual instructions. Switched from positive to balanced and back to positive. In the second half it looked like we got better control over our own third and Feyenoord’s chances dried up. Then it finally happened - a good combination from our right, Jay Enem left the ball to Promes, who squeezed it in from the near post - 1:1! The game-changing goal, as we now had initiative and Feyenoord looked puzzled. We couldn’t score another goal in normal time, so the game went to extra time. I would have been OK with penalties, but felt that we were a bit more comfortable on the pitch and the game was probably ours to take. In 102’ we finally found a breakthrough - Joel Veltman delivered a long ball forward to Sontje Hansen, who finished calmly with a placed shot. That was enough to take it and we won the cup after extra time. A really great win, because it was so, so difficult. Experience, skills and some tactical tweaks in the second half helped us to the win, but Feyenoord looked very strong and we had to show our best character to turn this around. Feyenoord had 23/11 shots in this game - most of those attempts came in the first half we made only 9 key passes, but Feyenoord had a similar number - both teams looked well organized and good defensively Quincy Promes scored his 10th goal of the season Player of the game: Jesper Jongmans (Feyenoord Rotterdam) - their left-back looked impressive in this final 27.04.2025 - AFC Ajax - FC Eindhoven 2:2 (ED) -2. Remy Boer, 13. Jay Enem - 29. Sven Blummel, 69. pen. Leandro Fernandes Three games to go and we actually need only one win, because of our superior goal difference. Feyenoord doesn’t want to let up and they’ve won their 32nd game already, so we have to continue winning as well. FC Eindhoven is a small team and shouldn’t be a threat to us. Home advantage (that’s our last home game of the season) makes us even more favourites for the game. Good news is that Youri Baas and Alen Karahasanovic are fit to start - the only player still missing is Kian Fitz-Jim. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (63. Baas), Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Promes (68. Hansen), Karahasanovic (79. van de Beek), Boer, Enem We started well and scored a flyer - Remy Boer finished into the near corner after a good combination from our left. Jay Enem doubled our lead in 13’ and it looked like FC Eindhoven had no answers in the first 20 minutes or so, but then it started to happen - first they had a goal disallowed (referee saw a push to Dani van den Heuvel after checking with VAR) and then Sven Blummel was left unmarked in our box and allowed to score with a volley. It has to be said that we picked ourselves up right away and created dangerous moments in front of the FC Eindhoven goal - Quincy Promes saw his attempt being tipped over by Nick Olij and Jay Enem had an easy tap-in, but his shot was tipped wide. Wasted opportunities again. At half time our lead was 2:1 - we were clearly the better team, but allowed FC Eindhoven back into the game and had to make sure to get all three points in the second half. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score another goal. Jay Enem had another clear cut chance in 53’ that was saved. In 68’ Rio Hillen made a completely unnecessary foul in the box while the ball was already heading over the byline and the referee had no other choice than to award the penalty to FC Eindhoven. It was slotted in by Fernandes and so it was 2:2 - Eindhoven had come back from 0:2 to equalize. I decided to take more risks to win the game and switched to attacking 4-2-3-1, but it didn’t help us. Instead, our opponents had a great chance to score a winner in 76’, but this time Dani van den Heuvel reacted well and saved Adrian Szöke’s attempt. Jay Enem saw his fierce shot being tipped over by Olij and that was it - a poor draw. After the final whistle I was furious at the sidelines. We let our two goal lead slip away against the smaller team and Jay Enem (as usual) wasted two clear cut chances in the process. Sure, we went to this game with a weakened team, but that’s no excuse in my eyes. That draw makes our task so much more difficult in the remaining games. we had 63% possession in this game our shooting was 22/12 Player of the game: Remy Boer - had a good game, scored a goal and made 9 dribbles with the ball Summary We’re still on course and when I think back to April, I have to be happy, because we won the cup against Feyenoord and it was such a difficult game for us. Dropped points against FC Eindhoven, but we’re still on course to win the league. Eredivisie We have a four point advantage over Feyenoord and VVV Venlo are firmly in the third position after AZ Alkmaar dropped points. To my surprise ADO Den Haag got relegated in April, after straight defeats. FC Dordrecht is bound to relegation play-offs, but for them it’s a success after sitting in 18th position for the most of the season. PSV Eindhoven needs to work hard to finish in the top six and get European football in the next season.
  12. Youth Intake 2025 In December I received the following preview from our Head of Youth Development. That was much worse than expected and it sparked the conversation with the board after which the club invested another £5,25m into the youth facilities. When March arrived, the actual bunch of youngsters that arrived to trials didn’t look so poor, actually. We have one talented winger (as promised), but also a decent midfielder. What is the biggest improvement in my eyes is that the mental stats and personalities of the players have improved, on average, so I could sign more players to our U-19 teams (in previous years I had to drop too many unambitious players). Tiago Silveira Incredibly talented right winger, as promised. Good with the ball, decent pace. Unfortunately - unambitious. I included him in first team training right away, hoping that his more experienced teammates can improve his personality in the coming years.
  13. March 2025 Only nine games to go in the Eredivisie season and we don’t have much pressure in the league. There’s the cup semi final in March against Vitesse and, of course, our second leg against FC Barcelona that requires more focus. March will also bring the anticipated youth intake. 02.03.2025 - FC Utrecht - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 12. Youri Regeer, 39. Donny van de Beek, 47. Jay Enem Although we have played all the big games in the league (with Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar), this one can be tricky - an away game against rivals demands that we’d do our best to win. Ismael Sangare-Aka has to sit this one out because of his suspension, but good news is that Alen Karahasanovic is back in full training and fit enough to get at least some minutes against FC Utrecht. I will start by testing Tim Brown in an unusual role for him (BBMs). Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (66. Baas), Regeer, Brown, van de Beek, Hansen (66. Barriere), van de Beek, Promes, Enem (66. Braspenning) The game looked fairly even at the beginning and FC Utrecht got the first two opportunities. We were unable to mark their striker Oussama Tannane properly and he got two good shots on target in the first six minutes. We responded with a header by Quincy Promes that striked the post and went wide. In 12’ we took the lead - Youri Regeer scored with a good header from a corner. The control of the game went to us, at least for a moment, but FC Utrecht still had some dangerous moments - Tannane fired wide in 23’ and Jurre van Aken hit the side-netting from close range in 28’. Gürcan Dere had a lot of action in the first half and he had to make some really good saves, too, but before the half-time whistle we managed to extend our lead to 2:0. Anass Salah-Eddine delivered a nice cutback to the box and Donny van de Beek was there to finish well. 2:0 after the first half, but in reality it was much more even in the first period and FC Utrecht played really well. I hoped that we could maintain our lead in the second half - instead we scored another goal right after the kick-off. Jay Enem received the ball in the box, turned well and hit it nicely next to the post from 12 meters. Good goal and with 3:0 our win looked much more secure. Anass Salah-Eddine had to come off with an injury in 66’. I made all three substitutions then and the game calmed down after that. Substitute Kik Braspenning had a great chance in 87’, but the attempt was easily held by the FC Utrecht goalkeeper, so another massive chance went begging for the striker. FC Utrecht’s Nicky Souren tested Gürcan Dere again in 90’, but another great save kept our clean sheet and the final score remained 3:0. Wasn’t an easy game by any means and on the pitch it was much closer than the final score indicates, but we did very well to score three goals and to come up on top of that tie. we lost possession 45/55 - a little bit surprising we made only 9 key passes defensively not very good - FC Utrecht had their tactics well set and they made 27 dribbles in this game, constantly catching us on our heels Anass Salah-Eddine has broken his ribs and he’ll be out for at least 5-6 weeks Player of the game: Donny van de Beek - good goal from the midfielder and created chances for others, too 05.03.2025 - Vitesse Arnhem - AFC Ajax 0:3 (TOTO KNVB Beker Semi Final) - 19. Remy Boer, 81. Rio Hillen, 90+2 Tim Brown The cup semi final is very important for us and the possible final against Feyenoord awaits us if we win this game. Vitesse have the home advantage in this game, so it might not be too easy for us. They have actually a rather mediocre squad and that shows in their league position (12th), but they’ve bolstered their ranks with loanees from Chelsea (as VVV have done with youngsters from West Ham) and that makes them a rather good team in some aspects. We miss Kian Fitz-Jim and Anass Salah-Eddine due to injuries, but Alen Karahasanovic is ready to start. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Baas, Regeer (81. Brown), Sangare-Aka, Promes (46. Hansen), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (80. Braspenning) We were the better team for the first 20 minutes or so. Quincy Promes was the most active in attack, creating chances for others and himself and Jay Enem missed his half-chance, before Remy Boer scored our first goal. It was an excellent goal - he cut in nicely from left and scored with a well placed right-footed strike. However, Vitesse got more and more into the game and it started to show in their attempts. Sam Lammers headed against the crossbar in 27’ and that was our first warning sign. We started to lose balls in attack and Vitesse moved well to counter-attacks and one of those passes found Nick Venema on the run. Gürcan Dere ran out of his line to make a superb save to deny this clear cut chance, but we looked more and more in trouble. Ex-Ajax player Christian Rasmussen saw his shot clip the post in 39’ and it was alarming how alone he was in our box. We retained our 1:0 lead until half-time, but Vitesse probably felt that they deserved at least one goal from that first period and I knew that if we continued like that into the second half, our lead wouldn’t last long. Vitesse came to the second half with high motivation and Sam Lammers got another good moment in 48’, but that was their last good chance of the game. We slowly got the grip back, their manager started to make substitutions - probably wrong ones, because Vitesse lost their attacking edge. In the final ten minutes we added another two goals from set pieces - birthday boy Rio Hillen scored from a corner and substitute Tim Brown headed in from a free kick in injury time. The final score 3:0 looked convincing enough, but the game itself could have gone either way in the first half, so it was a much closer contest than that. our shooting was 25/14 - we definitely kept their goal under pressure we made only 7 key passes in this game we had 15 corners and made our set pieces to count in the second half Remy Boer scored his 10th goal of the season Quincy Promes came off with a pulled groin at half time and he’ll be out for a week to recover from that we will play Feyenoord in the final - the rivals managed to beat Heracles Almelo with penalties after goalless 120 minutes Player of the game: Rio Hillen - good game defensively and a goal to top that performance 09.03.2025 - Willem II Tilburg - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 19. Jay Enem, 47. Rio Hillen With our place in the cup final secured, we continue with our Eredivisie campaign. We have mostly away games in our schedule in March and that next weekend takes us to the lovely Southern Netherlands town Tilburg. Willem II had a good first half of the season and at one point they were 4th-5th in the table, but their form has dropped a little and they’ve dropped back to the middle of the table. Still a decent team, although poor morale doesn’t help them and their 1:5 defeat from Johan Cruijff Arena is still in their mind. We have several players absent - Kian Fitz-Jim and Anass Salah-Eddine due to injuries, Quincy Promes has just returned to light training with his groin injury and it’s better for him to sit this one out. Joel Velmtan and Tim Brown are suspended after accumulating five yellow cards in this season. I have only seven substitutions for this game, so options are rather limited. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Baas (75. Drommel), Regeer, van de Beek, Barriere (72. Hansen), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (69. Braspenning) Tilburg welcomed us with a heavy rain and that left its mark on the match itself. I can say that we controlled the first half, because Willem II didn’t take any attempts in the first 45 minutes, but we had only two chances before half-time. Youri Regeer found Jay Enem with a beautiful long ball in 19’ and Enem finished with an equally good strike to give us the lead. He had another great chance late in the first half, but his close range header rattled against the crossbar. It was a narrow lead at half time, but I was satisfied enough with our efforts. We continued well in the second half and Rio Hillen quickly extended our lead with an excellent header from IFK. Perr Schuurs was the one to deliver the set piece. Alen Karahasanovic found Jay Enem with a lovely through ball in 63’, but the shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Willem II found their best chance of the game in 85’ - Vangelis Pavlidis got past of Perr Schuurs, Mo El Hankouri got through while Cor Drommel covered his offside and Gürcan Dere made a great save to parry the attempt. That was their final chance to come back into this game, so the final score remained 0:2 and that was a good enough result for us. Our performances were uneven - some players were very good, but most of the team looked rather average and needed to do better in the next games. we had 65% possession and good control of the game Rio Hillen scored his first league goal for Ajax we made only 9 key passes we had 3 clear cut chances - all of them fell to Jay Enem, who scored a great goal, but again were wasteful with his opportunities we allowed Willem II to make 24 dribbles and made 21 mistakes in the game - not the best stats; perhaps rain was a factor Player of the game: Youri Regeer - good midfield playmaking, 5 key passes and a lovely assist from him 15.03.2025 - Roda JC Kerkrade - AFC Ajax 1:0 (ED) - 84. Jelano Tromp Next up - struggling Roda JC. The team that was promoted into the Eredivisie last Summer. They were predicted to struggle against relegation and it has indeed been a difficult season for them - they’re 17th in the table and look to go to relegation play-offs. The quality just isn’t there to challenge for higher places and they’d be happy to retain their place in the top division. So, with a tough Champions League game coming up in just three days, we rotate boldly and take this game a bit easier. Yellow cards and suspensions are mounting up and this time it’s Youri Baas who has to skip a game. Young Cor Drommel is our only decent left-back and he’ll get his first start for the club. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Drommel, Brown, van den Beek (62. Sangare-Aka), Barriere (76. Promes), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (62. Braspenning) We weren’t in sync for the game and pre-match team talk didn’t do the work properly. The players looked a little bit nervous. That nervousness meant that even though we controlled possession in the first half and created three half-chances, we couldn’t score a goal and things in attack weren’t as smooth as I’ve used to see. The second half continued in the same fashion and substitutions didn’t help, either. We were the better team on the pitch, but didn’t put Roda JC under pressure and they looked patient to defend and wait for their chance. The chance didn’t come, but the goal came and a little bit out of nowhere - their substitute Jelano Tromp hit a little bit ambitious shot from 19 meters that came off the bar and went over the line. That was the winning goal. Needless to say that I was furious at the sideline and the fact that we couldn’t show the necessary desire and intensity to score the equalizer in the final ten minutes didn’t improve my mood either. There are not many games in a season where I feel that screaming at the players is justified after the game, but this was one of those and I let myself go in the dressing room. we made only 6 key passes in this game - inability to move without ball and find a good pass was the main problem in our game our average rating was just 6.74 - almost no good performances Player of the game: Jelano Tromp (Roda JC Kerkrade) - young midfielder was the hero for Roda JC in this game with his goal 18.03.2025 - AFC Ajax - FC Barcelona 2:0 (Champions League 1st knockout round 2nd leg) - 69. Alen Karahasanovic, 78. Jay Enem Not sure how we could overturn our two goal deficit at home. To make things worse, we miss a lot of players - Anass Salah-Eddine and Kian Fitz-Jim are injured, Ismael Sangare-Aka, Perr Schuurs and Youri Regeer are suspended. Options are limited and we have just 5-6 decent substitutions for the game. I chose a 4-2-3-1 balanced formation. Squad: Dere, van der Sloot, Veltman, Lopes, Baas, Brown, van de Beek, Promes (86. Hansen), Karahasanovic (105. Drommel), Boer, Enem I didn’t have any expectations, only hoped for a decent result, and in the first half things went according to plan. We didn’t give Barca strikers any easy chances and the only really dangerous moment in front of our goal happened in injury time before the half time whistle, when Marcus Rashford received the ball in our box, but Gürcan Dere tipped it wide with a great save. The first half was encouraging, so we switched to a positive mentality at half time and it started to improve our game even further. Remy Boer was tripped in the box in 53’ and the referee awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Quincy Promes couldn’t finish it off and his spot kick was saved by the FC Barcelona goalkeeper. That didn’t stop us for long - in 69’ we had a corner and the ball fell to Alen Karahasahovic, who found the net. The Bosnian midfielder had a big role in our second goal, too - his long ball forward found Jay Enem on the run and the striker finished his one-on-one chance expertly. 2:0! We were level on aggregate. Barcelona players suddenly looked nervous and I had a feeling that the game was ours to take and we shouldn’t let this opportunity pass. It went all the way to extra time, when we also had the best opportunities - Jay Enem’s strike in 104’ was saved against the post by the goalkeeper, but then Youri Baas received his second yellow card and we were left to 10 men. That required the change of tactics and for the last 15 minutes we concentrated on defense to take this game to the penalty shoot-out, even though Kylian Mbappe hit the post in 112’. Despite our efforts, we couldn’t win the shoot-out. Donny van de Beek and Tim Brown missed their penalties. Gürcan Dere made one save in the shoot-out, but Barcelona won 4-3 and went through the next round. That was a harsh result to take, because we really looked like a better team in this home game, but that’s football. I can’t fault the performance, the lads gave their everything. Perhaps the only regret was the penalty that Promes missed in the second half, but we played a lot better than I expected. we managed to create 3 clear cut chances against FC Barcelona - that’s impressive Sontje Hansen picked up a knock and he’ll be out for a week with a twisted knee Player of the game: Tim Brown - the young midfielder was outstanding, gave 6 key passes and although he missed his penalty in the shoot-out, played incredibly well against such an opponent 21.03.2025 - AFC Ajax - ADO Den Haag 2:1 (ED) - 14. Alen Karahasanovic, 68. Carlos Manuel Lopes - 57. Joel Piroe We want to finish our month with a good result - defeat from Roda JC still haunts our minds and although we played a really good game against Barca, the final result didn’t come our way. There were only three days between games and extra time against Barcelona was clearly in the legs. Our team selection was based on fitness more than anything else. Sontje Hansen was out because of his injury and Remy Boer was suspended for the game - that narrowed our options even further. Squad: van den Heuvel, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes (73. Hillen), Baas (79. Drommel), Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Barriere, Karahasanovic, Promes, Enem (73. Braspenning) We needed to work hard in the first half to get control over the game - neither of the teams couldn’t create any real chances in the first period, but Alen Karahasanovic scored with a header to give us the lead in 14’ and that was good enough at the half-time. ADO equalized in the second half - Joel Piroe won a header from a corner and that landed in our goal. Poor set piece defense, nothing else. Our position improved in 64’ - Alen Karahasanovic moved to a counter-attack with the ball and Jurgen Mattheij fouled him to stop the attack. It was well outside of the box, but the referee judged that he was the last man in defense and the red card was shown. We used our advantage well - Carlos Manuel Lopes headed in from a corner four minutes later. Youri Regeer’s mistake in midfield gave ADO another great chance to equalize, but Yassine El Baz’s shot was tipped over by Dani van den Heuvel - a great save from our backup goalkeeper who showed that he, too, can save the team when necessary. The final whistle called for our 2:1 win, but that was another poor performance and not at all convincing. we had 62% possession in this game we couldn’t create any real chances in this game - that’s a rare one! Player of the game: Carlos Manuel Lopes - 6 key headers, a goal and overall good performance Summary March started well, but we got cocky and Roda JC punished us with the late goal out of nowhere. Our performance against ADO Den Haag wasn’t impressive either, so the challenge for April is to keep our focus on every game and get necessary results to secure our league title. Home game against FC Barcelona was actually a big surprise - I didn’t expect us to win. In truth - we should have won by three goals if we took our chances better. To go out after a penalty shoot-out doesn’t hurt if we’ve played our best football, so I’m pretty happy with our Champions League campaign this season. One interesting news from Eredivisie - Vitesse Arnhem sacked their manager in March and at the end of the month they announced the appointment of Erik ten Hag. Great signing for them, obviously. Let’s see if that improves their form. Eredivisie With our defeat to Roda JC we’ve allowed Feyenoord to get another three points closer. VVV Venlo is still in the top three and PSV Eindhoven is out of European places. ADO Den Haag have dropped to 18th place and FC Dordrecht (perhaps surprisingly) have collected some points and try desperately to climb out of the danger zone.
  14. February 2025 02.02.2025 - AFC Ajax - Sparta Rotterdam 2:1 (ED) - 27. Sontje Hansen, 51. Jay Enem - 84. Bart Ramselaar After two good wins we’re in good form and it feels that our rhythm is back. We’re definitely confident going against teams in home games. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine, Regeer, van de Beek (62. Sangare-Aka), Hansen (62. Barriere), Karahasanovic, Boer (62. Promes), Enem It was a very entertaining first half. Sontje Hansen was the most active player in our attacks - his solo run at 4’ led to our first clear cut chance and he opened the scoring with a good half-volley after a cross from Remy Boer. Jay Enem was again wasteful with his chances, but as we had more moments, Sparta looked dangerous enough from set pieces - they won plenty of headers in our box and that forced us to cut back with fouls. Jay Enem got to the score sheet after the half-time break - a good cross from Salah-Eddine led to the goal and I was bold enough to make all three substitutions in 62’. That broke our rhythm a little bit and Sparta started to find more chances in the last 30 minutes. Their Icelandic winger Helgi Viktorsson had perhaps the best opportunity in 70’, but he volleyed over the crossbar from open position. Sparta scored the goal, eventually, and it came from a corner. Ismael Sangare-Aka looked too passive and didn’t clear the ball properly and Bart Ramselaar lunged in with a tackle to take this ball over the line. I was unhappy with how the game finished, but we held onto that narrow lead and took all three points again. our shooting was 24/12 in this game we created 3 clear cut chances (and wasted all of them) - if our finishing was more clinical, our scores would be much more impressive Player of the game: Jairo Simons (Sparta Rotterdam) - Sparta playmaker gave 5 key passes and created 3 chances for his teammates, leading the game in the second half 09.02.2025 - FC Emmen - AFC Ajax 1:4 (ED) - 23. pen. Miguel Araujo - 34. Jay Enem, 51. Remy Boer, 58. pen. Quincy Promes, 74. Philippe Barriere FC Emmen should be a slightly easier opponent, but, having said that, I have to admit that our home game against them finished 2:2 and was perhaps the result of our underestimation. We have some players missing for this game - Kian Fitz-Jim injured, Perr Schuurs is suspended with five yellow cards and Steven van der Sloot is still in the African tournament with the Cameroon national team. Squad: van den Heuvel, Veltman, Hillen, Lopes, Baas, Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Hansen (46. Boer), Karahasanovic, Promes (66. Barriere), Enem (66. Braspenning) We did OK until the first mistake in 22’ - Joel Veltman clumsily tripped FC Emmen’s young winger Martin Polman in our box and our opponents were awarded the penalty. Just like in the first game at Johan Cruijff Arena, Miguel Araujo stepped up to score from the spot. We reacted quickly enough and Jay Enem equalized with a header from a free kick. The first half was brought to an end at 1:1, but we gained momentum after the equalizer and looked like favourites after the first period. Sontje Hansen had suffered a knock in the game, so I replaced him with Remy Boer at the half-time and the second half started much better for us. Quincy Promes had a crack in 48’ and managed to hit the crossbar, before substitute Boer made an impact with a goal in 51’. We were careless to give FC Emmen another chance - Greg Leigh had a great opportunity to equalize from a free-kick, but his shot was tipped over with a good save from van den Heuvel and when Lopes was pushed in the box and Promes converted the penalty, the game looked well under our control. It wasn’t over, though - Youri Regeer received his second yellow card of the game in 67’ and it was a stupid booking to take. He played handball in the opponent’s box and was sent off as a result. We were left with 10 men, but FC Emmen couldn’t take advantage of that. Instead, Philippe Barriere added another goal in 74’ to make it 4:1 and that was the result I could be happy with. The second half included much more positive for us despite that red card. Jay Enem scored his 20th goal of the season Sontje Hansen will be out for a week with a groin strain Player of the game: Quincy Promes - scored from a penalty, delivered free kick that led to our first goal and did generally well in attack The African Cup of Nations is finally over and Cameroon have won it! Incredible success for them and the whole team welcomed Steven van der Sloot back after his successful tournament with the Cameroon national team. 12.02.2025 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 3:0 (TOTO KNVB Beker Quarter Final) - 21. and 78. Alen Karahasanovic, 53. Jay Enem Now we have two back to back home games against VVV Venlo coming up. The first one was the cup quarter final and a little bit of a revenge match, because VVV stunned us 1:0 in November. VVV are still third in the Eredivisie table and their fairy tale continues in the league. Their success relies heavily on loan players from West Ham United and they’ve added another two youngsters to their squad in January that look very good for the Eredivisie level. Squad: van den Heuvel, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Baas, Regeer (53. Brown), van de Beek, Promes (63. Barriere), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (53. Braspenning) We played a good first half and controlled the game well - Donny van de Beek had a half-chance in 6’ that was met with a fine stop from the VVV goalkeeper, but in 21’ we took the lead. Remy Boer, Jay Enem and Alen Karahasanovic combined beautifully from midfield to crack their defense open and Karahasanovic finished with a placed shot to give us the lead. Jay Enem headed against the post in 33’ and few other attempts looked promising enough, but it remained 1:0 until half time. VVV couldn’t create much in the first half and Dani van den Heuvel didn’t have to make any saves in the first period. They had better moments after the break, though. Aiden Toal saw his header clipped the crossbar on its way over right after the kick-off, but overall we remained in control of the game. Jay Enem extended our lead with a good header after a corner and then we could relax and make substitutions. Kik Braspenning came on and looked very motivated to get his name to the score sheet. He had one good free kick that the VVV goalkeeper brought away from the bottom corner and then had a great chance to score when Philippe Barriere found him in front of the goal with a lovely cross. Braspenning’s shot was blocked, but the ball fell to Karahasanovic who scored his second goal of the game. The Bosnian midfielder had a chance to complete his hat-trick before the last minute, but his left-footed shot was held comfortably by the goalkeeper. It remained 3:0, but it was still a very good result and I was happy with the performance. we had 62% possession in this game our shooting was 29/15 VVV failed to get a single shot on target out of their 5 attempts we made 21 individual mistakes - a little bit too much, but most of those were missed interceptions high on the pitch that didn’t lead to any dangerous chances we will play Vitesse Arnhem in the semi final Player of the game: Alen Karahasanovic - great game from the midfielder - scored two goals and his movement into the box caused all sorts of problems to VVV defenders 16.02.2025 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 0:1 (ED) - 90.+4 Cailin Knock The repeat game in four days. Sontje Hansen has recovered from his injury and he’s back in full training, but we miss Youri Regeer due to suspension. I don’t have any particular worries about him, because Tim Brown played 30 minutes against VVV in the first game and did well. Because of our strong position in the league I can rotate freely and distribute playing time. Squad: van den Heuvel, van der Sloot, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine, Brown, van den Beek, Promes, Karahasanovic (41. Sangare-Aka), Boer (70. Barriere), Enem (81. Braspenning) The first half was pretty good - we controlled the game and looked comfortable enough and weren’t too far away from the first goal. Jay Enem moved well and found himself three half-chances in the first 20 minutes, but his attempts were dealt with comfortably by the VVV goalkeeper Alexei Koselev. The most significant event happened in 41’ - Alen Karahasanovic had to come off with injury and I had to make changes before the half-time. Ismael Sangare-Aka came on to midfield and Donny van de Beek moved to AMC position. That affected our second half and in a negative way - van de Beek has an excellent work rate, but he’s less skilled with the ball and creating chances for others, so it looked like VVV defended fairly comfortably. Most of our attempts were headers (often from set pieces) and most of those headers went well over the crossbar. And while we struggled to create chances and were goalless after ninety minutes of football, the punishment came - VVV had a late free kick, Cailin Knock got away from Anass Salah-Eddine and finished his chance well. Dani van den Heuvel couldn’t save us and with the late set piece goal VVV took the second win against us in this season. I was obviously very upset and disappointed with the result. We lacked attacking options from the bench (with Fitz-Jim and Karahasanovic out and Sontje Hansen a little tired), but that’s no excuse. We should have been better and failed to deliver. Anass Salah-Eddine showed again why he’s a liability in defense. we had 63% possession, but failed to make it count Quincy Promes made his 200th appearance for Ajax in this game Alen Karahasanovic will be out for 2-3 weeks with pulled ankle ligaments Player of the game: Quincy Promes - most creative player in our attack, set up 3 chances for others and made 10 dribbles 23.02.2025 - AFC Ajax - PSV Eindhoven 3:0 (ED) - 10. Donny van de Beek, 25. Ismael Sangare-Aka, 44. Remy Boer Time to shake up that defeat, because next is the Topper Derby against PSV Eindhoven. PSV have failed to impress in this season - they’ve been somewhere between 5-9th position and failed to challenge for the title. Another reason to celebrate: it appears that it’s my 300th game in football management. I’ve been here now for a while. Youri Regeer has served his suspension, but we miss Alen Karahasanovic and Kian Fitz-Jim is also still injured. Squad: Dere, Veltman (63. van der Sloot), Schuurs, Lopes, Baas, Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Promes, van de Beek, Boer (56. Hansen), Enem (63. Braspenning) We took control of the game at 10’ after Donny van de Beek headed in from a free kick. It was very similar to our first derby of the season - PSV actually defended well, but our goals came from set pieces and individual skills, not from open chances. Ismael Sangare-Aka started in midfield and he scored the most outstanding goal of the game with a volley from the edge of the area and to make matters worse for PSV, their young midfielder Jordi van der Linden was sent off in 33’ after a reckless challenge on Quincy Promes. With PSV down to 10 men it was much easier for us and Remy Boer headed in late in the first half to make it 3:0 before the half-time whistle. The second half was fairly uneventful - we substituted and didn’t take any risks and PSV were unable to create much threat to our goal. Ismael Sangare-Aka had a good game, but in injury time he too was sent off for a two-footed challenge on a PSV player. Very stupid mistake, as he tried to make up for his own defensive error. Fortunately for us it happened very late in the game, so it didn’t change the outcome, but it definitely left a mark on Sangare-Aka’s performance and he has to skip our next league game, too. The final result was still fairly convincing and I’m sure the fans went home happy. our shooting was 20/12 in this game we made only 8 key passes in this game - PSV defended well, even with 10 men Quincy Promes has now given 10 assists in this season Donny van de Beek scored his 50th career league goal Player of the game: Ismael Sangare-Aka - a great goal from the midfielder and well played until the red card 26.02.2025 - FC Barcelona - AFC Ajax 2:0 (Champions League 1st knockout round 1st leg) - 10. Marcus Rashford, 26. Raheem Sterling When it was first announced that we got Barca as our first knockout round opponent, it seemed incredibly unfair. After all, we did so well to finish first in our group and deserved a little bit easier pair, but now it looks like our Champions League campaign will be over after the first round. Barcelona is extremely strong in the 2024/2025 season - Lionel Messi is retired, but they have collected an incredible attacking force to Camp Nou - Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Antoine Griezmann. It’s difficult to imagine that we could keep them at bay over two legs. I was aware of that threat and so we started the away game with a cautious 4-2-3-1 formation. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Baas (73. Salah-Eddine), Regeer, Sangare-Aka, Promes, van de Beek, Boer (46. Hansen), Enem (84. Braspenning) The first half belonged to FC Barcelona and they took the lead at 10’ - we were unable to stop Alan Henrique’s cross to the near post and Rashford anticipated it well and got there first. 0:1. The second goal was the exact copy of the first one, only this time it was Raheem Sterling who put in the finishing touch. We couldn’t get a single shot in the first half and it was difficult to see how we could get something out of this game if we didn’t change anything. It looked like our approach was too defensive and so we switched to a balanced mentality in the second half and it helped a little - we started to get some shots (at least), and some set pieces that could possibly lead to a goal, but that didn’t happen. Barcelona continued to get better opportunities in attack, but at least we did better defensively and didn’t allow another goal (they hit the frameworks twice, though). In the end it remained 0:2 and I was slightly disappointed. The motivation was there from our part, but the skills probably weren’t and Barcelona deserved to win. our average rating was just 6.68 we made only 3 key passes and couldn’t create any chances in this game tactical lesson - we should have started with balanced mentality; we were too defensive in the first half and gave the initiative away we made 30 individual mistakes in this game (20 missed interceptions) - evident lack of skills against bigger opponent Player of the game: Alan Henrique (FC Barcelona) - the right back delivered two assists and was the best player on the pitch Summary Mixed set of results in February. We’re doing very well in the Eredivisie and I’m getting more and more relaxed about our league games, so even the defeat against VVV Venlo doesn’t bother me too much. We’re also still in the cup and have all the chances to add silverware to our trophy cabinet. The Barcelona game went as expected. At least 0:2 is a respectable score that leaves us something to play for in the second leg. Eredivisie AZ Alkmaar has lost some momentum in February and VVV Venlo have been excellent to claim the third position. Feyenoord have been climbing up steadily and I expect them to finish 2nd at the end of the season. No changes in the bottom three.
  15. January 2025 We played two friendlies in January and the first one against RSC Anderlecht ended sadly for Kian Fitz-Jim - he suffered a broken foot due to a rough challenge and unfortunately it needs at least 5-6 months to recover, so his season is over. We’ve lost a talented young midfielder and that’s a big loss - Remy Boer has now opportunity to step up, but he needs to be at his best to carry the load in our first eleven. We also lost Steven van der Sloot and Ismael Sangare-Aka for a couple of weeks, because it’s time for the Africa Cup of Nations and they’ll be away with their national teams. It doesn’t hurt us particularly, because they’re not in my first eleven, but it takes away options for rotation and substitutions. Apart from friendlies I made one staff decision and appointed Lorenzo Buenaventura as our new B team fitness coach. The 4,5* fitness coach is a good addition to our backroom staff. 18.01.2025 - FC Twente Enschede - AFC Ajax 1:1 (ED) - 12. Ondrej Mihalik - 4. Remy Boer Back to Eredivisie and our first away game takes us to Enschede. FC Twente have had a good season so far - predicted to be in the bottom third of the table, they’re now 7th and have played well above their level, but this game will be difficult for them, because they miss several key players in midfield and that gives us an advantage in the game. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Baas (55. Salah-Eddine), Regeer, van de Beek, Promes (69. Hansen), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (78. Braspenning) We took off with a flyer. The goal came from a free kick - Jay Enem did well to win the first aerial duel and send the ball across the goal, where Remy Boer anticipated well to poke it into the empty net. Unfortunately we quickly allowed FC Twente to equalize and that, too, was a set piece goal. Ondrej Mihalik won a header against Carlos Manuel Lopes (sic!) and put it past Gürcan Dere. The rest of the game was under our control - we had 75% in the first half, but FC Twente defended deep with nine men and it was difficult to get our shots on target. The same continued into the second half and it was actually FC Twente who got the best chance of the game - Mihalik had a good look in 60’, but this time Lopes was there on time to block his attempt. It remained 1:1 and I have to admit that it was a tactical win for FC Twente. They used their moments well and their defensive plan worked, although it must have been really difficult to fight so hard defensively all game. we had 67% possession our shooting was 26/8 in this game - kept the pressure, but couldn’t get shots on target we made only 9 key passes - not much space between our opponent’s defensive lines Player of the game: Remy Boer 21.01.2025 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 3:0 (TOTO KNVB Beker 3rd round) - 17. pen. Youri Regeer, 30. Sontje Hansen, 31. Jay Enem The first serious (Eredivisie) opponent in the cup. sc Heerenveen are currently 15th in the table, but their form has improved lately, so I expect them to climb higher in the table and so they shouldn’t be taken easily in this game either. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Hillen, Salah-Eddine (72. Drommel), Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen (46. Barriere), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (46. Braspenning) We played very well in the first half. Jay Enem had the first good look in 6’, but this time his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. We took the lead at 17’ - Youri Regeer scored from the spot after Perr Schuurs was pushed in the box. After Enem wasted another clear cut chance, we finally decided matters around 30’ - Sontje Hansen scored with a beautiful strike from the edge of the area and Jay Enem quickly added another goal just a minute later. Regeer saw his header clip the crossbar in 35’ and Donny van de Beek’s clear cut chance was parried with a brilliant save. Despite those missed chances, at the half-time we were leading 3:0 and the fight was over. I used the opportunity to rest players in the second half and send out substitutes. The game slowed down and we couldn’t create as many moments after the break, but we didn’t need to. The final score was convincing enough. our shooting was 22/13 in this game we created 4 clear cut chances Player of the game: Perr Schuurs sc Heerenveen manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst was sacked after that defeat - 15th position in the Eredivisie table was poor for them and now with their cup run over, the results speak for themselves and the patience ran out in the boardroom 25.01.2025 - AFC Ajax - FC Groningen 4:0 (ED) - 6. pen. Youri Regeer, 34. Carlos Manuel Lopes, 59. Jay Enem, 74. Remy Boer FC Groningen is another strong team, but we have the home advantage and after sc Heerenveen win we have found our rhythm again. Squad: Dere, Veltman, Schuurs, Lopes, Salah-Eddine (60. Drommel), Regeer, van de Beek, Hansen (60. Barriere), Karahasanovic, Boer, Enem (60. Braspenning) I expected a tough game, but in fact it was extremely one-sided. We took the lead early on after a penalty and completely controlled the game after that. Carlos Manuel Lopes scored from a corner and Jay Enem wasted his clear cut chance in the first half, but there were plenty of other good attempts and half chances. The second half continued in the same way and I believe that we should have scored even more goals. Anass Salah-Eddine was a little bit unlucky to hit the post in 52’, Jay Enem continued to waste his chances with another miss, before he finally scored - this time with a wonderful strike from just outside of the area that went in off the bar. It looks like he’s just unable to execute from open positions, but instead scores with headers and long range attempts that are much more difficult to get in. Remy Boer wrapped things up for us with another goal from a corner and 4:0 marked an emphatic home win. FC Groningen really didn’t put up a fight and it looked like their tactics were too defensive to get anything out of this game. Good for us. our shooting was 30/17 and we created 5 clear cut chances - very dominant game we didn’t allow FC Groningen to create any chances we gave 28 key passes we had 8.00 average rating Player of the game: Alen Karahasanovic - an outstanding performance from the attacking midfielder, who created most of the chances and gave three assists Summary Failed to win against FC Twente, but generally did OK in those three games. Resuming the season after the winter break is often difficult and rhythm can be lost, but we look good enough. We’ve missed some players in January, but that hasn’t affected our performances. The transfer window was quiet and we didn’t make any deals. The players who are in the team at the moment can get enough playing time in Ajax and we don’t need to send anybody to loan either. The most interesting bit of transfer action was PSG’s offer for Remy Boer, but I rejected and they failed to unsettle him (at least so far). The most noteworthy news from other clubs is that sc Heerenveen appointed Mark van Bommel as their new manager. Eredivisie Just a couple of games hasn’t made much difference compared to December.
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