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Draakon

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  1. Youth Update 2036 This year’s youth intake exceeded my expectations. I didn’t get a proper left back that I hoped for, but we received six great prospects and two of those could become key players in the first team. It’s a very high overall level of those youngsters that makes me happy. Lamin Plat Excellent right-back in this age. Driven mentality, consistent performer and excellent teamwork are keywords, but his overall attributes are also impressive. Wesley Graafland Another striker (our youth ranks might get too crowded in this position) - professional nature, very determined and also could become a decent free kick taker. Still a long way from being a complete forward in our single striker formation. Soren Vlijter Young centre-back. Very talented and quick - that suits with our high defensive line, but has some weak spots too - balanced nature and low determination can be improved by tutoring. Overall consistency might be better. Needs some work if he wants to become first team player here. Henk Blom A little bit unorthodox midfielder. Professional nature is a big advantage, but he’s very tall and he needs work in most departments. Consistency might be an issue. Not sure he can excel in our formation and roles in midfield, but let’s see what I can get out of him. Chandra Purwanto Can play various positions from DC to MC, but looks the most like DMC for me. Should be better in the air to become a centre-back, but good attributes overall. A little bit injury-prone, as my physios have warned me. Simon Roger Benteke Good centre-back prospect. Fairly determined and very consistent performer, but flaws are also evident - needs to be quicker, stronger, more composed and work better in the unit. Could make it, but might not.
  2. March 2036 So, without even noticing it, we’ve got through difficult February into March. We have six games in March and some key fixtures in the list are two games in Europa League against Shakhtar Donetsk and the Topper derby with PSV in which we hope to take revenge for the humiliating defeat in Autumn. 05.03.2036 - FC Groningen - AFC Ajax 0:2 (Dutch Cup Semi Final) - 37. Raimond Burg, 66. Stan Knol We start our month with the cup semi final against FC Groningen. Good news before the game is that Simon Janssen is back in full training and ready to start this game. Mithat Arabaci has returned to light training and so we’re finally close to full fitness. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff (68. Herder), Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, de Groot, Sener Arslan, Janssen (53. Hoogdorp), Burg, van Dalen, de Wit (63. Knol) It was even battle in the first half and both teams defended well, but in 37’ we found the first goal - Johan van Dalen delivered a perfect cross to Raimond Burg and the right winger made it 1:0. Simon Janssen had a half chance in the end of the first half, but his shot went wide and that was it for the first half. The game continued in the same fashion after the break. Substitute Stan Knol doubled our lead in 66’ after a good forward pass from Burg and when FC Groningen’s Nicolas Soria was sent off in 73’ for a reckless tackle on Johan van Dalen, the game was decided. van Dalen had a great chance to add another goal in injury time, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper. Nevertheless, a good win for us and we’ve through to the final with a confident performance. I was happy with what I saw on the pitch - very well played game in defense, well-organized formation and good discipline. we didn’t give FC Groningen any real chances we made 21 individual mistakes - not too good, but teammates covered well for those errors we will play PSV Eindhoven in the final Raimond Burg was outstanding in this game 08.03.2036 - AFC Ajax - MVV Maastricht 1:1 (ED) - 10. Tarik de Wit - 80. Yacine Benali The first league game in March was at home against MVV Maastricht. MVV are 10th in the table and to be honest - our minds were already on Shakhtar game and I hoped that our rotation players could take all three points and give some key players a day off. MVV play pretty standard 4-4-2 formation. Squad: Florentina, Noordhoff, Schans, Hendriks, Lichaba, de Groot, Sener Arslan, Janssen (59. Hoogdorp), Burg, van Dalen (53. van der Aar), de Wit (53. Knol) We dominated the first half and Tarik de Wit gave us the lead with a good header in 10’. Soon after our goal, we gave MVV a great chance to equalize, but Raul Ibanez sent his shot well wide. It was a deserved lead for us at half time, but sure we could use some more chances than we created and most of our shots went off target. The second half looked very similar - we dominated midfield, but couldn’t get shots on target. Stan Knol had a half-chance in 64’, but his shot was brilliantly saved by MVV goalkeeper. We couldn’t capitalize our possession and general control of the game and eventually we were punished by MVV. It was the second clear cut chance that we gave MVV in this game and this time our defense was completely taken apart, so that Yacine Benali could had a clear look on our goal and his finish was calm and composed. The game finished 1:1 and I was very upset with the result. I felt that we should have decided the game earlier, but we didn’t and so we dropped two points in a manner that was not acceptable. our shooting was 18/5 Tarik de Wit finally got to scoresheet after 798 minutes of football without a goal Player of the game: Marc van Leeuwen (MVV Maastricht) 13.03.2036 - Shakhtar Donetsk - AFC Ajax 1:1 (Europa League 2nd knockout round 1st leg) - 11. Stef Veldman - 16. Artem Solovjov Our tie with Shakhtar is very important. Both teams are evenly matched and bookies put emphasis on home advantage. I feel that we have a realistic chance to get through against Ukrainian side and so we will do our best to succeed. Winning is extra important, because Ukraine and Russia are two countries that fight with Holland in the League reputation table and UEFA club/league coefficient table. So - if we have a chance to move forward in expense of them, the best. But the first leg was held in Ukraine, so that meant a long journey for us. We practiced defensive positioning before the game. Team news is that Mithat Arabaci is back in full training, but Stan Knol damaged his knee cap in training and he’ll be out for 4 weeks. I used our well-proven European tactics - asked the players to be more disciplined and play wider to take advantage of crosses. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder (78. Noordhoff), Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Sastrodimedjo (65. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman (69. Burg), van Dalen, de Wit Working on crosses paid dividends almost immediately. Johan van Dalen found Stef Veldman with a wonderful cross and right winger used his chance to give us the lead in 11’. However, Shakhtar equalized just five minutes later - Nabil Herder made a bad mistake and his missed header gave Artem Solovjov a great chance and there wasn’t much that Ismet Gluhalic could do about that. It was 1:1 after 16 minutes, but we had away goal and that could be crucial in overall score. We continued to play well and created some better chances in the first half - Stef Veldman wasted his opportunity in 31’ and in 35’ Tarik de Wit saw is shot from close range being saved by Shakhtar goalkeeper. Shakhtar players looked a little bit complacent in this first half and that opened up things for us, but our finishing could have been better. We continued to show good football after half time break, but finishing didn’t improve (or Shakhtar goalkeeper just had a great game against us). Tarik de Wit put a fierce shot on target - that was saved with difficulties, but Johan van Dalen couldn’t score from the rebound. Stef Veldman hit the post in 60’ when it was easier to score. Missed chances accumulated and we almost came to regret them when the second bad mistake by Nabil Herder gave Shakhtar’s striker Souza a clear cut chance. Gluhalic was ready and tipped his shot over the bar. Entertaining second half finished 1:1 - we can be happy with the draw and away goal, but I hope that those missed chances won’t cost us that aggregate win in the end. We could have been much more decisive with our finishing. we created 5 clear cut chances in this game Player of the game: Junior (Shakhtar Donetsk) 16.03.2034 - NEC Nijmegen - AFC Ajax 2:1 (ED) - 56. and 83. pen. Wim Splinter - 63. Fred Koeman NEC Nijmegen are 18th in the table and with the second leg game coming up against Shakhtar, I took a calculated risk and rotated freely to give key players a day off. Tarik de Wit needed a rest and so 17 years old Wim Mulder was brought to the first team and he was handed his first start for Ajax. Mulder is a bit unorthodox player, so his role in our formation was DLFs. It’s also nice to check up on Mark van der Plas who’s done fairly well for NEC during his loan spell. Squad: Florentina, Noordhoff, Schans, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot, Sener Arslan, Hoogdorp (70. Sastrodimedjo), Burg, van der Aar (56. van Dalen), Mulder (56. de Wit) Things weren’t quite right in the first half. We looked OK on the pitch and our commitment was good, but as the team our movement was somehow out of sync. NEC almost took advantage of that - they got their best chance in 5’ when Wim Splinter found too much space in the area, but his shot was well held by Zeus Florentina. In 24’ Peter Zeinstra hit the crossbar with a header and a couple of half chances too went on target. We didn’t manage to create anything dangerous in the first half, so changes were necessary. I switched Mulder to F9s in attack, de Groot back to DMCs instead of DLPs and ordered fullbacks to overlap more. That didn’t help much - instead, Wim Splinter opened scoring from IFK in 56’. Zeus Florentina was perhaps too optimistic to go for the cross and when he missed the ball, the goal was empty for Splinter to score. I instantly made substitutions and sent out our best attacking force. However, it was Fred Koeman who equalized in 63’ - he somehow managed to squeeze his shot in from between near post and NEC goalkeeper. In the next 20 minutes things were more or less in balance, but we missed it up in 83’. Wim Splinter was left completely alone in a corner situation and his header from point blank range hit the crossbar. It was a close call, but in a follow-up situation Tarik de Wit made a stupid fould and gifted NEC a penalty. It was completely unnecessary, because Peter Zeinstra was moving away from goal with the ball, but the striker was in an unfamiliar situation and made a wrong decision. Wim Splinter stepped up and converted from the spot and in the remaining minutes we couldn’t find an equalizer. Embarrassing defeat for us - mostly because our weakened team, but I expected better performance against the last club in the table. our shooting was just 8/2 our average rating was 6.83 we made 24 fouls in this game Player of the game: Wim Splinter (NEC Nijmegen) 20.03.2036 - AFC Ajax - Shakhtar Donetsk 1:0 (Europa League 2nd knockout round 2nd leg) - 34. Johan van Dalen We were in a good position after first leg game, but it was important to defend well and keep our clean sheet in this home game. We practiced defending set pieces before the game and again I used wider formation with more disciplined orders. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari (68. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo (77. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman (86. Burg), van Dalen, de Wit We controlled most of the game and took initiative in the first half. Several half-chances and shots on target in the first 20 minutes, but in 22’ Stef Veldman had the best chance so far, but saw his shot being saved by Shakhtar goalkeeper. We didn’t give Shakhtar strikers too much space in our box, but they got some shots on target and looked dangerous nevertheless. Ismet Gluhalic did brilliantly to save Souza’s attempt from 15 meters. We took the lead in 34’ - Johan van Dalen intercepted a poor backpass by Shakhtar defender and finished his chance calmly. Two more clear cut chances in this first half - Leslie Lichaba wasted his opportunity in 43’ (a little bit typical eyes-closed finish of a defender) and Stef Veldman couldn’t use his second great chance of the game in the injury time. We looked fairly confident at half time, but of course, we needed to be much more clinical in front of goal. Unfortunately we continued to miss our chances in the second half - Stef Veldman had a great opportunity in 63’, but his shot hit the post. Souza again looked the most dangerous of Shakhtar players and his shot was brilliantly saved in 70’ Stef Veldman missed his third easy chance of the game and substitute Raimond Burg couldn’t finish off our counter attack in 87’. The final whistle marked our 1:0 win and I was happy with the result, but our finishing was terrible and some great goalkeeping by Ismet Gluhalic kept our clean sheet in the other end. Not the kind of performance that helps us further in European level. our shooting was 22/11 we created 7 clear cut chances we made 31 dribbles Leslie Lichaba made his 200th appearance for Ajax in this game Ismet Gluhalic had a great game for us we will play Villarreal in the next round After the game Germain Siereveld received good news from Holland national team - Roberto Martinez called him up for the next international window. 23.03.2036 - FC Utrecht - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 15. pen. Juddy Menga - 33. Johan van Dalen, 90.+3 Tarik de Wit The last game of the month was a rival match against FC Utrecht. Utrecht are 6th in the table and they’re missing some key players for this game, but I didn’t expect this game to be easy. We practiced defending set pieces in training and I knew that we need to concentrate better, because FC Twente are in a winning streak and they’re closing the gap with us. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari (71. de Groot), Sener Arslan, Janssen (62. Sastrodimedjo), Veldman, van Dalen (82. van der Aar), de Wit We didn’t start very well and Tom Noordhoff’s lapse of concentration gave FC Utrecht’s Sjoerd Kok a great chance in 3’. Ismet Gluhalic did a great save to parry that shot from close range and kept us in the game. Gluhalic couldn’t help us in 15’, when Edward Schans pushed Juddy Menga in the box and the penalty was awarded. Menga converted the spot kick and FC Utrecht took the lead. We didn’t have too many good chances in the first half, but the best of those came in 33’ - Stef Veldman finally delivered a good cross and Johan van Dalen converted an easy chance from close range. The first half was fairly even and 1:1 looked like a fair outcome after 45 minutes of football. I asked the players to be more disciplined and hold the formation in the second half. That closed things down and neither team had good chances after the break. The game had almost finished and I accepted draw as a fair result when Tarik de Wit found a goal in the last minute of the injury time. He somehow found the space and put his shot past the goalkeeper and into the net. Wonderful moment for us, even though we didn’t quite deserve it. FC Utrecht looked heartbroken and that loss will certainly hurt for a while. It could have gone either way and we managed to scrape that one - valuable three points in the table. we allowed 27 dribbles for FC Utrecht - Leslie Lichaba had difficulties with Jos van Leeuwen on our left wing and that also showed on the stat sheet Player of the game: Tarik de Wit I have little bit mixed feelings about March. We won the games that really mattered - with Shakhtar and FC Groningen. To be honest, I expected our rotation players to be better than they actually were and the defeat against NEC Nijmegen was especially below-par. Still, no harm done and we’re continuing into April, still competing in all fronts. Eredivisie Title race is between us and FC Twente - they are on a long winning streak, but we have two games in hand. Our end of the season schedule is a tough one - games against FC Groningen, PSV Eindhoven and Vitesse, so nothing is for granted, but the title showdown is held between us and FC Twente in Amsterdam Arena already in two weeks time. PSV Eindhoven have lost ground in the table, Feyenoord are further down. In the relegation battle, Sparta Rotterdam have started to drop behind and they need to pick up some points soon.
  3. February February will be tough - we have 8 games in this short month and we need to rotate wisely to share playing time and keep the players fresh. The schedule is very difficult and we have a mixture of league games, cup games and Europa League knockout round games. With our strong position in Eredivisie table we can be confident with our league game and rotate players boldly, but the most important three games are in the end of the month - Europa League fixtures with Vitoria Guimaraes and Kassieker derby with Feyenoord in De Kuip. 02.02.2036 - FC Volendam - AFC Ajax 0:4 (ED) - 6., 19. and 45.+1 Omar van der Aar, 60. Stan Knol February started with a trip to Volendam. FC Volendam are 15th at the moment and we’re clear favourites in this game. Some tired legs in the squad before this game, but the bigger problem was Ismet Gluhalic - our goalkeeper suffered food poisoning before this game and Zeus Florentina had to take place between the sticks for at least a couple of games. Squad: Florentina, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Hendriks, Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (54. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman (60. Burg), van der Aar, de Wit (33. Knol) We dominated the first half and Omar van der Aar was on fire. He converted two easy chances after crosses came in from our right wing and completed his hat-trick in extra time of the first half. Volendam barely had a chance in the game and it looked over at half-time. Stan Knol had to come in after Tarik de Wit picked up a knock and he tried hard to get his name on a score sheet - his fierce shot in 60’ rattled crossbar, but Knol himself picked up the rebound and finished his chance. Omar van der Aar too was slightly injured in 81’, and the injuries were perhaps the biggest problems for us in this game, because FC Volendam wasn’t a true match for us, despite the game being held in their home. we had 8.07 average rating Tarik de Wit will be out for 3 weeks with calf strain Omar van der Aar will be sidelined for 4 weeks with back strain Omar van der Aar and Clive Noorthoff were outstanding for us Player of the game: Omar van der Aar 05.02.2036 - sc Heerenveen - AFC Ajax 1:3 (Dutch Cup Quarter Final) - 12. George Okoro - 33. Johan van Dalen, 67. Stan Knol, 90+3 Mario de Groot Our month continued with a cup quarter final. Only two days to prepare and we had some tired legs in the squad, but sc Heerenveen didn’t have more time to rest, so it was an even battle of fatigue, squad depth and physical preparation. We missed some key players like Ismet Gluhalic, Tarik de Wit and Omar van der Aar, but I had confidence that the team is good enough to beat sc Heerenveen. Squad: Florentina, Herder, Schans, Hendriks, Lichaba (71. Koeman), Engin Ari (64. de Groot), Sener Arslan, Janssen, Veldman (71. Burg), van Dalen, Knol sc Heerenveen had a good start to the game and in 12’ they took the lead. Nabil Herder is a short full-back and he lost his header against George Okoro in IFK situation. sc Heerenveen striker managed to direct his header exactly next to our goal post and Zeus Florentina could not get there in time - questions about our goalkeeper’s positioning can be asked, but we were trailing and had to react. Nabil Herder tried to do so and he almost scored a fluke goal in 22’ when his cross went towards goal and bounced back from the post. Johan van Dalen found the equalizer for us after excellent cross from Veldman and in 38’ Zeus Florentina had to make a brilliant save to deny another shot from Okoro. We didn’t create enough chances in the first half and although we didn’t give sc Heerenveen too good opportunities, they had two good shots on target and perhaps deserved to have a draw at this point. I switched Stan Knol back to F9 from CFs at half time. sc Heerenveen almost took the lead after second half kick-off - Nabil Herder had a game of ups and downs and he lost the ball early in the second half, being the last man in our defense and Okoro went pretty much one-on-one against Florentina, but sent his shot wide of goal. We had our best chance to take the lead in 50’ - Stef Veldman took the penalty after Stan Knol was tripped in the box, but our best goalscorer in this season saw his penalty being saved and that was a wasted opportunity for us. Mario de Groot came on in 64’ and I switched his orders to DLPs instead on DMCs. It was effective, because his long pass released Stan Knol to attack and young striker kept away two defenders to score from a half-chance in 67’. Incredible solo effort from the young striker and we had the upper hand from there. sc Heerenveen had to open up their game and they were more attacking in search of the equalizer, but Mario de Groot scored our third goal from IFK in injury time and finished off this game. I know that we could play a lot better, but we did enough to win and reacted well after being behind. Mario de Groot made an impact in the second half and I’m pleased with his effort. we will play FC Groningen in the semi final in March player of the game: Dave de Mos (sc Heerenveen) 08.02.2036 - AFC Ajax - ADO Den Haag 3:0 (ED) - 4. Simon Janssen, 31. Stan Knol, 42. Stef Veldman Again just a couple of days to prepare for our next game - ADO Den Haag should be a tough opposition, but they’re underperforming in this year and find themselves just in 15th place in the table. We concentrated in attacking set pieces training before the game and I was pleased to see that Ismet Gluhalic was fit again, so the Serb took the place in our goal. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman (67. Lichaba), Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen (22. Sener Arslan), Veldman (58. Burg), van Dalen, Knol We took the lead early on - Simon Janssen opened scoring with a header after a good cross from Veldman. Stan Knol had a great chance in 10’, but his shot went well wide and Clive Noordhoff had a good look in 31’, but he reacted as a defender and his shot was parried by ADO Den Haag goalkeeper. However, Knol collected the rebound and finished off into the empty goal. Stef Veldman scored our third goal of the first half with a volley from corner and we went to half time with 3:0 lead after dominant performance. Our only concern was Simon Janssen - playmaker had to come off with injury in 22’ and Sener Arslan took his place. We continued well in the second half - Johan van Dalen had a great chance and two attempts in 63’ that were brilliantly saved by ADO Den Haag goalkeeper and Stan Knol had a great chance in 68’ that was also saved. We could and should have scored a lot more goals, but I was pleased with our win and overall performance. our shooting was 31/12 we created 6 clear cut chances we gave ADO Den Haag no chances in attack Simon Janssen twisted his ankle and he’ll be out for 3-4 weeks Player of the game: Stef Veldman 13.02.2036 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 3:0 (ED) - 57. and 87. Stef Veldman, 88. Stan Knol We continue our Eredivisie season and host VVV Venlo in Amsterdam Arena. VVV is 12th in the table at the moment, but we’re clear favourites for this game. We practiced attacking set pieces before the match and I expect us to continue our good form in this game, even though we have five players out - Simon Janssen, Tarik de Wit, Mithat Arabaci and Omar van der Aar are out and Germain Siereveld caught cold, so he too will miss this game. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Schans, Hendriks, Lichaba, Engin Ari (44. Koeman), Sastrodimedjo (69. de Groot), Sener Arslan (72. Hoogdorp), Veldman, van Dalen, Knol The first half did not go as I expected. We managed to only get some shots on target, but didn’t create anything dangerous and in 44’ chaos ensued, when Rick Hendriks pushed VVV player in corner situation and penalty was awarded. Leslie Lichaba couldn’t keep his calm and received his second yellow card for arguing and was sent off. Fortunately for us Robert Munter hit the post from the spot and so we didn’t concede a goal, but we went to the second half with 10 men and it didn’t look too good for us. We managed to keep things under control, despite all odds, and in 57’ we found a breakthrough - Stef Veldman scored his 20th goal of the season. VVV didn’t create anything too dangerous, but their winger Leonardo Dupont made an attempt from 30 yards in 85’ and that shot hit the goal post - another lucky moment for us in this game. VVV took some risks and we had opportunities in attack, so after Veldman doubled his tally in 87’ and Stan Knol scored our third goal with a header just a minute later, it was all over. Excellent second half from us with a man down and good result in a game that was so close to be lost. our shooting was 19/10 we allowed VVV to make 22 key passes - probably helped by their numerical advantage Stef Veldman was outstanding for us, scoring his 20th goal of the season 16.02.2036 - sc Heerenveen - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 23. Johan van Dalen, 87. Germain Siereveld Again we play sc Heerenveen - for the second time in two weeks. sc Heerenveen is 8th in the table and they came against us with their usual 4-1-2-3 DM tactics. Germain Siereveld recovered from his illness before this game, but Leslie Lichaba was suspended, so our squad was as thin as in previous game. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (63. Hoogdorp), Sener Arslan, Veldman (70. Burg), van Dalen, Knol (70. Mulder) We had two good moments in the first half - first was in 23’ and resulted in a goal - Johan van Dalen converted a good cross from Nabil Herder. In 31’ Stef Veldman had a great chance to double our lead, but his shot was held by sc Heerenveen goalkeeper. We played calmly and kept things under control in the second half and in the final ten minutes sc Heerenveen had to take more risks. That gave us some chances and after Raimond Burg hit the post and Johan van Dalen saw his shot being saved brilliantly, Germain Siereveld tucked it in after corner to secure us all three points. I was pleased with the result and our defensive efforts - we kept a clean sheet and did well to break down Heerenveen attacks. we created 5 clear cut chances we’re now unbeaten in 20 games in a row 17 years old striker Wim Mulder made his debut in the second half Player of the game: Nabil Herder 21.02.2036 - Vitoria Guimaraes - AFC Ajax 2:3 (Europa League 1st knockout round 1st leg) - 7. Victor Palomino, 90.+2 Tiago da Silva - 41. Stef Veldman, 44. Sener Arslan, 47. Clyde Sastrodimedjo We travelled to Portugal for our Europa League first leg game. Two teams looked pretty similar and home advantage makes Vitoria a slight favourites for this game. We practiced attacking set pieces before the game and I asked the players to be more disciplined and play with wider formation in the away game. Tarik de Wit is back in full training, but he will start from the bench tonight. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder (65. Noordhoff), Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari (69. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo, Sener Arslan (77. Hoogdorp), Veldman, van Dalen, Knol We didn’t have the best start to the game - Victor Palomino had just some space in our box and his shot went right into the top corner - unstoppable for Ismet Gluhalice. We tried to find an equalizer, but didn’t have luck at first - Stef Veldman headed against post in 19’ and saw his shot in 21’ being stopped by a brilliant save from Vitoria goalkeeper Hudson. Hudson looked very good in the goal, but he too was powerless when Veldman finally found a goal in 41’ - it was a smart move from our right winger, to move inside and receive a cross from Nabil Herder. Vitoria players’ heads dropped for a while and that allowed us to score another goal - Sener Arslan found the net with a good strike from the edge of the area and we went to half time with 2:1 lead. I was pleased with our efforts in the first half - we reacted well to conceding a goal and two goals in away game put us in a very strong position. We started the second half very well too - Johan van Dalen found a clear cut chance in the very first attack, but his shot was denied brilliantly by Hudson, but Clyde Sastrodimedjo scored our third goal in the next attack. Stan Knol wasted another great chance in 77’ and when it looked like we were in good control of the game, Vitoria managed to stun us right in the end of the game - Tiago da Silva headed in from IFK in injury time and that made the final score 3:2. I was disappointed with this late conceded goal, but overall I was pleased with our efforts and the result, too. We’re in a good position for the second leg in Amsterdam Arena. our shooting was 24/10 we made 27 individual mistakes, 8 of those came from Clyde Sastrodimedjo Germain Siereveld made his 100th appearance for Ajax in this game Clyde Sastrodimedjo had a great game for us 24.02.2036 - Feyenoord Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 3:1 (ED) - 2. Georges Kongnyuy, 19. Screve N’Goma, 70. Tini van Hemert - 55. Stef Veldman The last league game in February, but the most important one - Klassieker derby, this time in away stadium. Feyenoord were certainly looking for revenge for the last meeting that finished with our 5:1 win. This time, however, we weren’t at our best - Simon Janssen was still missing, Omar van der Aar and Mithat Arabaci had just started light training. Tarik de Wit was ready to start, but his form was a question for us. Feyenoord have been a little worse than expected in this year, occupying 6th place in the table - a position that their manager Clarence Seedorf needed to improve, because rumors about his position have circled around for a while now. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari (69. de Groot), Sener Arslan (71. Hoogdorp), Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (65. Knol) We started poorly and in less than two minutes found ourselves 0:1 behind. Feyenoord’s best striker Georges Kongnyuy had two attempts on goal and his second shot went in. The attack started after Sener Arslan missed his interception in midfield. That quick goal derailed us a little and in the first 20 minutes Feyenoord dominated. Screve N’Goma scored their second goal in 19’ (missed header by Germain Siereveld gave that chance) and we went to the break after very disappointing first half. The scoreline wasn’t the first, but our performance was - although the game in midfield balanced out after Feyenoord goals, we couldn’t create anything dangerous in attack and a couple of headers won in their box was the best we could do. The second half was a little better and in 59’ Stef Veldman put us back into the game with his goal - solid header that went in off the bar and at that point I was feeling that the game was on. Feyenoord’s Kaj Wassenaar wasted his clear cut chance in 61’, but in 70’ Tini van Hemert finished our comeback hopes with a great DFK that curled over our wall and landed in the top corner - nothing that Ismet Gluhalic could do about that particular goal. The final result was a disappointment, but more importantly our performance was not good enough. The second half was fairly even game, but we didn’t create enough chances and first half mistakes cost us the game. our shooting was just 8/3 we didn’t create any real chances in this game - difficult to score goals when we play like that that loss ends our unbeaten streak of 21 games Player of the game: Tini van Hemert (Feyenoord) 28.02.2036 - AFC Ajax - Vitoria Guimaraes 1:0 (Europa League 1st knockout round 2nd leg) - 1. Johan van Dalen We didn’t have to do much in this second leg game - just to be well organized defensively, not concede more than once and we’re through to the next round. It looked like we can do this, especially with Amsterdam Arena behind us. We practiced defending set pieces before the game, to avoid any stupid errors in dead ball situations. Good news from physios - Omar van der Aar was back in full training and Simon Janssen resumed light training, so I hoped to see them back in the squad soon enough. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans (65. Hendriks), Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Sener Arslan (56. Hoogdorp), Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (56. Knol) We didn’t need much time to score - in fact, just 20 second and in our first attack we made a good combination, Stef Veldman crossed for Johan van Dalen and the left winger put us in control before Vitoria could get their minds on the task at hand. We continued to control the game for the best part of the first half. Stef Veldman had several good chances to score, but he was either wasteful or unlucky to miss many clear cut chances. He managed to hit the post in 20’ when it was easier to score and that continued into the second half - he did everything else well, like taking the ball away from Vitoria defender in 47’, but his shot from one-on-one situation landed in the post again. It was just that kind of game for him, but despite that rotten luck in front of the goal, we maintained our narrow lead until the final whistle and moved on to the next round with 4:2 aggregate win. we created 5 clear cut chances in this game we will play Shakhtar Donetsk in the next round Player of the game: Johan van Dalen I can be pleased with our February, despite that derby loss against Feyenoord. We maintained our good form in Eredivisie and did well in Europa League, so in big picture we did as well as we could hope in the beginning of the month. Eredivisie We maintained our lead in the table (PSV couldn’t take advantage of our defeat, they made a disappointing 2:2 home draw with FC Eindhoven). Competition for the second place is still fierce, as is the relegation battle.
  4. January 2036 It’s been a pretty quiet January for us. Young left winger Kwanele Nkoana joined us from Ajax CT (he turned 18 this Autumn, so transfer was postponed until January) and I loaned him back to Ajax CT right away - it’s better for him to get regular playing time there. Otherwise it’s been quiet in the transfer market - no serious offers for our first team players and some Eredivisie clubs offered ridiculous transfer fees for our hot prospect and rotation players (Rick Hendriks, Stan Knol, Sener Arslan) - I dismissed those proposals without a second thought. Some loan moves had to be made, though. Goalkeeper Rob Pluim moved to sc Heerenveen, left-winger Mark van der Plas joined NEC Nijmegen for the next six months and Jelle Sandler went on loan to FC Twente Enschede. We played two friendlies in January and I used those games to give opportunities and match fitness to youngsters and keep first team players fresh for the second half of the season. We won both games 5:0 and that gave us a lot of confidence for the second half of the season. Clubs in Eredivisie made decisions about their management posts. ADO Den Haag hired Jason Oost (from FC Volendam). Volendam reacted by appointing Mats Knoester as their new manager and Sparta Rotterdam unveiled Kevin Strootman as their new helm. 27.01.2036 - AFC Ajax - Roda JC Kerkrade 1:1 (ED) - 78. Omar van der Aar - 4. Rob Viergever Eredivisie season resumes and we play Roda JC at home. Roda JC are 11th at the moment and in addition it’s nice to see our young talents Niek van der Ent and Erwin Vormer in action. They’ve played a lot of games for Roda JC in this season and developed well in the process. We have all players fit, with Leslie Lichaba and Jaap Hoogdorp also back in training, but squad is a little bit thinner after loan departures, so we need to rotate and keep the players fit. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba (69. Koeman), Engin Ari, Sener Arslan (46. Sastrodimedjo), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (58. van der Aar), de Wit The first five minutes looked like a disaster. Roda had initiative and it took only two minutes for them to get their first shot on target - Niek van der Ent had a good look from IFK, but Gluhalic was ready and parried it brilliantly. Then Cem Kocyigit saw his shot being saved by our Serbian goalkeeper and in the next attack Rob Viergever broke through - he moved to the box and Engin Ari was too slow to follow him, good pass from Kocyigit and he found the back post. This time Gluhalic couldn’t save us. The first half finished with 0:1 and I was disappointed - we lacked confidence and made too many fouls and rarely put Roda JC under pressure. I changed tactics in the second half - 4-2-3-1 - and sent Clyde Sastrodimedjo on for Sener Arslan. Things started to look better and Simon Janssen got our first half-chance in 61’ - his attempt was brilliantly saved by Roda JC goalkeeper. Change of tactics had less effect than I hoped and I switched back to 4-1-2-3 + overlapping. Tactically we still looked poor, but we found an equalizer - substitute Omar van der Aar intercepted backwards header from Erwin Vormer and finished his chance calmly. The final result remained 1:1 and it was a very disappointing for us - we should have been a lot better at home and I wasn’t happy with our central defense in this game. we lost possession 47/53 our shooting was just 9/6 our average rating was just 6.82 Clive Noordhoff made his league debut in this game Player of the game: Simon Janssen 30.01.2036 - Telstar - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 37. Stef Veldman We needed to do better in this game after Roda JC draw and the players knew it. Telstar is 14th at the moment and after a pretty good start they’re slowly moving down towards relegation zone. Fred Koeman and Engin Ari were suspended for this game, so that made selection choices easier. Squad: Gluhalic, Noordhoff, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, de Groot, Sener Arslan (60. Sastrodimedjo), Janssen (67. Hoogdorp), Veldman, van der Aar, de Wit (72. Knol) The first half was very uneventful and our goal was the only exception to that - Omar van der Aar crossed for Stef Veldman and our right winger finished his chance well. Otherwise it was a drab football from both sides. Second half was slightly better, or at least we controlled the game better. Stef Veldman had a good shot in 61’, but that was well held by Telstar goalkeeper. Veldman also saw his header hit the post in 66’, but we didn’t get another goal and the game finished 1:0. Slightly better game for us in defense, but lack of creativity and chances was still evident. Simon Janssen looked absent on the pitch and he got the rating of 6.2 - very unlikely for him. we made only 16 key passes we didn’t give Telstar any real chances Player of the game: Omar van der Aar Two games in January and a slow start for us, but I expect us to improve with the next games. Eredivisie We’re still 11 points clear in the table and things look very good for us.
  5. December 2035 We have six games in December and the most important of those games is of course the final Champions League game against Zenit. Our league games in this months are fairly regular and we’re favourites for those games, so I expect us to continue our good form in the league and play at our best level in this decisive game in Russia. 01.12.2035 - AFC Ajax - Vitesse Arnhem 2:0 (ED) - 9. Stef Veldman, 35. Johan van Dalen Our month began with home game against Vitesse Arnhem. Vitesse is predicted to finish 5th and to be fair, they’re looking really strong, both on paper and by actual results, so I knew this wasn’t going to be easy game. We missed Leslie Lichaba, who was suspended for this game, but the rest of the best players were in our starting line-up. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari (61. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo (68. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (75. Knol) We took the lead in 9’ - Johan van Dalen sent a cross to six yard box and Stef Veldman made a slide to get a touch on the ball and put it over the line. Excellent start for a tough game. van Dalen scored our second goal with a fine header in 35’ - questions about goalkeeping in this situation, as Vitesse keeper got his hands to it, but still let it into the goal. Vitesse got their best chance in 42’ when Aurelien Lecomte got the ball and went for a counter attack. He managed to skip the challenge by Germain Siereveld and found himself one-on-one against goalkeeper, but Ismet Gluhalic made a great save with his feet and kept our clean sheet. I was pleased with our lead at half time - we used our chances well, although nervousness of Vitesse goalkeeper probably helped us on the way. Second half offered no goals and less chances, but we had things better under our control. I was happy with our performance and result. we allowed Vitesse to make 28 dribbles - their wingers were very technical and at times we struggled to stop them Johan van Dalen had a great game for us and was named as Player of the game 05.12.2035 - FC Groningen - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED) The second game in December wasn’t much easier. It was our first of four away games and we started with a trip to northern Netherlands. FC Groningen is predicted to finish 6th and they’ve shown very well-organized defense so far, conceding only 14 goals in 14 games. Their best midfielder Klevis Dema was suspended for this game and that could turn things to our favour, but I still expected it to be a struggle. Squad: Gluhalic, Herdr, Siereveld, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot (69. Engin Ari), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (64. van der Aar), de Wit (79. Knol) To be honest, it was a fairly boring game from start to finish. We had initiative and more possession, but FC Groningen were indeed very well-organized and defended with skill and motivation and managed to keep us at bay. Our best shot in target came in 51’ when Fred Koeman sneaked into the box and his attempt was fairly good too, but it was brilliantly saved by FC Groningen goalkeeper. So, in the end it was a bore draw and we looked a little bit out of ideas. FC Groningen got no chances in this game we won 91% of tackles - stat that I’m fairly happy with Player of the game: Simon Janssen After this matchday ADO Den Haag board made a decision and they sacked manager Piet Velthuizen. ADO dropped too close to the relegation zone and although it looks a little early in the season to fire managers, some changes are necessary and better to make them early than late. 08.12.2035 - Sparta Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 1:3 (ED) - 58. Corey Moore - 14. and 85. Omar van der Aar, 82. Stef Veldman The schedule is tough and away games continue with three days interval and at this point we probably have to make some changes and rotate wisely to keep our key players fresh against Zenit. Sparta are in trouble in this season - they’re rock bottom at the moment and find themselves in relegation danger, so I hope that a few changes in our line-up won’t weaken us too much. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder (68. Sandler), Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (55. Janssen), Sener Arslan, Veldman, van der Aar, de Wit (59. Knol) Good counter attack in 14’ gave us our first goal and it was the story of the game - Sparta could defend fairly well if organized properly, but when they lost possession, we could move forward quickly and then we managed to cut through their defense with relative ease. Sparta players looked nervous in the first half and although we didn’t put them under too much pressure, we looked fairly effective in transition. Sparta improved a little after half-time break and in 57’ they got their first shot on target. Corey Moore cut inside from our right wing and his shot was tipped over by Ismet Gluhalic. The following corner resulted in equalizing goal, because Tarik de Wit forgot to mark his man and it was Moore again who was first to the ball and scored from close range. Nothing that Gluhalic could do about that one and I was really unhappy at the sidelines - a cheap goal to concede from set piece. Sparta players gained confidence from that goal and with some substitutions made, it looked like the game might go away from us. Sparta went for the winner, but that opened their defense up for counters again and we almost punished them in 60’ - Simon Janssen wasted his great chances after counter-attack and sent his shot well wide. Very uncharacteristic for him. The goals came, though, in the final ten minutes. Another counter-attack from our left wing, Omar van der Aar crossed it to Stef Veldman and our right winger fired it in from 19 meters. What a shot! Excellent strike from Veldman and Sparta players looked desperate. And when van der Aar scored his second goal of the game three minutes later, that settled it. We came away with a win and I was happy with our determination in the end, even though it looked difficult for us in the second half. We improved when it mattered the most and I was very proud of the players. we had 63% of possession our shooting was 25/7 we gave 56 key passes Omar van der Aar and Sener Arslan were outstanding for us Player of the game: Omar van der Aar We’ve now played 17 games in Eredivisie and have 42 points. That’s very good for the first half of the season and other teams struggle to keep up with us. Sparta Rotterdam sacked their long-serving manager Georginio Wijnaldum after that defeat - being 18th in December is definitely not good enough for them and that defeat was the last straw for Wijnaldum. 11.12.2035 - Zenit St. Petersburg - AFC ajax 1:1 (Champions League Group D) - 34. Osvaldo Jofre - 80. Stan Knol It was time for our most important game in December. It was a long trip to Russia and cold winter day to play football, but we went to give our best. I used our Champions League tactics - wider formation with more disciplined mindset. We missed Nabil Herder and Engin Ari due to suspensions, but the rest of the players were fit and ready. Squad: Gluhalic, Sandler, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba (62. Koeman), de Groot, Sastrodimedjo (60. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen, de wit (77. Knol) We were very motivated, but right from the kick-off we were under pressure. Jelle Sandler replaced Nabil Herder in our right defense and he struggled against much better attacking players. The first chance for Zenit came from this zone in 4’ - Zakaria Brusnikin had to attempts and a great look on goal, but his shot from close range hit the post and was then cleared by our defenders. Brusnikin found opportunities and his header in 34’ smashed against our crossbar and then Zenit got their goal - Osvaldo Jofre’s shot from 14 meters was just unstoppable for any goalkeeper. We were 0:1 behind at half time and to be honest, we were lucky that it wasn’t worse after 45 minutes. We were not good enough in possession and Zenit kept things under control. I switched to our regular Eredvisie tactics at half-time and that seemed to work better. Simon Janssen got our first very good chance of the game in 68’, but he sent his shot well wide of goal. We found the equalizer in 80’ - Johan van Dalen delivered a cross to the far post, it curled dangerously towards goal and cracked against post, but Stan Knol was there to finish off from rebound. Game on! We then had 10 minutes to find a winner, but we were very disappointing in that period - unable to create anything dangerous and when the final whistle called, be had to accept that we fell short again and had to settle with third place in the group. Very disappointing, but it probably reflects our abilities compared to the rest of the group. Stan Knol finally scored after 17 games without a goal Player of the game: Alexey Samsonov (Zenit) Champions League Group D Borussia Dortmund 12 FC Basel 8 AFC Ajax 8 Zenit St. Petersburg 5 15.12.2035 - FC Eindhoven - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 77. Halil Bölükbasi - 55. Stef Veldman, 86. Raimond Burg It was our last league game of the year and I wanted to finish it with a good spirit. FC Eindhoven is predicted to finish just 17th, but they’re clearly overachieving and are currently 6th in the table. I’m happy to see Peter Lemmens who has had a great season for FC Eindhoven so far - 5 goals and 5 assists to his name in this season. Sener Arslan came to me and asked for more playing time and I was happy to grant his wish - he’s been working hard in training and has played well so far. Squad: Florentina, Herder, Siereveld, Schans (68. Hendriks), Koeman, de Groot, Sener Arslan (68. Sastrodimedjo), Janssen, Veldman (61. Burg), van der Aar, Knol Eindhoven welcomed us with a dump weather and wet pitch and that clearly left a mark to our game. We had more initiative in the game and Stan Knol got our first great chance in the game, but he was denied by a brilliant save from FC Eindhoven goalkeeper. Sener Arslan had a good attempt from distance in 44’ that was again brilliantly saved. Couple of good moments in the first half, but that wasn’t really good enough. I tried to change our game and asked fullbacks to overlap more in the second half. That seemed to work better and we kept FC Eindhoven under pressure and that resulted in our first goal - Stef Veldman managed to find a goal from corner and that was a huge relief for us. But we gave our lead away in 77’ when we allowed FC Eindhoven to build up their attack from our left wing and Halil Bölükbasi had too much space in the box and that was 1:1 with less than 15 minutes to go. It looked like a frustrating draw for us, but we managed to score the winner in 86’ - Stan Knol had a good shot on target that was parried by goalkeeper, but Raimond Burg collected the rebound and managed to put it into the net. In the end I was pleased that the result came our way, but disappointed with our performance. we’re now unbeaten in 12 games in a row Simon Janssen had a great game for us Player of the game: Simon Janssen 19.12.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Oss 3:1 (Dutch Cup 4th round) - 15. Stan Knol, 19. Sener Arslan, 43. Mark van der Plas - 8. Eli Leroy The last game of the month (and year) was a cup game against Jupiler League side FC Oss. We played in Amsterdam Arena and we were clear favourites, so I sent out yougnsters and rotation players and expected them to do the job. Squad: Florentina, Sandler, Schans, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot, Sener Arslan, Janssen, Burg, van der Plas, Knol We made a poor start to the game and allowed FC Oss to take the lead. Both fullbacks were slow to react to our opponents’ attacking move, Jelle Sandler was a step behind Eli Leroy and FC Oss winger headed it in from close range. Very disappointing start, but we equalized just seven minutes later - Stan Knol made a good interception and finished his chance with a good shot. Knol was in action four minutes later too - his soft through ball gave Sener Arslan a good goalscoring chance and our midfielder gave us the lead in 19’. The game belonged to us then and in the end of the first half we added another goal from counter - Raimond Burg found Mark van der Plas with excellent diagonal pass and the young winger finished his chance well. The game was more or less decided at half time and we controlled the second half much better, although the second half didn’t add any goals. Stan Knol had one great chance in 80’, but his shot was parried well by FC Oss goalkeeper. In the end I was fairly pleased with our win and the way we reacted to conceded goal. Youngsters did well enough. our shooting was 18/10 we didn’t give FC Oss any real goalscoring opportunities Stan Knol had a great game for us Player of the game: Stan Knol we will play sc Heerenveen in the quarter final in February A lot of movements in managerial positions in the end of December. ADO Den Haag hired Volendam manager Jason Oost as their new manager. Sparta Rotterdam made their decision and announced Kevin Strootman as their new manager and Mats Knoester was unveiled as FC Volendam manager after Jason Oost’s departure from that post. Eredivisie We have a very good lead in the table in December, being 10 points ahead of PSV Eindhoven and the rest of the pack. FC Twente have impressed so far and find themselves in European play-offs position.
  6. November 2035 02.11.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Utrecht 4:0 (ED) - 29. Simon Janssen, 48. and 66. Stef Veldman, 56. Tarik de Wit November begins with principal game against FC Utrecht. A rival match in front of our home fans and Amsterdam Arena was sold out for the match. FC Utrecht are predicted to finish 4th in Eredivisie and they have a very good team. We had only two days to rest after we played 120 minutes in a cup game and so there were some tired legs in the team. We missed Jelle Sandler because of injury and Leslie Lichaba was suspended for this game, so defensive options were a little limited. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen (62. Arabaci), Veldman, van Dalen (68. van der Plas), de Wit (62. Knol) We controlled this game from the beginning and our first attempt on target came in 8’ when Engin Ari sent his free kick over the wall and FC Utrecht goalkeeper had to make a difficult save to parry it. Stef Veldman had a great chance after counter in 28’ and his shot was saved brilliantly, but the following corner brought our opening goal - Simon Janssen found the net. We had 1:0 lead at half time and it was a deserved lead - we had some good chances and dangerous shots from distance. FC Utrecht goalkeeper had a busy first half. We looked even more impressive after half time break - Stef Veldman doubled our lead with a great strike on a turn and Tarik de Wit scored with a volley from IFK. FC Utrecht occasionally had a shot on our goal and Juddy Menga had their best opportunities. His shot in 63’ required a good save from Ismet Gluhalic, but our clean sheet was intact and in 66’ Stef Veldman doubled his tally after another counter-attack. When the final whistle called, it marked a great result for us with impressive performance and I was really happy with what I saw on the pitch. we lost possession 38/62 - it didn’t really show when watching highlights, because FC Utrecht was content passing the ball between defenders, but we were so quick and lethal in transition that we created way more scoring opportunities our shooting was 18/12 we committed 30 fouls with Engin Ari and Fred Koeman both responsible for 8 we won 91% of tackles - very determined defeding Stef Veldman had outstanding game for us Player of the game: Stef Veldman 06.11.2035 - AFC Ajax - Borussia Dortmund 1:0 (Champions League Group D) - 28. Simon Janssen It was a narrow defeat for us in Dortmund, but it’s time to leave this disappointment behind and prepare for home game. We practiced defending set pieces before the game and I asked the players to play in wider formation than usual and be more disciplined on the pitch. As usual, more experienced players were selected. Roberto Martinez was on the stands again, so extra pressure for the players who want to be included in the national team. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman (64. Lichaba), Enigin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (57. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (89. Knol) The game started slowly and we found a goal in 28’. It came from our counter, Stef Veldman crossed for Simon Janssen and our playmaker finished it calmly. Dortmund’s Omar Oltolina had a good chance to equalize in 39’, but Ismet Gluhalic made a brilliant save to deny him and we went to half time with a narrow lead. Chances were rare for both teams in this first half and it was a fairly even first half. We were encouraged by our good first half performance and Simon Janssen almost doubled his tally in 46’. His shot hit the post and it was really unlucky that we didn’t get our second goal from there. Dortmund slowly started to increase pressure to our goal and their striker David Hernandez hit the target twice and Ismet Gluhalic had to be alert in our goal. Despite those attempts we managed to control the game fairly well and held onto our win. That was a very important result for us and I was really happy that we could turn small things to our favour in this game. It’s funny how things can turn around - we lost two games and things looked poor after that, but then two wins and we’re back in the competition. It’s important to win games in the group stage - draws won’t take you far enough. Let’s hope we can keep this kind of form going. Player of the game: Stef Veldman 10.11.2035 - AZ Alkmaar - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 32. Jan Jarc - 1. Stef Veldman, 39. Azar Haciyev (og) Next in our schedule was a short trip to Alkmaar to meet AZ in Eredivisie encounter. AZ are predicted to finish 11th in this season and they managed to make £9m profit from their Summer transfers, so they have rebuilt a little and are not too much weaker as a result. We practiced attacking set pieces before this game. It was our last game before international window and I wanted to go to the break with a good feeling. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans (72. Hendriks), Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen (78. Arabaci), Veldman, van Daeln, de Wit (64. Knol) We started off with a flyer when Stef Veldman scored just after 22 seconds after kick-off. His shot took a little deflection from defender and AZ goalkeeper Azar Haciyev couldn’t react to it. It took some time until AZ finally got into the game, but they too found some chances and in 27’ Randy Hoogeland had a great opportunity to equalize, but his shot was parried by well-positioned Gluhalic. The equalizer came three minutes later when measured cross behind our defensive line found Jan Jarc and it was a very easy finish for AZ striker. We reacted well and scored our second goal in 39’ - excellent counter finished with a shot by Johan van Dalen. It was not clear if it even was on target, but AZ goalkeeper Azar Haciyev decided to go for a save and somehow managed to direct it into his goal instead. It felt like a little gift to us, but I didn’t mind. At half time we had a narrow lead, but AZ exposed our defense at least twice in the first half, so there was no room for complacency. I tried to secure things by retaining possession in the second half - it increased our possession, but limited our chances. Still, things were more or less under our control after the break. Tarik de Wit had a good shot on target in 48’ - Haciyev did brilliantly to save this one and in injury time Rick Hendriks saw his header bounce back from the crossbar. In the end it wasn’t too convincing win for us, but we returned with all three points in the bag, and that’s the important thing. Player of the game: Stef Veldman 23.11.2035 - FC Twente Enschede - AFC Ajax 2:6 (ED) - 21. Michael Diemers, 41. Jean-Paul Smits - 1., 18., 20. and 37. Tarik de Wit, 25. Stef Veldman, 33. Johan van Dalen We had a good two weeks for rest and training. Some players got international football, but we looked fit and prepared for return of Eredivisie games. FC Twente is predicted to finish 10th in this season, so I expected a difficult away game. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (64. Sener Arslan), Janssen (64. Arabaci), Veldman, van Dalen (64. van der Plas), de Wit The first half was incredible attacking football from both sides. We scored our first goal after excellent possession attack - we were patient and smart and Tarik de Wit finished our move off with a good goal. Johan van Dalen saw his header hit the crossbar in 14’, but de Wit added two more goals and completed his hat-trick in 20 minutes. It looked like demolition was about to start, but FC Twente weren’t beaten. Michael Diemers got one goal back for them and we were caught napping in this time. But our goalscoring didn’t stop - Stef Veldman added another goal and Johan van Dalen scored our fifth from IFK. Tarik de Wit completed his night with his fourth goal and even though Jean-Paul Smits scored the second goal for FC Twente with a free header from IFK, we went to half-time with commanding 6:2 lead. It was a tremendous football in the first half - brilliant attack so far, but obviously I was not too impressed by two goals that we conceded. Second half was quiet and relaxed after this turmoil and both teams seemed to accept the result from the first half. I was very happy with our performance and goalscoring form. our shooting was 24/9 we had 8.07 average rating Tarik de Wit, Stef Veldman, Johan van Dalen and Simon Janssen were oustanding for us Johan van Dalen scored his 10th goal of the season Tarik de Wit scored his 150th goal for Ajax Player of the game: Tarik de Wit 28.11.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Basel 0:0 (Champions League Group D) Last game of the month is a very important home game against FC Basel and journalists made it even more important by reminding that this was my 1000th game in football management. After our loss in Switzerland in the first game I almost lost any hope to get through the group stage, but our great result against Dortmund has put us back into competition and now I feel that we’ve got every chance if we play well and with good spirit. Big lesson from the first game was our inexperience against three strikers, but I believe that we’ve found a solution and I asked Engin Ari (DCM) to play with defending mentality instead of usual support duties, so that he could stay back and track back more often and prevent those three strikers overwhelming our two-man central defense. All those preparations were undone when FC Basel came against us with 4-4-1-1 formation, so it meant that we had less threats to deal with in defense, but we had a difficult task to break down their well-disciplined defense. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (72. Arabaci), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (66. van der Aar), de Wit (74. Knol) The first half was quiet. Very quiet indeed and we had our first half-chance only in 41’ - Stef Veldman had a look, but his shot went wide. FC Basel’s Jeremy Tixier had a great chance to score in 45’, but his shot was too soft and it was held by Ismet Gluhalic. We went to half time with 0:0 and I reminded the players that we need to be concentrated in defense. Those words didn’t have much effect, because FC Basel continued to create better chances - Elia Kälin had a great opportunity in 47’, but he only managed to hit the post. Tarik de Wit had our best goalscoring opportunity in 72’, but his strong shot was saved brilliantly by opposition goalkeeper. Injury forced substitute Mithat Arabaci to come off in 85’ and in the final five minutes we had to play 10 against 11. Elia Kälin found a great chance in the injury time and it looked like he could score a late winner for FC Basel, but Gluhalic made another save to keep his clean sheet and allow us to come away from this game with a point. In the end I had mixed feelings about that game - we had more shots, but FC Basel created much better chances, so we can’t complain too much about the final result. We certainly should have been better defensively and FC Basel again played a good game tactically - well organized in defense and managed to create chances with their 4-4-1-1 formation. our shooting was 20/3 - not good enough, nearly not good enough we made 22 individual mistakes, Germain Siereveld was responsible for 6 of those Mithat Arabaci came off with damaged achilles tendon and he’ll be out for 3-4 months Player of the game: Simon Janssen I can be very pleased with our November - we had three wins in Eredivisie, a great result against Borussia Dortmund and I can’t be too upset with that draw with FC Basel. Eredivisie We have a very good lead in the table. At the bottom NEC Nijmegen and Sparta Rotterdam are in relegation trouble.
  7. October 2035 03.10.2035 - AFC Ajax - Zenit St. Petersburg 4:1 (Champions League Group D) - 17. and 44. Johan van Dalen, 42. Simon Janssen, 60. Stef Veldman - 45.+1 Engin Ari (og) I wanted us to forget this defeat quickly and move forward, but October started with a tough Champions League game against Zenit. It’s important in many ways - we’re fairly evenly matched teams and it’s important to win at least the home game if we want to get anything from this group. And of course, Holland is contesting with Ukraine and Russia in nations coefficient table, so it’s important to do better in continental competitions than the clubs from those two countries. We practiced defending set pieces before the game, I used Champions League tactics (more disciplined approach and wider formation) and selected more experienced players to our starting line-up. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder (56. Sandler), Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen (70. Arabaci), Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (60. Knol) We started the game well and Clyde Sastrodimedjo got an early chance in 1’, but his shot was denied by a brilliant save by Zenit goalkeeper. Johan van Dalen scored our first goal in 17’ after a good cross from Janssen. We looked more confident and in control, but couldn’t relax too much, because Zenit got at least two half-chances in the first half and Ismet Gluhalic had to make big saves to keep our goal intact. The final minutes of the first half were extremely action-packed. Simon Janssen doubled our lead in 42’ with an excellent strike - he didn’t have too good of a look on goal, but hit the ball really well and it went into the net at the far post. Zenit were not yet recovered from that goal when van Dalen scored his second goal of the game with a simple tap-in. Things looked really great at that moment, but in the end of the half we allowed Zenit to get one goal back. Vadim Shestakov had a great chance in injury time, Gluhalic made a good save, but Engin Ari stood in the way of the ball and it deflected into our goal after his touch. A little bit disappointing, because that goal will certainly give Zenit some hope before the second half. Zenit indeed looked much more motivated after the second half kick-off and we had to maintain our concentration. Chances went to both ways - Johan van Dalen saw his header hit the crossbar in 55’ and a minute later Zenit’s Ruslan Andreev found a clear cut chance from a counter-attack. Gluhalic was ready and made a good save. Our excellent counter resulted in a goal in 60’ and this time it was Stef Veldman who got his name on a score sheet. Ruslan Andreev had another great chance in 70’, but he wasted his opportunity and only managed to hit the post. Mithat Arabaci and Stef Veldman saw their chances being denied by Zenit goalkeeper, but it didn’t matter any more, because we had a solid lead and held onto it until the end. It was a very entertaining game and our clinical finishing and discipline prevailed. That result could give us some much needed confidence and is exactly what I hoped for before the game. our shooting was 21/11 Johan van Dalen, Stef Veldman and Simon Janssen were outstanding for us Player of the game: Johan van Dalen 07.10.2035 - AFC Ajax - Feyenoord Rotterdam 5:1 (ED) - 14. Johan van Dalen, 17. Tarik de Wit, 21., 39. and 43. Stef Veldman - 30. Georges Kongnyuy We didn’t have too much time to rest after Zenit game and had to prepare for Klassieker Derby in Amsterdam Arena. We continued to practice defending set pieces in our pre-match training and I was pleased to see that the players are mostly fit and ready for the game. Feyenoord, at the same time, looked exhausted after their Europa League game in Thursday, and they had more injury problems too, especially in defensive line. That could play into our advantage in this game, and of course I expected home crowd to make things difficult for Feyenoord players - the stadium was sold out, as it should be before derby games. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari (61. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman (61. Burg), van Dalen (67. van der Aar), de Wit We started the game well and got on the scoresheet fairly early - Johan van Dalen was completely unmarked in the box and received excellent cross from Stef Veldman and finished it confidently. Three minutes later Tarik de Wit doubled our lead with a fine header from a corner and when Stef Veldman added another goal from easy chance, it looked like Feyenoord are completely falling apart. However, their best striker Georges Kongnyuy found a chance in 30’ and so Feyenoord got one goal back and tried to find their way back into this game. Leslie Lichaba’s missed interception led to that opportunity and there wasn’t much that Ismet Gluhalic could do about that goal. Despite that bump on the road we finished the first half strong - Stef Veldman added another two goals in quick succession and completed his hat-trick before the half time. I was really happy at half-time, because it had been a brilliant performance in the first half and we’ve pretty much secured all three points before second half had even started. Feyenoord made all three substitutions at half time and tried to change the game. The second half was indeed more evenly balance, but we looked comfortably in control and when the final whistle called, our fans could start to celebrate that memorable victory. Confident performance from the whole team and wonderful result for us. our shooting was 21/14 we had 8.05 average rating Stef Veldman scored his 10th goal of the season Stef Veldman, Johan van Dalen and Simon Janssen were outstanding Player of the game: Stef Veldman 21.10.2035 - MVV Maastricht - AFC Ajax 0:5 (ED) - 40. Simon Janssen, 46. pen. Tarik de Wit, 58., 84. and 89. Johan van Dalen Two weeks of international football was behind us and we could use these weeks to train hard for our next game against MVV. I hoped to keep our momentum going and carry on confidence from Feyenoord game into this one. With this game starts our difficult schedule that extends into November - two games in a week for a three weeks period. MVV are predicted to finish 13th in this season and they had some injury problems in defense, but in away game they’re fairly capable opponents and we couldn’t be complacent. We practiced defending set pieces before the game (a lesson learned after PSV defeat). Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Hendriks, Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (58. Sener Arslan), Janssen (67. Arabaci), Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (64. Knol) We played the first half really well - kept MVV under pressure, attacked in numbers and won dangerous headers in their box, but their defense held on and goalkeeper made some good saves to deny our shots. Johan van Dalen and Tarik de Wit wasted their clear cut chances in the first half and it took 40 minutes before we found a gap in their defense. Simon Janssen got the ball in the box, turned and managed to put it behind defense and goalkeeper for a well-deserved goal. The second half started much better - Nabil Herder was quickly fouled in the box and Tarik de Wit converted the spot kick. Pressure was off then and what followed was Johan van Dalen show. Our left winger scored his first goal with wonderful volley from Herder’s cross and added two more goals later in the game. Stef Veldman and Stan Knol had great chances too, but couldn’t find the net. To be honest - lack of goals from Stan Knol is starting to worry me. He gets decent minutes from the bench and finds himself in good positions, but his finishing has let him down in this season and it could soon start to affect his confidence. In the end it was another impressive victory. We could have scored more goals, but it was a fantastic second half and I’m very happy with the team. our shooting was 33/16 we had 60% possession we had 8.27 average rating we created 7 clear cut chances and didn’t give MVV any scoring opportunities we made 34 dribbles in this game, 13 of those were made by Stef Veldman Johan van Dalen, Stef Veldman and Nabil Herder were outstanding in this game Player of the game: Johan van Dalen 24.10.2035 - Borussia Dortmund - AFC Ajax 1:2 (Champions League Group D) - 85. and 87. Leo Thorandt - 38. Tarik de Wit Our season continues with the away game against Borussia Dortmund and it’s probably the most difficult fixture in our Champions League group. We practiced defensive positioning before this game and I used my Champions League tactics against them - more disciplined and wider formation with more experienced players. Holland boss Roberto Martinez was on the stands for this one, so it’s a great opportunity for certain players to impress the national team manager. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari (63. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo (69. Arabaci), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen, de Wit (70. Knol) We looked fairly good in the first half - couple of half chances before Tarik de Wit scored from a corner and we got the lead before half-time. More importantly - we defended well and managed to limit Dortmund’s opportunities in the game, so I was fairly pleased with our performance in the first half. Second half looked the same and in 58’ Johan van Dalen missed two chances in a row - a moment that could easily prove decisive later on. Dortmund improved after substitutions and looked more motivated and attacking. Their pressure grew in the final ten minutes and Ismet Gluhalic had to make a couple of good saves, but in the end our defense finally cracked. Fred Koeman missed his interception and allowed Leo Thorandt a great chance and Dortmund’s winger didn’t waste that opportunity. Two minutes later it was again Thorandt who was open in front of our goal and that was it. At some point in the second half I already celebrated victory in my mind, but we let it slip away and returned from Dortmund with empty hands. I have to admit that our game fell apart a little after substitutions and players from the bench couldn’t offer that kind of intensity and positive impact to our game. That’s a tough learning experience for our young team and a reason why we have failed so many times in Champions League. we allowed Dortmund to make 33 dribbles in this game - a proof that Dortmund players are individually very good Fred Koeman had a poor game - costly mistake and he couldn’t handle Leo Thorandt in the final 10 minutes Player of the game: Leo Thorandt (Borussia Dortmund) We’ve played half of the games in this group and have 3 points. We still have a chance, but I’m disappointed that we’ve given away games that we could have won, or at least we could have get one point. Instead we’ve lost two games narrowly and have to improve if we want to qualify from this group. 27.10.2035 - AFC Ajax - NEC Nijmegen 0:0 (ED) It’s good that our schedule balances tough with easy and home game against NEC Nijmegen should be fairly easy for us. NEC are predicted to finish just 15th, but are at the bottom of the table - they have suffered 8 straight defeats and are still looking for their first win in the league. I rotated some players, because we have some tired legs after Dortmund game and I expect that our rotation players should be good enough to win this game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Squad: Florentina, Sandler, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba, de Groot, Sastrodimedjo (52. Arabaci), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (63. van der Plas), de Wit (68. Knol) As expected, we dominated that game from the beginning and had a number of good chances in the first half. Clyde Sastrodimedjo was denied by a brilliant save from NEC Nijmegen goalkeeper, who managed to parry the shot against goal post. Unlucky! Stef Veldman and Simon Janssen sent their attempts just wide of goal and then came the first dangerous attempt from NEC - Alex Marco took a fierce shot from 20 yards and it required a brilliant save from Zeus Florentina. Great to see that our young goalkeeper was up to the task.Unfortunately our attacking players weren’t and in 33’ Johan van Dalen wasted another great chance, hitting the post once again when it was easier to score. First half was actually pretty good from us, finishing aside, but I expected us to find a goal or two after the break. I asked fullbacks to overlap more and move forward in attacking phase, but it didn’t change much in our attack. NEC Nijmegen got their best chance in 63’ - Nick Gillett found himself alone in front of our goal, but somehow managed to miss his shot and in 74’ Leslie Lichaba received his second yellow card and was sent off. Things went from bad to worse, but as it often happens in football - when there’s more space on the pitch, the team that has more quality starts to play better and our smaller numbers didn’t mean too much. Our finishing, however, didn’t improve. Substitute Mark van der Plas wasted his great chance in 77’ and Stan Knol managed to hit the post three minutes later from another clear cut chance - our third time to hit the frameworks in this game. Final whistle marked a very disappointing result for us - it should have been easy and to be fair, we created enough chances to win this one, but I’ve rarely seen worse finishing from our players in this season, so that’s the main reason we lost two points from that game. we somehow lost possession 48/52 in this game our shooting was 18/4 - need to hit the target if we want to score goals, especially when we have 4 clear cut chances our average rating was just 6.91 Player of the game: Daudi Ferrere (NEC goalkeeper) Leslie Lichaba was fined for 1 weeks wages because of his second dismissal in this season. He first felt that the fine was unfair, but I explained things to him and in the end we agreed that there are certain expectations that he failed to meet, so I hope that that’s enough of a lesson for him. 30.10.2035 - Excelsior - AFC Ajax 2:3 (Dutch Cup 3rd round) - 21. Sylvian Moennoe, 59. Jesper Verlijsdonk - 18. Sener Arslan, 78. and 92. pen. Tarik de Wit The second easy game (on paper) was our cup match against Jupiler League side Excelsior. I was upset about our futile attack against NEC, but decided to continue with rotation players, because those are the games they should play and if they can’t perform against smaller teams, there’s no way they’ll improve by training alone. Squad: Florentina, Sandler, Schans, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot, Sener Arslan, Arabaci (59. Janssen), Burg, van der Plas (57. van der Aar), Knol (59. de Wit) We started the game fairly well and took the lead in 18’ when Sener Arslan found the top corner with his shot from 16 yards - great strike from the midfielder and there wasn’t much that Excelsior goalkeeper could do about that. What was less impressive that it took only three minutes before we allowed Excelsior to equalize - good cross came in from our left, Schans and Hendriks were too slow to react before Sylvian Moennoe got to the ball and it was 1:1. We continued to have better chances in this game and Stan Knol continued his woeful goalscoring form with a bad miss in 37’. That’s another great chance he’s wasted in this season. I was not happy with our performance at half time - we needed to concentrate better in defense and finish our chances in attack. Sener Arslan was our only spark in midfield in the first half. Second half looked similarly drab until 59’ when Excelsior managed to find their second goal, this time from corner. It was time to stop joking and I brought on big guns - Simon Janssen in midfield and Tarik de Wit in attack. That finally changed the game, because de Wit scored our equalizer in 78’ and we managed to take this game into extra time. Raimond Burg was tripped in the box early in the extra time and de Wit confidently scored from the spot. It looked like we’ve finally turned things around, but Excelsior still got another chance - Jeremy van Buren had a great opportunity to equalize in 110’, but his shot only hit the post and Florentina collected it then. When the final whistle called it was more of a relief than anything else - we got a narrow win, but needed extra time for that and against Jupiler League side that is not good enough. I didn’t need our players to be exhausted after 120 minutes of football and that was not the sort of performance we’ve used to. Disappointed with some of the players and can certainly use this game as evaluation for playing time in the near future. our shooting was 24/12 Sener Arslan and Raimond Burg were outstanding for us Tarik de Wit scored his 10th goal of the season in this game Jelle Sandler suffered thigh strain and will be out for 2-3 weeks we’ll play FC Oss in the next round - they stunned AZ Alkmaar in their third round game Player of the game: Sener Arslan October started with some excellent results and brilliant performances for us, but then our form started to decline. The game that hurt the most was defeat from Dortmund, because we were in the winning position so late in the game, but it proves once again what we lack in European level. Last two games were disappointing, especially performances of some of the rotation players who (according to themselves) hope to get more first team football. We’ll see. Eredivisie No serious harm done by that draw with NEC Nijmegen. We’re still leading the table and PSV Eindhoven are virtual second. Vitesse are also doing fairly well.
  8. September 2035 15.09.2035 - VVV Venlo - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 28. Stef Veldman, 46. Tarik de Wit, 67. Omar van der Aar Our campaign continues in September with away game against VVV Venlo. VVV are predicted to finish 9th in this season and to my eye they look a little bit unbalanced as team. We used these two weeks well and players had time to recover from small injuries and train hard. I expected better performance from our attacking players in this game and expectations were made clear to them as well. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba (67. Koeman), Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman (67. Burg), van der Aar, de Wit (65. Knol) It was a quiet first half and we didn’t create too many chances. We won headers in VVV box and got one goal out of those when Stef Veldman scored with a very good header, but that’s not really good enough from our attacking players and midfield. My half-time criticism worked well and we scored a quick goal after second half kick-off. Tarik de Wit took Leslie Lichaba’s cross down with his chest and scored a good goal from his chance. Omar van der Aar added another goal in 67’ and we secured a good win in the end. we didn’t give VVV any real chances in this game Player of the game: Simon Janssen Ajax board offered me a new contract and I accepted it. The new deal will keep me in Amsterdam Arena until 2039 with £30,000 p/w salary. 18.09.2035 - FC Basel - AFC Ajax 3:2 (Champions League Group D) - 29. Sven Wehrli, 38. Roman Wehrli, 53. Elia Kälin - 53. and 55. Tarik de Wit It’s our first Champions League game in this season and FC Basel were slight favourites, according to the bookies. They play attractive 4-3-3 formation and we’re not very familiar against that, but I expected us to do well. Either way, we needed good results against FC Basel if we want to have a chance in this group. We have a few players missing: Fred Koeman and Clyde Sastrodimedjo were suspended because yellow cards from the previous season. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Arabaci (81. Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van der Aar (46. van Dalen), de Wit (72. Knol) First 20 minutes were fairly even football and the highlight of our first half was in 22’ when Stef Veldman sent his header against post. But then chances started to fall to home team and they finished their opportunities very well. Good combination from our left wing resulted in the first goal and when Roman Wehrli scored the second goal for Basel from IFK, we looked in trouble. Simon Janssen had a great chance in 40’, but his shot hit the post (again) and another combination from Basel exposed our defense three minutes later. At half time it was a bit difficult to find the right words about that first half - we were completely outplayed by Basel in the last 20 minutes and our defense crumbled in front of my eyes. We clearly couldn’t cope with that 4-3-3 formation and were exposed by fast-moving attacks. I asked the players pull themselves together and show something different in the first half and that helped a little. Good defense-splitting pass from Simon Janssen found Tarik de Wit on the run and our striker finished his opportunity well. Right after our goal Mithat Arabaci had a great chance to score our second goal, but his shot was saved. However, the very next attack again brought a goal - de Wit doubled his tally and we looked much more dangerous before the final 30 minutes. However, FC Basel regained their composure and cemented their defense and held onto their lead until the final whistle. It was a good second half from us, but very disappointing defeat. I expected us to get six points against FC Basel, but the loss from here could mean that our Champions League ambitions are doomed even before the campaign has really started. Simon Janssen had a great game for us, despite our defeat weak links were Omar van der Aar (didn’t offer anything in attack) and Ismet Gluhalic (couldn’t save anything that came his way) Player of the game: Simon Janssen 22.09.2035 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 2:0 (ED) - 21. Tarik de Wit, 87. Omar van der Aar I wanted to bounce back from our Champions League defeat with a win and we were favourites for the home game against sc Heerenveen, so I expected the team to do exactly that. sc Heerenveen was predicted to finish 8th in the table, but they’re still looking for their first win after the first six games, so it’s been a rocky start for them, to say the least. Their most interesting acquisition in this Summer is ex-Ajax goalkeeper Marvin Koops. Koops moved to SC Bastia three years ago, but played below expectations in the Ligue 1 and now the 32 years old goalkeeper moved back to Eredivisie. Our team looked a little bit tired after European game and I felt that wise rotation was necessary. Nabil Herder was rested and Jelle Sandler started in right-back. Johan van Dalen recovered from his dead leg that he suffered in FC Basel game, so Omar van der Aar took his place in the line-up. Squad: Gluhalic, Sandler, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba (55. Hendriks), Engin Ari (72. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman (66. Burg), van der Aar, de Wit We started the game well and Stef Veldman got two half-chances in a row in 3’. Both of his shot were saved, but that showed early on that sc Heerenveen defense looked vulnerable and we managed to keep them under good pressure for the best part of the first half. We scored our first goal from the corner - Tarik de Wit sent his header from target and that was saved rather clumsily by Koops, so de Wit got to rebound and finished his chance well. Scoreline was 1:0 after the first 45 minutes - we’ve looked good, but could have created more chances and what really bothered me was our number of fouls. Leslie Lichaba made 9 fouls in the first half and to be honest, was lucky to be on the pitch at half time, so I took him off early in the second half. The game moved after the break and things looked similar to the first half - we had possession and tried to create chances and sc Heerenveen hoped to find an equalizer from rare counter or set piece situation. They got close in 78’ when George Okoro won a header in free-kick situation and that went only narrowly over our goal, clipping the crossbar in the process. That was a close call and I got a little bit nervous at the sidelines, but in 87’ we scored our second goal after excellent counter-attack. Combination by de Groot, Burg, Janssen and Omar van der Aar was too quick and well-executed for sc Heerenveen defense and van der Aar finished his chance with a great strike that secured us all three points from home game. our shooting was 21/8 we didn’t give sc Heerenveen any real chances in this game we allowed sc Heerenveen to make 23 dribbles - a little bit too much we committed 25 fouls in the game and the referee had a lot of work - Leslie Lichaba was guilty of 9 fouls individually Simon Janssen had a great game for us Ismet Gluhalic played his 200th game for Ajax 27.09.2035 - SVZW - AFC Ajax 0:4 (Dutch Cup 2nd round) - 6. Mark van der Plas, 42. pen. Mario de Groot, 75. Mithat Arabaci, 90.+1 Raimond Burg Our next game was easy cup game against amateur team.Although easy game for us, it was a massive event for our opponents, because over 1000 tickets were sold for this cup game and it was probably the first time we played against SVZW. It was a good moment to rest key players ahead of our derby game against PSV Eindhoven. Rotation players and youngsters will get their chance to impress. Squad: Florentina, Sandler, Siereveld, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot, Arslan, Arabaci, Burg, van der Plas (62. van der Aar), Knol We started the game well and young winger Mark van der Plas opened scoring from a simple tap-in. We managed to hit the woodwork twice in the first half and needed a penalty to get our next goal. Mithat Arabaci was fouled in the box and Mario de Groot converted the spot kick. We continued well in the second half, with Mithat Arabaci scoring his first ever goal for Ajax from the corner and Raimond Burg added another goal in injury time. I expected more goals from this game, but the result was good enough and I can’t really complain about the performance. we had 66% possession our shooting was 34/11 we had 8.29 average rating we created 7 clear cut chances we made 33 dribbles we didn’t give SVZW any chances in this game Mithat Arabaci, Raimond Burg, Mario de Groot and Rick Hendriks were outstanding in this game Mithat Arabaci scored his first ever goal for Ajax in this game Player of the game: Mithat Arabaci we will play Excelsior in the third round game 30.09.2035 - PSV Eindhoven - AFC Ajax 4:0 (ED) - 19. Dennis de Jong, 31. Ismet Gluhalic (og) 49. Rogier Steemers, 76. Chijoke Obafemi September ended with a tough away derby against PSV Eindhoven. PSV are expected to finish third in this season, but in my eyes they’re perhaps the strongest team in the league at the moment, so it’s a difficult challenge for any team. We practiced attacking set pieces before the game and hoped for the best. Some of the PSV players looked a little tired, so I hoped that our better fitness could help us in the second half. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Hendriks, Koeman, Engin Ari (69. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman, van der Aar (50. van Dalen), de Wit (55. Knol) The game started slowly, but in the first half it was PSV who looked more likely to pose a real threat to our goal. Chijoke Obafemi’s header in 19’ required a good reflex save from Ismet Gluhalic, but Dennis de Jong collected the rebound and finished his chance well. We had huge difficulties against Obafemi in the Super Cup game, but this time our defenders did better and he didn’t find too much space in our box. Rick Hendriks looked like a worthy opponent to him in the air. However, PSV soon scored their second goal from IFK. Stef Veldman allowed Adrian Tomash to have shot on goal, Gluhalic saved it, but the ball bounced on the line and in the end Gluhalic couldn’t clear it, so it was marked as an own goal. We went to half time, trailing 0:2 and I have to admit that defensively we weren’t good enough in the first half - PSV found chances and used them well. We, at the same time, couldn’t create much and our only half-chance in 34’ was missed by Tarik de Wit. I reminded the players that we’re expected to be better than that, but it had no apparent effect in the second half. Another poor IFK defense gave PSV their third goal and that pretty much decided it. Our best chance gave in 67’ when de Wit found Clyde Sastrodimedjo with excellent through ball, but his shot was saved and in 76’ PSV scored their fourth goal - again from IFK. This time Fred Koeman was too slow to follow Chijoke Obafemi at the far post. PSV’s Remi Mercier wasted his clear cut chance in injury time and I couldn’t wait for the final whistle to blow. It was an embarrassing defeat for us. PSV was clearly better team on the pitch and while we weren’t SO bad, they just destroyed us from set pieces. We conceded three goals from free kicks and that was completely unacceptable. I looked furious in our dressing room and told the whole defensive line to look into the mirror and reflect on that performance. We definitely need to improve a lot before we will play Feyenoord in a week’s time. our shooting was 13/3 - not enough good chances and most of the shots well off target our average rating was just 6.79 Player of the game: Dennis de Jong (PSV Eindhoven) I have mixed feelings about our form in September. We’ve done well in regular Eredivisie games, but we failed when it really mattered - in Champions League and in a derby game against PSV. We need to play big games much better and, of course, there are questions of squad selection too. Eredivisie We remained 1st in the table despite that defeat. VVV Venlo have started their season well. FC Eindhoven and Telstar have both made a strong start. At the bottom of the table NEC and sc Heerenveen are still looking for their first win.
  9. Squad Update 2035 This season’s first team is a lot younger than in previous years. Obviously, because two veterans retired, but we’ve included a lot of youngsters to fill those roles. I try to limit our squad size to 25 players. In this season it is 25 players, out of which Erwin Vormer and Jaap Hoogdorp are on loan at the moment. Average age is just 23,3 years (as of August 2035). Goalkeepers No changes here. Ismet Gluhalic is still our first choice, but Zeus Florentina has proved that he can be relied upon when it’s necessary. Defenders Right-back position is the most interesting one, with Nabil Herder, Jelle Sandler and youngster Clive Noordhoff (who starts for Jong Ajax) all eyeing first team place after Tom Drost hung up his boots. The rest of the team are more familiar - Germain Siereveld, Edward Schans and Rick Hendriks fill central defense and Leslie Lichaba shares playing time with Fred Koeman in left defense. Midfielders One addition here - Mithat Arabaci returned from loan and I’m trying to find the best use of him. He’ll do well as box-to-box midfielder, but perhaps can fill the role of Simon Janssen as well. I also kept Sener Arslan in the team to give him minutes against smaller teams and help his development. Wingers Stef Veldman looks really good with improvements in training and his form. Sjoerd de Jong is gone and Raimond Burg is back to provide backup if necessary. There is more competition on the left - Johan van Dalen and Omar van der Aar will need to make space for young and talented Mark van der Plas. Strikers Tarik de Wit and Stan Knol should be capable duo. Hopefully they both stay fit in this season.
  10. Transfers Update Summer 2035 I made two big decisions in this Summer. First was about Sjoerd de Jong. Italian Serie A side Como was interested in him and I allowed him to go to Italy for £1,6m. He is 23 years old no, our second best right winger and unlikely to improve much, so there’s no point to keep him in the squad and keep the position. Instead I could use some younger prospects like Peter Lemmens in this position, but for now Raimond Burg can provide adequate cover for Stef Veldman. The second call was a bit more difficult, but in the beginning of August I accepted Watford’s £6m+clauses (up to £7m) bid for Kevin de Jonge. He’s a good talent, but has some flaws and I’m not sure how he really fits in my system. I prefer Engin Ari in DMC and de Jonge played mostly in DC in the previous season, but he’s not good enough in the air to play DC in long-term and he although he’s a model professional and good player, he has one major flaw - he’s not good in big games and can become nervous under pressure and that was also often evident in his games for Ajax, so I reckoned that I will probably not get a better deal for him and allowed him to go for Premier League. I have to admit that I personally don’t believe he’ll make it there, but that’s already Watford’s problem. In the very last day of the transfer window I had to made a quick call and match bid for a talented Ajax CT left winger Kwanele Nkoana, landing a talented 17-years old prospect for £725k. A rare moment for us to buy a player, but we’ve collected good prospects from Ajax CT before and I expect him to progress well in the near future. In this season, however, he’ll remain in Jong Ajax. Loans Erwin Vormer to Roda JC Kerkrade Niek van der Ent to Roda JC Kerkrade Peter Lemmens to FC Eindhoven Eredivisie Transfers Eredivisie transfer window looked to be more busy than usual. Clubs in Holland are used to sell for more money that they spend and it was the case in this Summer as well, with FC Utrecht bringing in the biggest transfer fee for their talented left-back Danny Eind, who moved to Real Madrid for a whopping £18,25m. The final day of the window was busy as well - FC Twente made a lot of last minute deals to bolster their squad and a lot of players switched clubs inside the league. In general, transfers brought roughly £29m net profit into the coffers of Eredivisie clubs. ADO Den Haag and PSV Eindhoven invested nearly additional money £4m into their players while FC Utrecht and AFC Ajax made the most profit. PSV also have the biggest annual salary with £24m. AFC Ajax and Feyenoord follow with £17-18m and FC Utrecht is fourth with a little less than £13m salary funds. Major transfers in Eredivisie Summer 2035 Danny Eind from FC Utrecht to Real Madrid for £18,25m Kevin de Jonge from AFC Ajax to Watford for £6m Remi Mercier from Vitesse Arnhem to PSV Eindhoven for £5,75m Jan Sanafikhah from Feyenoord Rotterdam to West Ham United for £4,3m Michael Diemers from AZ Alkmaar to FC Twente Enschede for £4,2m Ulisses Barros from Vitesse Arnhem to Nottingham Forest for £3,8m Maurice Jenner from Feyenoord Rotterdam to Celtic Glasgow for £3,5m Paulo Pires from Sporting Lisbon to Vitesse Arnhem for £3m (looks to be talented Portuguese midfielder, has already played some games for their U-21 national team) Fadel Harianto from FC Utrecht to Vitesse Arnhem for £2,8m Patryk Rodak from Lech to ADO Den Haag for £2,6m (pretty good Polish striker) Abubakar Onyekachi from AZ Alkmaar to Feyenoord Rotterdam for £2,5m Job ter Borgh from FC Twente Enschede to ADO Den Haag for £2,1m (ex-Ajax DC/DMC, probably not worth that kind of money) Most notable free signing was Roda JC’s capture of Polish striker Artur Michalski and the most interesting loan move was ex-Ajax striker Wim Splinter, who moved from his current club AS Monaco to NEC Nijmegen on a one-season loan
  11. August 2035 10.08.2035 - AFC Ajax - Sparta Rotterdam 3:2 (ED) - 36. and 54. Stef Veldman, 67. Johan van Dalen - 72. and 75. Ferry de Geer Our Eredivisie campaign starts with a home game against Sparrta. Sparta should be a fairly easy opponent for us - their predicted to finish 14th and have yet to address some serious issues with their squad, namely signing a proper goalkeeper after their previous first team choice retired in this Summer and they also don’t have a single proper right-back in their first team. Sparta will probably try to solve those issues during August, before transfer deadline, but for the time being I conclude that they’re just not ready for that game. We, on the other hand, look fairly good, although some problems in defense remain. Rick Hendriks is back in full training (although he hasn’t played in pre-season and needs match fitness), Leslie Lichaba is suspended because of his dismissal in Super Cup game and Jelle Sandler will need to cover for Nabil Herder’s absence in DR position. It’s a good chance for him to impress in those early games in August and fortunately the opponents in the first weeks are not too strong, too. Squad: Gluhalic, Sandler, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen (66. Arabaci), Veldman, van der Aar (66. van Dalen), de Wit (70. Knol) We played a very good first half. Omar van der Aar had the first great chance to score - he received a through ball from Tarik de Wit, had plenty of space and enough time, but sent his shot well wide. Stef Veldman had a great opportunity in 16’ after our counter-attack, but his shot was saved and in 32’ van der Aar missed another great look when his shot hit the post instead of going into the net. Jelle Sandler saw his deep cross turn towards goal and bounce back from crossbar and at this point I started to feel that indeed we’ve been very unlucky in this game, but in 36’ Stef Veldman finally managed to break through and finished after our counter. It was a good first half from us, but we missed some very good scoring chances and that could be a lot better. We continued well into the second half. Omar van der Aar saw his shot being tipped over by Sparta goalkeeper, but in 54’ we scored another goal. Engin Ari tried his luck from distance, his shot bounced back from the post, but Veldman was there to finish. Johan van Dalen came on in 66’ and had instant impact on this game, scoring a quick goal and the game looked over in that moment. However, we got clumsy in defense and although Sparta had not pose any threat to us until that point, but Ferry de Geer managed to score two goals in quick succession and we suddenly looked lost on the pitch. I couldn’t understand what was going on and tried to figure out how to maintain our lead until the final whistle, but another blow came in 79’ when Jelle Sandler received his second yellow card and left us with 10 men. Inexperience combined with nervousness there and a big learning moment for the young right-back. The last 10 minutes were very nervous - Sparta were obviously encouraged after their goal and the red card, but we had actually better moments from counter attacks. Stef Veldman could have completed his hat-trick in 87’, but his shot went wide. Sparta tried to apply pressure to our defense, but couldn’t find another good chance and so the game finished 3:2. It should have been much easier game for us and we actually were very good in the first 70 minutes, but the end of the game was a real mess and we allowed things to go completely out of control. It almost cost the game for us. Our finishing needs to improve too. our shooting was 23/8 we created 7 clear cut chances Stef Veldman had a great game for us Fred Koeman will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks with sprained ankle Player of the game: Stef Veldman 15.08.2035 - Roda JC Kerkrade - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 57. Artur Michalski - 1. Stef Veldman, 80. Johan van Dalen Newly-promoted Roda JC are predicted to finish 16th in this season, but they have at least a couple of good players in their squad and they have put their emphasis on players with good teamwork. They play attractive 4-2-3-1 tactics and for us this away game is a good chance to see our loan star Erwin Vormer in action for Roda JC. We, on the other hand, had serious problems with defense before this game - Nabil Herder and youngster Clive Noordhoff were injured and with Jelle Sandler suspended after his red card in Sparta game, I had to move Germain Siereveld to DR again. Fortunately Rick Hendriks is back in training after his injury and although he lacks match practice, this has to be good enough, because we have no other options. Leslie Lichaba starts in left defense, because Fred Koeman is injured. Squad: Gluhalic, Siereveld, Schans, Hendriks, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (70. Arabaci), Janssen, Veldman, van der Aar (57. van Dalen), de wit (79. Knol) We had a great chance to the game - in the very first attack Stef Veldman used his half-chance well and opened the scoring for us. However, things settled down after that quick goal and it was a drab first half. Roda JC looked good with the ball and we actually lost possession in the first half. Our strikers found themselves in offside position too often and that meant we couldn’t create any good chances. Second half wasn’t much difference and in 57’ Roda striker Artur Michalski found the goal. He first sent his shot against the crossbar, but our defenders were slow to react and Edward Schans’ touch wasn’t good enough, so Michalski got another chance and finished it off from close range. I tried to change things, but at first substitutions didn’t have any effect. However, in 80’ two substitutes combined our winning goal - Stan Knol delivered the ball into six-yard box and Johan van Dalen dived into tackle to put this into the net. Great fighting spirit from our left winger - it was the second game in a row when his goal proved to be vital for our win. The last 10 minutes looked fairly nervous again, but we held onto our lead and came away from this game with three points. We got the result, but I have no reason to be happy with our performance. For Roda, however, it seems that they’re good enough to keep their place in Eredivisie, if they play like this throughout the season. we lost possession 44/56 - the most surprising line in stat sheet for me we allowed 21 dribbles - another mark that we should have done better Player of the game: Germain Siereveld 18.08.2035 - AFC Ajax - Telstar 4:0 (ED) - 3. Stef Veldman, 50. Jelle Sandler, 71. Omar van der Aar, 78. Stan Knol Back to Amsterdam Arena and another small team to play against. Telstar are predicted to finish 18th in this season, but after two match days they’re leading Eredivisie table and have made an excellent start to their season. We’re still clear favourites for this game. We have Jelle Sandler back in the line-up after he served his suspension, but there are some tired legs in the team, because there’s just three days between two games. Johan van Dalen has deserved to start in this game after scoring two goals in consecutive games - Omar van der Aar will be on the bench and think about his missed chances in the previous games. Squad: Gluhalic, Sandler, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (69. Arabaci), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (69. van der Aar), de Wit (66. Knol) We started the game very well. Quick counter-attack in 3’ gave us a great chance and Stef Veldman scored another goal in this season to put us in control. The rest of the half was more quiet - we controlled midfield, but only managed to create a couple of half-chances and went to half time with 1:0 lead. We looked OK in the first half, but could play a lot better, as I know very well. Things improved in the second half. Clyde Sastrodimedjo tried his luck from distance and his shot was saved with difficulties, but then Jelle Sandler moved forward to finish from rebound - his first ever goal for Ajax and a rare moment for right-back to get his name on the score-sheet. Substitute Omar van der Aar added another goal from corner and in 78’ Stan Knol rounded things up for us with his first goal of the season. It was a very similar to our second goal. This time Mithat Arabaci had an attempt and Telstar’s goalkeeper Bob Leeflang couldn’t hold onto it. The ball fell to Stan Knol who scored an easy finish from close range. Final score looked very convincing and this game was perhaps a reality check for Telstar after their great start in this season. our shooting was 26/11 we didn’t allow Telstar to create any chances in this game Jelle Sandler scored his first ever goal for Ajax Stef Veldman had a great game for us Player of the game: Stef Veldman 25.08.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Volendam 2:0 (ED) - 58. Johan van Dalen, 71. Stef Veldman Our schedule in August has been generous enough so we can start our season with games against bottom half teams. We’re clear favourites against FC Volendam in this home game - Volendam are predicted to finish 14th in this season and although they’ve invested a little more than £1m into new players, they don’t look much stronger compared to previous years. Their danger man Veljko Ostojic is now 33 years old and starting to show his age, even though he’s still very good in the air and I have to select my defenders according to their height and prowess in the air. It means that Edward Schans will be replaced by Rick Hendriks. The rest of the team will remain the same, because we played well against Telstar and there’s no need to change that. Squad: Gluhalic, Sandler, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo (72. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (72. van der Plas), de Wit (55. Knol) The first half was quiet. We looked to be a slightly better team, but we couldn’t create decent chances and the closest moment to a goal came in 7’ when Tarik de Wit sent won a header after our corner and sent it against the crossbar. In fact, we looked good in the air and won headers in set piece situations, but couldn’t direct them on target and those efforts were for nothing. So, I could not be happy with our first half performance and in addition to that, Jelle Sandler and Rick Hendriks looked nervous on the pitch and Sandler picked up a knock, too. I changed things in the second half - asked full-backs to overlap more and soon took off underperforming de Wit. Stan Knol replaced him and dropped deeper as false-nine. That proved to be effective, as Knol and van Dalen combined our first goal in 58’ and it was a huge relief for me. Two minutes later Knol made a good interception and went on goal, but was denied by a brilliant save from Volendam goalkeeper Marcel Peters. Johan van Dalen had another chance in 62’, but his shot from angle hit the post and at this point it looked like control in this game has come more and more into our hands. Stef Veldman extended our lead to two goals in 71’ and that secured our position. I could send on youngsters and enjoy the rest of the game. Volendam’s danger man Veljko Ostojic finally showed his danger in the air in 82’ when he won a header from a corner and it cracked against our crossbar. That was a close call, but we controlled things better after that. Even though Veldman wasted his second clear cut chance in 87’, our win was certain at this point. It was a poor first half, but we were better after the break and that was good enough to win this game. our shooting was 20/8 we didn’t allow FC Volendam to create any good scoring chances Mark van der Plas made his league debut for Ajax in this game Jelle Sandler suffered calf train and will be out for 3 weeks Rick Hendriks and Tarik de Wit were disappointing - Hendriks looked good in the air, but otherwise error-prone, nervous and (later) complacent; de Wit offered no creativity in attack and his shots went off target Player of the game: Marcel Peters (GK) - FC Volendam 31.08.2035 - ADO Den Haag - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED) Final day of the transfer window is even more busy because of this league game. ADO Den Haag are expected to finish 7th in Eredivisie, but they’ve started very poorly and have got only one draw from their first four games in this campaign. Their squad looks ready and fit and I don’t expect it to be a walk in the park in the away game, though. However, I was surprised when just before the game I found out that ADO Den Haag were marked as slight favourites for this game. We have four straight wins and they haven’t scored a single goal yet and they’re favourites against us? I wonder what sort of mushrooms have these bookies eaten lately... Still, we have (again) problems in defense, because Jelle Sandler injury. Nabil Herder is recovered and back in training, but not fit enough to start in this game, so I have no other option than to use (again) Germain Siereveld in DR. Fred Koeman is also back in light training and I expect him to be back in line-up in our next games in mid-September. Squad: Gluhalic, Siereveld, Schans, Hendriks, Lichaba, Engin Ari, Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman (77. Burg), van Dalen (61. van der Aar), de Wit (56. Knol) We started the game well and had a couple of half chances in the first fifteen minutes. The best one came in 11’ when Stef Veldman had a good look from our IFK, but he was brilliantly denied by ADO goalkeeper. The rest of the first half was drab football - we couldn’t find our mojo in attack, didn’t create any good chances and found ourselves constantly in offside positions. I managed to get the lads more motivated with my half time team talk, but it didn’t reflect in what I saw on the pitch. We continued to be poor in attack (and it got more evident why ADO have not scored goals - they’re just too invested in defense). The best chances in this half fell to ADO’s Bryan de Bruin - he found himself one-on-one against Ismet Gluhalic after a good counter in 63’, but great save from our goalkeeper kept our clean sheet. ADO had more shots and some of them on target, but the score remained goalless until the end. It was a por draw, especially because ADO looked a better team in the second half and they shut us down well in defense. We have to improve in the future if we want to win those games. I can’t be happy with Johan van Dalen and Tarik de Wit, who were both anonymous in attack and called for too many offsides. ADO Den Haag have not scored in the first five games now we gave ADO Den Haag 12 corners, but defended them well we allowed ADO to make 24 dribbles - too many Player of the game: Germain Siereveld - solid performance, even though he made 8 individual mistakes I’m not happy with our performance against ADO Den Haag, but overall we’ve started our campaign well and 13 points from the first five games is not too bad. Some small injuries and suspensions have disrupted our rhythm, but we head to international break now and all players should be fit when Eredivisie campaign resumes. Champions League draw was made and we were (again) seeded in the first group. We landed in Group D with Borussia Dortmund, Zenit and FC Basel. The draw was OK and I believe we should beat FC Basel and are fairly equal with Zenit, so we have our chances in this group. Eredivisie Good start for us, but PSV and Feyenoord are doing fairly well, too. ADO Den Haag are struggling in the bottom, without wins and goals.
  12. July 2035 We had three friendlies before Dutch Super Cup final (including 9:1 away win over Napoli) and I’m positive moving towards the beginning of the new season. All players are fit and friendlies are going well. At the same time we have some changes in backroom staff - our Italian scout Giuseppe Martino decided to return to Italy and join AS Roma. U-19 coach Mitchell Dijks was offered managerial position of NEC Nijmegen and he accepted, of course. NEC survived the relegation play-offs in Spring and they desperately need to improve their squad if they want to have a better season after that. Hopefully Dijks will do well in that role and when asked in a press conference, I stated that I was proud of him and his appointment is a proof of his professional work here in Ajax. 28.07.2035 - AFC Ajax - PSV Eindhoven 2:1 (Dutch Super Cup) - 46. and 88. pen. Tarik de Wit - 59. Kees van der Werff This years’ Super Cup game was held in Amsterdam Arena, so it was almost like a home game for us. PSV are one of the favourites for this season and they’ve strengthened their squad in the Summer - ex-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt retired and their loan star (Top Goalscorer and Golden Boot winner) Khalid Tran returned to England, but they acquired another ex-Ajax star defender Tarik Gennissen from Aston Villa and have signed their key players down with contracts with around £50,000p/w salaries, so it’s correct to say that they’ve invested a lot to be successful in the coming years. To beat them will be a challenge in itself. We have Rick Hendriks injured, but the rest of the players are fit and ready (although match fitness level are still not exactly high, as expected in pre-season). Squad: Gluhalic, Herder (7. de Jonge), Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, Engin Ari (37. Koeman), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman, van Dalen (84. van der Aar), de Wit The first half was a bit of a disaster for us. It started in 7’ when Nabil Herder had to come off with a sprained ankle. I replaced him with Kevin de Jonge, moved him to central defense and Germain Siereveld took DR position, but it was a forced substitution and desperate move, because Siereveld is a lot less effective in attacking phase and also a little bit slow against quicker wingers. The second bad moment arrived in 37’ when Leslie Lichaba received his second yellow card and marching orders with it. I was furious, because again our left back’s poor discipline let us down, but at the same time I felt that we’ve been unfairly targeted by the referee - we didn’t make too many fouls in the first half, but finished it with 4 yellow cards and 10 men. PSV instantly tried to take advantage of the situation and their best strikers Chijoke Obafemi had a couple of great chances in the end of the first half, but Ismet Gluhalic managed to make good saves and we could go to half time break with 0:0 scoreline and a tough second half ahead of us, with 10 men and one remaining substitutions. I tried to encourage the lads in the half time break and it probably helped, because we took the lead right after second half kick-off. Tarik de Wit worked well to keep PSV defenders under pressure and he managed to take the ball away from Julio Silva and then went on to finish his opportunity with a great strike that goalkeeper Rene Rauws was unable to stop. PSV players looked clearly frustrated with that outcome and in the remaining of the second half we had to survive their constant attacks. Unfortunately the chances also came with their attacks and we looked unable to stop Chijoke Obafemi properly. Our defenders kept losing him, Edward Schans was often beaten in the air and we struggled to limit their chances. Only the fact that Obafemi himself wasted his chances and/or Ismet Gluhalic made some really good saves, helped to keep our clean sheet until in 59’ Kees van der Werff equalized from corner and made things even more difficult for us. PSV’s Edu had a great chance to score a winner in 80’ after a good counter and again Gluhalic was on hand to tip his shot over the crossbar. Finally, luck smiled at us right before the final whistle - Germain Siereveld was tripped in the box and the penalty was awarded. Tarik de Wit stepped up and calmly converted the spot kick and two minutes was not enough time for PSV to repair that mistake. A little bit lucky and unexpected win for us, but I was really delighted with how things came together for us. Obviously this game didn’t give us much information about who’s the most likely favourites for the league title, because for most of the game we had to play with 10 players, so the questions remain even though PSV looked like they deserved to win this game. we won the Dutch Super Cup for the first time in 5 seasons, despite the fact that we’ve not missed the final in my reign our defense clearly struggled in this game against PSV’s numbers - their shooting was 23/10 and they created 5 clear cut chances: worrying numbers, but explainable with our red card Nabil Herder will be out for at least 5 weeks because of his sprained ankle
  13. Season Update 2034-2035 In conclusion it was a fairly average season for us and our results were clearly affected by injuries of key players - first team striker Tarik de Wit was injured 62% of the season and that (with Engin Ceylan’s departure in January) clearly weakened our attack. It didn’t affect our Eredivisie campaign, because although Feyenoord had a really strong start, we picked up our form and won the title comfortably in Spring, but we missed key players in the key moments of European campaign and fell just a little bit short in both Champions League group stage and in Europa League 2nd knockout round. We need a bit more depth in the team to tackle those situations better in the future. It was a season of our rebuilding and the last season of our two legends - captain Tom Drost and Dirk van Grinsven. Both have played 400+ games for Ajax and have come from our own youth ranks. Both announced their retirement in this Summer, but will not remain in football after finishing their playing career. At the same time we have plenty of young players eager to prove themselves in the first team. Nabil Herder played 20+ games as DR and did really well. Erwin Vormer had some good games in midfield and young winger Mark van der Plas has been really good in Jong Ajax, so he definitely deserves a chance in the first team. But most of all I’m impressed with Stan Knol - he shouldn’t have played a role in the first team, but injuries demanded that 18 years old striker needed to be called from Jong Ajax and he finished his season with 14 goals for the senior team. That’s a true relevation and perhaps the next wonderkid coming up. Fans Player of the Season Simon Janssen Clyde Sastrodimedjo Engin Ari Goal of the Season: Clyde Sastrodimedjo vs. ADO Den Haag 25/08/2034 Young Player of the Season: Nabil Herder Interesting Statistics We weren’t the best attacking team in the league (PSV scored a lot more goals), but we played well in defense and lost only one game in the whole season. We used our chances fairly well - 45% of clear cut chances finished with a goal (pretty normal percentage), but we converted 16% of our half chances and that’s pretty good (average is around 10% in previous seasons). We didn’t have too much luck in scoring, though - we hit the framework no less than 19 times in 34 games. That’s a lot of goals that we didn’t get. We do not have good set piece takers in our team, but still managed to get a decent amount of goals from corners and I’m happy with that. Our goalkeepers managed to save every third of opposition clear cut chances in Eredivisie and around 25% in all competitions (10 out of 40), so that’s pretty decent as well - no wonder Ismet Gluhalic was named the best goalkeeper in Eredivisie again. Eredivisie Awards Golden Boot Khalid Tran - PSV Eindhoven Remi Mercier - Vitesse Arnhem Dave de Mos - sc Heerenveen Top Goalscorer Khalid Tran - PSV Eindhoven - 32 Chijoke Obafemi - PSV Eindhoven - 25 Georges Kongnyuy - Feyenoord Rotterdam - 23 Goalkeeper of the Year Ismet Gluhalic - AFC ajax Martijn van der Velde - FC Groningen Peet Smetsers - ADO Den Haag Young Player of the Year Lars Ames - FC Utrecht Khalid Tran - PSV Eindhoven Remi Mercier - Vitesse Arnhem Manager’s Manager of the Year Me Clarence Seedorf - Feyenoord Rotterdam Sander Duits - PSV Eindhoven
  14. May 2035 06.05.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Groningen 1:0 (ED) - 38. Leslie Lichaba Two home games to finish our season with and the first of those was more difficult challenge. FC Groningen have done exceptionally well and find themselves 4th in the table in closing phases of the season. However, their midfield star Klevis Dema is suspended for this game and home crowd should give us the advantage. Tom Drost is suspended from our side, but Leslie Lichaba, Mario de Groot and most importantly - Tarik de Wit, are all fit after injuries and will start in this game. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, Siereveld, Schans, Lichaba, de Groot (68. de Jonge), Vormer, Janssen, Veldman (71. de Jong), van Dalen, de Wit (61. Knol) We had a small initiative from the start, but chances were not coming so easy and FC Groningen looked well organised defensively. Surely, they’re a good team, as their table position indicated. Simon Janssen had our first good shot on target in 13’ and in 35’ Johan van Dalen got a free header from close range that bounced back from the crossbar. Unlucky from the left winger. However, we broke through in 38’ - Tarik de Wit flicked on our free kick and Leslie Lichaba was there to head it in. Good header from the left back and we were leading. FC Groningen got their best opportunity in 43’ - Gerry Schuur had a fairly good shot on target, but Ismet Gluhalic was ready and parried it. I was pleased with our first half, because we played well in defense and in midfield and set piece goal looked good enough at this point. Second half was even better under our control, although chances were still rare. Johan van Dalen had a half-chance in 67’ and his shot again smashed the crossbar - for the second time in this game, and Sjoerd de Jong got a crack in 72’, but his shot was well held by FC Groningen goalkeeper. It finished 1:0 and I was pleased with our win and performance. we didn’t give FC Groningen any real chances in this game we made 22 fouls - 9 of those were committed by Leslie Lichaba, who miraculously escaped without booking 13.05.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Eindhoven 1:0 (ED) - 87. Simon Janssen It’s our last game of the season, a home game and farewell game for Tom Drost and Dirk van Grinsven, who have been true legends of this club, but should move on after this Summer. Dirk van Grinsven already announced his retirement from football after this season and it’s appropriate that our fans can bid them farewell in this home game. We’re clear favourites for the game, but FC Eindhoven have plenty to play for - they’re 15th in the table and good result here will save them from relegation play-offs. However, when they fail to get any points, then it’s possible that they’ll drop down to 16th place. We practiced attacking set pieces before the game and I shared playing time according to matches played, match fitness and yellow cards (meaning that all players who were one yellow card away from suspension are sitting on the bench). Squad: Florentina, Drost, Siereveld, Hendriks, Lichaba (71. Koeman), de Jonge, Vormer, Janssen, van Grinsven (64. de Jong), van der Aar, de Wit (64. Knol) Another game with unusual line-up and that showed in the first half - it was a drab football until half time and our only great chance came in 17’ - Erwin Vormer found Tarik de Wit with well-placed through ball, but de Wit couldn’t use his chance and the shot was saved. We needed to improve in the second half, but it didn’t happen to be, until we increased our pressure after substitutions were made. Omar van der Aar headed against the crossbar in 76’, but we finally found the goal in 87’ - Simon Janssen reacted first to the loose ball and finished with confident strike from close range. We should have played a lot better, but it was another win and clean sheet for us, so a positive finish to our season. our shooting was 22/7 we didn’t give FC Eindhoven any scoring opportunities Two wins without pressure and solid finish to our season. Ajax goals: Johan van Dalen 17, Engin Ceylan 15, Stan Knol 14, Stef Veldman 12, Omar van der Aar 10 Ajax assists: Johan van Dalen 15, Simon Janssen 12, Stef Veldman 10 Eredivisie PSV Eindhoven made a big push and went past Feyenoord in the last matchday of the season. Helmond Sport were relegated, but (as it has happened most times in recent seasons), both Eredivisie teams retained their places in the relegation play-offs. Roda JC Kerkrade were promoted to Eredivisie for the next season.
  15. April 2035 04.04.2035 - PSV Eindhoven - AFC Ajax 2:1 (Dutch Cup Semi Final) - 4. Khalid Tran, 83. Ismet Gluhalic (og) - 71. Omar van der Aar April started with the cup semi-final and another derby game against PSV Eindhoven. Because our position in the league is so strong, I regard this game our most important in the remaining season and prepared our strongest line-up for this fixture. We practiced attacking set pieces in pre-match training, but this was no easy challenge for us - PSV have been in great form in the second half of the season and they’ve scored a lot of goals, especially their loaned-in striker Khalid Tran, so perhaps it was no wonder that bookies considered PSV as slight favourites in their home game. Squad: Gluhalic, Drost, Siereveld, Schans, Koeman, Engin Ari (76. de Groot), Sastrodimedjo, Janssen, Veldman (71. de Jong), van Dalen (62. van der Aar), Knol PSV took the early lead and it was the second consecutive game in which we conceded an early goal. Ambitious attempt from some distance came on target, Ismet Gluhalic made a save, but let the ball get loose and Khalid Tran was there to finish from point blank range. It was a great start to PSV and it took some time for us to recover from it, but in 17’ we got our own clear cut chance - Johan van Dalen had a great look to equalize, but his shot went wide. We started to get a grip on the game and held most of possession, but struggled to make it count in front of the goal. Still, some chances came our way and in 35’ Stef Veldman had a good shot on target that required a brilliant save from PSV goalkeeper and in 41’ Veldman missed an easy chance after our good counter. We went to half time with 0:1 scoreline and I was mostly disappointed with our finishing - we had played fairly well in this first half, but couldn’t execute from our chances and PSV had the lead. The players looked more motivated in the second half and most of the chances started to come our way. Clyde Sastrodimedjo smashed against the crossbar in 52’ and Stan Knol sent his header just inches wide a minute later. We didn’t get our equalizer until we made the changes in the second half and substitute Omar van der Aar then scored an equalizer. He showed excellent skill to take the ball into the box against two defenders, keep them away and then putting it in from under the arm of the PSV goalkeeper. We clearly deserved this goal because of the way we had played so far, but PSV picked themselves up fairly quickly and instantly started to attack better. Khalid Tran had a great chance to score in 76’ - fortunately for us Gluhalic saved that shot, but he made a bad mistake in 83’. PSV’s Rogier Steemers had a shot that looked like it was going wide of the goal, but Gluhalic went for the save and the ball deflected into the goal from his had. Poor mistake from our keeper and (although all the experts didn’t see it that way) to my eyes it was his second mistake leading to goal in this game. The final whistle called and PSV had one this battle. We fell short and the result was obviously disappointment, although we were a little unlucky in this game and with better finishing could have won it instead. Ismet Gluhalic will definitely feel responsible for the goals he conceded, but for the second year in a row we were not able to win the Dutch Cup. our shooting was 24/6 - too many attempts from distance and blocked Stef Veldman suffered dead leg and has to skip our next game Simon Janssen had a great game for us - his 15 key passes were key factor in our midfield 07.04.2035 - FC Twente Enschede - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 2. pen. Mario de Groot, 36. Omar van der Aar Back to Eredivisie and we needed just one point to secure our title. FC Twente are in 9th position at the moment, but we should be able to defeat them easily, even in away game and some tired legs in the squad. Twente stadium welcomed us with wet and muddy pitch - not the best conditions for our style of football. Squad: Florentina, Herder (69. Sandler), de Jonge, Hendriks, Koeman, de Groot, Vormer, Janssen (52. Sener Arslan), de Jong, van der Aar (64. van Dalen), Knol That muddy pitch could have played to our favour, however, because in the very first minute Sjoerd de Jong was fouled in the box by Martijn Koman and the penalty was awarded for us. Mario de Groot calmly finished from the spot and we took control of the game. Stan Knol hit the post with a fierce shot in 20’, but when Omar van der Aar scored our second goal with a simple tap in, it looked like the game was done. We had only those two chances in the first half, but that was enough to go on the break with a comfortable lead. Second half was a fairly boring affair and we controlled the game until the final whistle. Good win for us, exactly what was needed and we secured our Eredivisie title with this win. we gave FC Twente no goalscoring chances Omar van der Aar scored his 10th goal of the season Jelle Sandler made his debut for Ajax in this game Mario de Groot pulled his hamstring and he’ll be sidelined for 3-4 weeks 14.04.2035 - AFC Ajax - FC Utrecht 0:0 (ED) We have four games left in our season and with the title secured, we can play them without pressure - it’s time to share playing time and give youngsters more minutes. FC Utrecht is a tough opponent, though. They’re 5th in the table and it’s a sort of a derby game too, so plenty of motivation despite our points in the table. Squad: Gluhalic, Herder, de Jonge, Hendriks, Koeman, Engin Ari, Vormer, Janssen, Veldman (61. de Jong), van Dalen (66. van der Aar), Knol The game finished without goals, but there was plenty of action despite that. The best chances in the first half fell to FC Utrecht - in 16’ Nabil Herder gave a terrible backpass to our goalkeeper. Stan van Dijk intercepted it and was one-on-one against Ismet Gluhalic, but his shot went awfully wide and we escaped that consequence. Both teams had some shots on target, but another clear cut chance fell to FC Utrecht in 41 - Michel de Graaf found an opening after IFK, but his shot from close range was held well by Gluhalic. It looked fairly even first half - we had more possession and held the ball better, but couldn’t create enough good opportunities. FC Utrecht at the same time found two great chances, but missed those. Teams were even more motivated after half time break. Stef Veldman made a great interception in 50’ and had his one-on-one situation, but his shot was brilliantly saved by FC Utrecht goalkeeper. FC Utrecht’s substitute striker Sjoerd Kok and our substitute Omar van der Aar then sa their shots going wide. Both teams tried to find a winning goal until the final whistle, but in the end draw looked like a fair result. our shooting was 24/5 - not enough shots on target we allowed FC Utrecht to make 24 dribbles - should have stopped their players better, but our young defensive line wasn’t exactly up to the task Engin Ari committed 6 fouls in this game (again too many) 20.04.2035 - AZ Alkmaar - AFC Ajax 2:0 (ED) - 21. Donny Weeber, 60. Bob Vissie The last game in April was a trip to Alkmaar. AZ struggled in relegation zone for a long time, but have now improved their form and climbed into 13th place in the table. My assistant advised us to practice defending set pieces before this game and we did exactly that. News from physio room were optimistic about Leslie Lichaba - he returned to full training in this week, but suffered food poisoning shortly after and has to miss this game too. Tarik de Wit has started his light training program and hopefully he’ll recover from his injury for the last games in May. Squad: Florentina, Herder (70. Drost), de Jonge, Hendriks, Koeman, Engin Ari, Vormer (60. Sener Arslan), Janssen, Veldman, van der Aar (60. van der Aar), Knol We played poor from the start - just a couple of half chances for us in the first half, but AZ got the breakthrough in 21’. Nabil Herder gave possession away in attack and after a switf counter Donny Weeber was one-on-one against Zeus Florentina and he took his chance really well. We couldn’t get our attack going, despite having enough possession and even controlling most of the game. Second half looked pretty much the same and in 60’ AZ extended their lead. Bob Vissie header came from some distance, but some scramble in the box just in front of our goalkeeper confused everyone and the ball bounced freely into the goal. Poor set piece defense, Kevin de Jonge lost his challenge and Florentina took his eye away from the ball. I made substitutions after that goal, but those didn’t make any difference and we had to accept our first defeat of the league season with disappointing performance. Unacceptable despite our weakened squad. our shooting was just 16/5 we allowed AZ to make 21 dribbles Engin Ari made his 200th league appearance for Ajax I can’t be too happy with April. Yes, we secured our Eredivisie title, but it was easy with our lead. At the same time we lost the most important game against PSV and our rotation players have not impressed in recent games, although the pressure is off and they should use their first team opportunities better. Eredivisie
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