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FM19: Ajax Amsterdam - Time to reap what has been sown

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Posted (edited)

Fixed it :lol: Almada came off the bench to score four goals, erasing a 2-0 away loss (where we deserved at least a goal, maybe two). 

 

EDIT: Didn't fix it actually, I keep conceding way more than I should, usually because of stupid mistakes. 3-0 up against Liverpool with 30 minutes to go, Magellan misses an easy interception halfway up the pitch (not under pressure, no opponent in sight, ends up in Shaqiri scoring. Ten minutes later, Salah cuts inside, crosses half the pitch and plays in Shaqiri again because Mazraoui is doing nothing, he scores again. Extra time where I create one chance after the other but they get the winner because a 50 yard punt up the pitch where Fico has half a pitch of advantage against Salah ends up being picked up by the latter and buried in the net. I think I'm going to put this on the shelf for a while, it's frustrating. 

Ajax v Chelsea_ Match Review.png

Edited by KlaaZ

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

Finished my second season, with some great results. I was able to retain the League and won the Champions League against Liverpool. But the most difficult game was the semi final against Man City. Lost the first leg at home, then won on penalties at Manchester. 

d1c9d399427cf0fb87ad4f9ba69c887e.png

3dd4d5d9448aedd05995dcf0eb24ee99.png

 

Time to start third season pre season. I´ll try to retain my team, but everyone are being chase by major European teams. So far, only major lose was De Jong to Barcelona, but this was already know at the very beginning of my save. 

From my youth intake, so far only normal youths. No one that deserves a spot at principal squad.

I´ll keep you post for the third season transfers later. 

Edited by gpassosbh
Fixing the pictures

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Posted (edited)

'The WM' - 2020-21

I'll aim to keep this update relatively brief, as I'm short on time. After coming within a penalty kick of a quadruple in 2019-20, season three proved altogether less accommodating. The campaign started in the vein the previous had ended, a defeat on penalties to PSV in the Schaal, and an early defeat in the league at last season's rivals Feyenoord. The squad was on edge; David Raya and Donny van de Beek unhappy after being tapped up and this really had an early impact. Raya didn't get back into the groove until November, whereas Van de Beek was often 'disenchanted' during matches, and was still fairly petulant even after his unhappiness had faded. The squad underwent an overhaul; Veltman, Xadas, Eiting and Kaastrup headed the summer departures, joined by Tonali and Neres in the winter window, totalling a profit of £79.5m as I put faith in youth, signing no experienced players bar Clasie on a free as a squad half-back.

1441626438_Transfers2018-19.thumb.png.7caaeca234acd1faeafa1879bf0d21a5.png

Although I was rarely out of top spot in the Eredivisie, a certain panache had been lost - winning a number of games in a George Grahamesque 1-0 fashion, generally lacking dynamism. This was exacerbated by some real underperformance; the previously-deadly Ekkelenkamp limited to 3 goals, and I'd be surprised if the MEZ(A) role managed 10 goals from all personnel, all season. It may have been any combo of reasons: opponents again adjusting, too much rotation (I struggled to find a 'best XI' this year), immature players, effects of unhappy players. Whatever the root cause(s), the football just didn't feel 'right'. I did win the Eredivisie, demolishing PSV 4-1 at the ArenA in the 31st game, putting an end to their title charge and eventually finishing 14pts clear: ironically, despite the general feeling of tepid football, I ended on more pts than in both previous seasons, finished only 5 goals off last season's treble-winning team, and conceded three less. But the stats hid the facts.

Eredivisie.thumb.png.c562d242122c39f2dc012aaf9a51ca52.png

The European campaign was a disappointment though. Drawn against Man City, Milan and Dynamo, qualification was a distinct possibility. Predictably lost against our CL-nemesis City in the opener, before fine wins away to Milan and Dynamo looked to have ensured a commanding position. But 1pt from the home fixtures and a heavy defeat at City sealed an exit on -GD. Dropping into the Europa, I then lost 0-2 against Spartak in Moscow in the depths of Russian winter, and couldn't claw back the deficit in a 3-2 home win. And continuing a running theme, I then went out of the KNVB Beker in the semi final at home to Feyenoord in a penalty shootout loss, our third straight major loss on penalties.

So, moving into pre-season 2021-22 I knew I needed to change things up. Squad wise, I aimed to brook no indiscipline or underperformance, so when the summer window opened and I was inundated with offers and both Raya and Van de Beek demanded to leave again, they were both punted off to big-spending Monaco. Raya, £26m, Van de Beek £38.5m. That wasn't as high a fee as I'd hoped for Donny, but it did include a p/ex on a very talented youngster, Roger Saunier. Backup Academy keeper Daan Reiziger also made noises to leave, so he went too. Decent keeper but replaceable. And finishing the main sales, I also sold non-performing Dani Olmo for a healthy £20m.

In: after considering a range of keepers, it came down to a straight choice between Thomas Strakosha and Timo Horn. I preferred the Albanian, but with my wage rule and De Ligt the highest earner on £68k, Strakosha's £100k+ wages would never fly. So in came the dependable Horn for £15m, with Cho as the second keeper. I also re-loaned out the underperforming Joveljic with a view to sell and picked up a fantastic bargain in Fiete Arp for £5.75m. Bayern had nabbed him for pennies from Hamburg, probably a relegation clause, but hadn't used him. He is a perfect fit for what I planned to do with the 'WM' this season, and foil for Dolberg. Van de Beek's replacement was harder to find; most of my targets had already moved out of my wage point. I looked at Sander Berge first of all, cycled through a range of other options, eventually took Wanyama on trial, before passing up all of them and returning to Berge for £17m.

1021043241_Transfers2020-21.thumb.png.e1cd26d779e7a552eae903c5d91eb77e.png--Saunier.thumb.png.466507b77c7dad6f90a7fc363b4a183a.png

The final main deal, Celik, was an Overmars signing. He's now made four across this save, demonstrating an eye for talent: Proper is around the first team, the physical beast Cahyono now the de facto option to De Ligt, Celik is promising, Derksen unlikely to make it.

Proper.thumb.png.7d84062662e3182ec9d277a8b4ce778c.png--Cahyono.thumb.png.c1a6f003aac2684bda36612b8c72e36b.png--Celik.thumb.png.3aec78b492a2d594ade55ed40e644dc2.pngDerksen.thumb.png.e3e56bfaf7f959447469ca49bd3cb1f0.png

Overmars' eye for a talent has helped mitigate a poor return from the academy. Mirroring season one, season three's intake was atrocious - no player above two stars, zero chance of any graduating through to the first team. The only two players who are on track both came in season two's intake. Vos is on loan in the KKD for a season to refine his craft, whereas Schilder was a surprise hit at Heerenveen on loan last season, 7 goals in 21. This year he's with Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

Vos.thumb.png.1d16aaf383909b103ea4e3dfc3f6805e.png--Schilder.thumb.png.8633bc4a33009776b2ed20fd7fc88f23.png

Moving on to tactics. One of the most important factors to bring back dynamism was to resolve the lack of an effective crossing game. I've thought for a while we were too symmetrical, and the double wingback-double-winger combo was, at times, too blunt - in light of the general problem on this game with deliveries coming in late too. I needed a deep threat and more combination play to free up space for a better quality of delivery. That meant one role: a CWB(a), positioned down the right due to Kristensen's quality. The left wingback then became an IWB(S) to help steady against the aggressiveness on the other side of the pitch. Directly in front of the CWB(a), the halfback role had to change to an anchorman; past experience told me this was more effective to stabilise the structure whilst using a raiding wingback, and the role does a superb job of dropping back to form the three-man defence when the wingback is merrily exploring space somewhere near the forward line. Completing this combo, the W(a) changes to an IF(s) to drag defenders out of position, freeing up space for - and combining with - the CWB(A)

I switched the MEZ(A) to the right of the pitch, to put the player on his natural foot when drifting wide, given all my options here are right-footed. The RPM role has currently become a BBM, but that is under review. The last change was to drop the CF(s) and change to a trequartista. I thought about this one for a while, tested various options across the duration of pre-season, and the treq just gives a better level of presence in the box from crosses, whilst being a creative force. It has proven much more effective than CF(s) or DLP(s) and suits the technical game of both Arp and Dolberg. My thoughts may change across the season.

So, quite a change-around overall. We now line up in this way:

WM.thumb.png.2fa354b37eb76025a9bc21b06f72c651.png

9 wins and a draw across pre-season bodes well and the fluidity has returned to the play. We've started the season well, winning the Schaal and battering NAC Breda 1-5 on the opening day.

 

 

 

Edited by AndySummers

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Posted (edited)

'The WM' - 2021-22

This thread is mightily quiet, have users moved on?

So, prefacing 2021-22 from the previous thread, I went into this season with dissatisfaction. The 'WM', whilst successful, had begun to lose its lustre in 2020-21; occasional insipid play, just a little 'dry' against increasingly defensive opponents. So I made changes: 

WM.thumb.png.3b05150e3deb95c91c3e646dbf968272.png  1840180796_NewWM.thumb.png.569d1b46675a69dc3d1c597337e8bf97.png

The formation on the left is what I was using, the one on the right what it became. The aim was to remove the symmetry of the base formation and increase variety. Putting more emphasis on runs from deep (CWB(a), BBM), less emphasis on the wing contribution (IF(s)) and bringing a creative force into the frontline (T). It was an intention to make the formation more dynamic, unpredictable, and hopefully a return to the free-flowing football of old. Early signs were positive; a strong pre-season followed by a 1-5 win at NAC Breda on the opening day and an 8-0 against NEC in the first match at the ArenA - easily my biggest Eredivisie win in three seasons. Immediately apparent was the sheer variety in goal contributions, players chipping in all over the pitch, and this would be a theme throughout. Also apparent, we were more open. The anchor-man does a good job of protecting space vacated by the aggressive wingback, but the changes did cause some instability in the early stages and we were conceding more frequently. Some gentle tweaks alleviated this as the season progressed.

Eredivisie form in the first half of the season was good, albeit with a few draws ensuring in-form AZ - led by in-form Ajax loanee Lassina Traore - were able to keep us off top spot. We slowly began to reel them in from January, coinciding with the return of Frenkie De Jong. Unloved and unregistered at Barca, he rejoined for £25.5m. I had to break my wage structure at £92k, but as with Klaassen before him, I'll do that for an 'Ajax man'. And I had £325k spare in the wage budget. This time I moved De Jong away from central midfield and installed him ahead of Daley Blind at halfback, where his 'brings ball out of defence' trait and dribbling ability make a subtle, but significant, difference to how the 'WM' functions. We barely dropped a point after his arrival and a decisive week where we won 3-1 against PSV and 0-2 against AZ made a fourth consecutive Eredivisie a fait accompli. Although we again couldn't quite go unbeaten, losing limply 3-1 at Heerenveen in January after De Ligt saw red early.

106402928_Eredivisie2021-22.thumb.png.499bb1d87e5434fa169a4e9261335fff.png

In the Champions League, we went deep to the quarter finals but again came up short, falling to eventual-winners Spurs in two very close encounters. However, the crowning glory of the season was the KNVB Beker final to wrap-up a domestic treble..

2052968821_KNVBBekerFinal7-1.thumb.png.cdc82591f3cb1d68f86860a0680dda06.png

We actually went a goal down in the first minute here, before a trademark 60-yard mazy run and cross from Antonio Marin set up Armin Djerlek for the equaliser, De Ligt netting a second before the half. Then we ruthlessly exposed PSV having a man sent off to score four times in the next fifteen minutes, Dolberg adding the seventh. Djerlek scored four from his IF(s) role and the Serb proved a worthy successor to the ageing, injured Dusan Tadic.

Overall, the changes made brought a freshness back to the pitch and, previously mentioned, everyone contributed. Allowing for a slight variation due to players featuring across two positions, as near as I can make it the main positional contributions were:

T(a) - 28 goals, 8 assists

W(a) - 27 goals, 15 assists

IF(s) - 17 goals, 7 assists

BBM - 16 goals, 9 assists

MEZ(a) - 13 goals, 25 assists

Minusing set pieces, the CWB(a) was the most prolific assister in the side. And one main change was the relationship in central midfield, where the BBM became a more potent source of goals than the MEZ, but the MEZ - with the players now on their strongest foot - really became a very potent creative outlet.

Setting up for 2022-23

1667612536_Transfers2022-23.thumb.png.044bf3ff2bd34e6876fff123902c4697.png

Heading into the summer, I was happy with all aspects of the squad and based my plans around keeping my 'five pillars' at all costs: Kristensen, De Ligt, De Jong, Gravenberch, Marin, and assessing any other player bids as they came. I did make a couple of early sales. Perr Schuurs went to Brighton for £21m and Sigurd Gronli to Southampton for £15.5m. Schuurs had been the John O'Shea of Ajax, featuring at HB, A, CB, IWB, and latterly CWB. Giving him 'hits early crosses' had made him a more effective wingback, but the fee was good value for a squad player. I replaced him with Alexis Saelemaekers for £14m+Sint. Long on my radar, his lack of defensive atts had always put me off. But now I'm using a CWB, his winger-like abilities made him a very intriguing prospect.

Steven Bergwijn is my other main signing, hounded out of Atletico. Marin is horrifically injury-prone (as is Bergwijn seemingly) and although this gives me perhaps too much depth out wide, there should be enough games for all. And it covers either Marin or Djerlek being poached at a later date.  Last of all, I re-signed my former star keeper Andre Onana for a paltry £5.75m. This was in the expectancy that current keeper Timo Horn would join Everton or Fulham for £25m, but the deals fell down on contract. Having two starting keepers on £50k-ish isn't really my style, so I will be open to Horn moving on. He has better atts that Onana, but the Cameroonian was terrific in my first season before Spurs poached him. And arguably trading up whilst making a £20m profit is hard to ignore.

Very little incomings elsewhere, as I like to keep changes limited. I did future-proof the HB/A tandem though with two excellent 16-year olds. I've seen better teens overall, but these two really fit my mould:

Brogni.thumb.png.9fa83b94df0926c9001204801d037aa9.png  Kasongo.thumb.png.d3540c39815ab6841a31a3b9fb2adf35.png

Edited by AndySummers

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Posted (edited)
On 29/06/2019 at 20:47, AndySummers said:

This thread is mightily quiet, have users moved on?

Yes. A couple of us who make fast progress were in the Italy thread but both got bored and have gone our separate ways. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few updates from guys who play slower like yourself though. There was a real uptick in this thread when the real life team started to catch attention but I guess Spurs kinda killed the buzz. I intend to go back to Ajax at some point though.

On 29/06/2019 at 20:47, AndySummers said:

Eredivisie form in the first half of the season was good, albeit with a few draws ensuring in-form AZ - led by in-form Ajax loanee Lassina Traore - were able to keep us off top spot. We slowly began to reel them in from January, coinciding with the return of Frenkie De Jong. Unloved and unregistered at Barca, he rejoined for £25.5m. I had to break my wage structure at £92k, but as with Klaassen before him, I'll do that for an 'Ajax man'. And I had £325k spare in the wage budget. This time I moved De Jong away from central midfield and installed him ahead of Daley Blind at halfback, where his 'brings ball out of defence' trait and dribbling ability make a subtle, but significant, difference to how the 'WM' functions. 

Do you see him bringing the ball out often? And does he ever beat a man? Also, if you do see him bring the ball out a lot does it register in his stats as a Dribble? I tried him as a Libero on FM18, eventually got BBOOD trained on him but he was still barely being rated as having dribbled, even when he appeared too. My aforementioned intent to return to Ajax is in part to either use him as the new DC Libero or more likely a Half Back as the latter role can be used with guys who can't dribble and still function pretty similarly. 

On 29/06/2019 at 20:47, AndySummers said:

Alexis Saelemaekers. Long on my radar, his lack of defensive atts had always put me off. But now I'm using a CWB, his winger-like abilities made him a very intriguing prospect.

I'll be interested to see how he does! I've also often been recommended him and been put off by his lack of defensive nous - makes 19.1's Mazroui look like Maldini, let alone 19.3's boosted Mazroui. 

Edited by zlatanera

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On ‎01‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 01:24, zlatanera said:

Do you see him bringing the ball out often? And does he ever beat a man? Also, if you do see him bring the ball out a lot does it register in his stats as a Dribble? I tried him as a Libero on FM18, eventually got BBOOD trained on him but he was still barely being rated as having dribbled, even when he appeared too. My aforementioned intent to return to Ajax is in part to either use him as the new DC Libero or more likely a Half Back as the latter role can be used with guys who can't dribble and still function pretty similarly. 

Frequently.

He won't dribble past a player as a winger would (I haven't looked at dribble stats and he's injured currently > possibly why it doesn't count?) but he will often dribble through the lines and prompt a forward pass. Or equally as often, he'll bring the ball forward and suddenly stop and play short as if he's walked into an invisible wall. But it's that forward momentum that makes a subtle difference, transitioning out of defence more urgently or prompting aggressive opponents to move out of position to close him down.

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Posted (edited)

has anybody here tried to replicate ten hags real tactic  ?

Edited by Skojardu

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I've played two Ajax saves to over two seasons, and a few more to almost a season and never gotten Mazroui's personality to improve at all. 

2098953308_Screenshot2019-09-26at16_19_02.thumb.png.b09b2bf5706d336afa5a299a35b0adba.png

What is potentially save No. 3 appears to be third time lucky!

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Ajax 2018/19 Season - A Disappointing Title

So headlined because whilst we won the league, my first season was ultimately quite a disappointment. But more on that later. Firstly, transfers:

1243913730_Screenshot2019-10-04at15_04_58.thumb.png.7c089b420f78522b7d41b400d8e1eb54.png

Only the 1 incoming - Nørrestrand looks a real prospect, and DR was the one area in the academy we were lacking depth. I like to have 5 players for a position at the club - 2 first team, 1 B team and 2 in the u19s. We only had 4 DR so in he came! Outgoings were a bunch of guys unlikely to make it, including Orejuela who wouldn't have played much in the second half of the season after Veltman came back from injury, although I hoped for Sierhuis to develop and 7 goals in 18 appearances was a good return in his step up from Jong Ajax. I also pre-arranged two incomings: Kik Pierie from Heerenveen as he had negotiated a £4.8m release clause, and Kenneth Vermeer returns to the club from Feyenoord for £1.2m - they'll be happy to make a profit on a 33 year old (they signed him from Ajax for £800k) whilst I'm happy to get an experienced Homegrown GK on a Backup contract with a good personality. 

Tactically I tried to recreate Ajax's real life tactics for the first half of the season but I was a bit too conservative and wasn't happy with the way we played, so I moved to Ö-zil's classic Dutch 4-3-3 for the second half of the season. 

140721904_Screenshot2019-10-04at15_45_47.thumb.png.fe22d718f6951cd58a77414b4e322f36.png

That was enough to win the league though! Despite losing to both Feyenoord and PSV in the first half of the season, by late March when we came from 2-0 down to beat PSV 4-2 at home we were 8 points clear. The Dutch federation decided to screw us in April, with 4 games in 7 days as they jammed in two domestic fixtures between legs of our European tie, and we had to win on the final day to ensure we took home the title. We did so in style, smashing Utrecht 7-0, our biggest win of the season on the final day in front of our own fans, with all 7 scored in the first half! 

639250110_Screenshot2019-10-05at01_22_03.thumb.png.7db3b060cb61f8e3f988be99988bba93.png

In the cup we surprisingly played only 2 lower league teams, but other than a weakened team taking 120 minutes to eventually smash Utrecht it was comfortable progress. The final was one of the aforementioned 4 in 7, as we came from behind 3 times, before succumbing on penalties. 

1846178955_Screenshot2019-10-05at01_24_11.thumb.png.7bba936dc671178362e6be6a5425c698.png

We easily got into the Champions League group stages, that 3-1 aggregate win over Slavia Prague being far more comfortable than it looked, much more like the previous ties. When we went to Russia and won, before smashing Dortmund at the ArenA I was hopeful of progressing, but Valencia's pacy forwards undid us, and although our second victory over Lokomotiv Moscow had us in with a shout Dortmund ultimately qualified as group winners. 10 points to only get 3rd place sucked. 

1682482193_Screenshot2019-10-05at01_26_40.thumb.png.40338a0c8a89efe197a8803f2c74cd58.png

Another sizeable away trip had me encouraging the club directors to invest in Amsterdam-Moscow air links, but they've been too busy all season trying to sell up. Home battering and close, gritty away games were the formula here, although throwing away a 2-0 lead at Real Betis was a sign of things to come. In-between the two legs against Arsenal we played the Dutch Cup Final and a league tie against AZ, which is absurd. In the first leg twice we sneaked ourselves a lead but when they equalised twice and then went ahead we could have no complaints, Aubameyang's pace was too much. The second leg was incredibly frustrating, and I have to assume part of it was due to fatigue. We raced into a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes through Ziyech, Eiting and Dolberg before Matthijs de Ligt's 2nd own goal in 4 days (he also got one in the cup final) set them on the way to recovery and a place in the final...where they lost to Leipzig. 

Some players stats:

64920672_Screenshot2019-10-04at14_55_17.thumb.png.2e313c03ba333518d0f3bdffaf2217ad.png
2131415757_Screenshot2019-10-04at14_55_32.thumb.png.fad4b8e4a53c84f001c995b1ac988e4d.png

Huntelaar at 35 could seriously be considered a revelation - by scoring 25 goals in all competitions he had his best season since 2011/12, and his 20 goal Eredivise haul was good enough for top scorer (joint, ahead of Sam Lammers through playing fewer minutes), and only the 2nd time he'd hit 20 goals in the league since departing Ajax the first time mid-way through 2008/09! Dusan Tadic belatedly took to a striker role / I belatedly figured out a striker role suitable for Dusan Tadic - take your pick - and finished with a respectable 15 goals, I was never expecting him to mimic his real life totals so this was ok. Carel Eiting was a bit of a surprise, after playing half the season as a DM, when moved forward to CM-Su he got 9 goals - a mixture of distance shots, volleys / headers from free kicks and a couple of pokes in goalmouth scrambles.

Mazroui would probably have gotten 20 assists if he hadn't missed two months in spring with injury, but RNK deputised ably and was probably better defensively too. I'd hoped for slightly more than 12 goals from Ziyech cutting in onto his left, but contributing to 22 overall is still good, whilst Neres playing left-footed on the left was impressive in getting his 13 goals and 15 assists. Kasper Dolberg spent all season out of position on the left flank too, so I'm very impressed with his 14 goals. Vaclav Cerny, despite barely outperforming Labyad statistically, was impressive all season and even spent most of the spring playing at CM as we reshuffled in Mazroui and then Veltman's absence, so will most likely make it to 2nd season for the first time in years of playing with Ajax. Speaking of Labyad, I wasn't impressed with him off the pitch as he constantly complained about having too much training and/or not training his Penalties enough - the solution of just training him on Penalties was satisfactory for this season, but he's already leaving for £6.75m to Viktoria Plzen as he just wasn't the sort of personality I want around. 

Tactically, I'm going to use Ö-zil's 3-4-3 diamond as my primary with the 4-3-3 for my secondary lineup, so may get rid of Tagliafico and Mazroui if satisfactory offers come in as I'll only need two first team full backs and the former is lacking technically whilst the latter can't really defend. Daley Sinkgraven performed well and I extended his contract to maintain value but he'll be off too. 

I'm leaning towards plundering a 'golden generation' - either 2-3 of Marin, Olmo and Majer from Dinamo or Til, Stengs and Boadu from AZ Alkmaar (leaning towards the former to maintain the league's competitiveness) - or bringing back a former Ajax winger in either Dilrosun or Kluivert, but first I have to wait for endless takeover talks to finish. As someone who likes to have all their transfers sorted by 1st July and loans fixed by 1st August, its really frustrating. 

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