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Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong

  1. Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong

    Name:  Ajax Logo.png
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    AFC Ajax - Let’s Play - Stan the Man takes Charge


    Summary:

    Welcome to AFC Ajax (named ‘Ajax’ after the greek god, who’s brother was Achilles) – the fallen giants of European football! Despite having won the UCL 4 times in their history, the team has found itself on the fringes of the European party in recent years, unable to compete with the vast sums of money found in Spain (well Madrid and Barca anyway) and England. The team has also struggled domestically recently, last winning the league in 2014. However, Ajax still maintains it’s fantastic reputation for developing world class players through it’s Youth Academy, which has produced players such as Marco Van Basten, Patrick Kluivert and Denis Bergkamp to name but a few. The current team is packed full of potential and the plan is to utilise this, along with a few well chosen signings in order to take Ajax back to the glory days. Not since the days of Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ has a team made of entirely academy graduates won the UCL and that will be my ultimate aim.

    Objectives

    1. Take Ajax back to the top of the Eredivisie
    2. Consistently qualify for the UCL group stage
    3. Dominate Europe by winning the UCL with entirely ‘homegrown’ players

    Rules:

    1. Only allowed to purchase players who are 23 years old or under – UNLESS they have previously played for Ajax (preferably been through their youth academy).

    General Gameplay Philosophy:

    I have not looked up ‘can’t lose’ tactics or the comprehensive list of wonder kids to make the game stupidly easy, nor do I intent to. I won’t force players to stay who don’t want to be here, but will be driving a hard bargain to get as much as possible from any sales. With players as talented as ours, I expect there to be a lot of interest. Developing the youth team is paramount to everything I do if we are to eventually win the UCL with only academy graduates. I aim to update this thread regularly and keep it going for at least 5 seasons – who knows where we will be by that time? Hopefully not sacked or relegated, that’s for sure. So sit back, buckle up and enjoy the story of Stan 'The Man' Lindsay and AFC Ajax!
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  2. Meet the Team and Pre-Season (up until first competitive game)

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    Pre-Season (2016-17)


    Meet The Team


    Goalkeepers

    Tim Krul (on loan from Newcastle) is by far my best keeper. Normally, I wouldn’t keep him because I will not sign him at the end of the season and would prefer to develop my own players. To boot - he is injured for the first 3-4 months of the season! However, He is a lot better than Onana who will start in his place until he recovers. Onana is also Cameroonian so will probably be off to the African Cup of Nations (AFON) in January and I will need someone of quality to cover for him, especially if we are still in Europe. If Onana plays well, he may keep his place later in the season. Boer is 35 and doesn’t improve the team – He better start packing.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-gks.png

    Defenders

    This is one of the few areas of the team where I have quality and experience. Kenny Tete is nailed on to start at right back, although Zeefuik (say it phonetically) doesn’t offer much good cover. Veltman and Riedewald will start at centre half covered by the pomising Sanchez and the much less promising and much more likely to be sold – Westermann. Westermann has just signed for the club so will be difficult to move on. Dijks will start at left back, but isn’t great quality. Viergever is a solid defensive option because of his versatility to play left back and centre half. He probably isn’t quick enough to play left back the way I would like him to, so I may strengthen in this are sooner rather than later.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-def.png

    Central Midfielders

    We have lots of talent in this area. Bazoer and Gudelj will likely start with Van De Beek and Sinkgraven offering really good cover. I like playing with one ball winner and one playmaker and all of these players fit into one of these categories. Serero is 26 and, although he came through the academy system at Ajax Cape Town, isn’t likely to improve much and won’t start for the team.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-cms.png

    Attacking Midfielders

    This is an area of the team with plenty of competition for places. Ziyech is undoubtedly my best player – a new signing at the club. Davy Klassen is a contender to captain the team. Bertrand Traore is on loan from Chelsea and his place with us is under threat as he doesn’t match any of my signing philosophies and doesn’t improve the team much. Lasse Schone is the only really experienced player at 30 years of age. Most of the players are versatile enough to play in any of the 3 attacking midfield positions.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-att-mf.png

    Strikers
    O dear, o dear, this is where the trouble starts. Not a lot of quality here. None of this lot are any good at finishing – but let’s look at the positives! All three are young, with the potential to improve. Dolberg is quick and isn’t absolutely horrible at finishing! I will need to get somebody in to improve this area of the team.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-strikers.png

    Summary

    Overall, a reasonable team which should win the Eredivisie. We don’t look to have the experience or quality to compete for long in Europe, but the further we can get the more experience our players will get and the quicker they will develop. I need a left back, a striker and maybe a right back.

    Introductions

    The board meeting was about as exciting as I imagine a board meeting can be. What’s that? – you’d like me to play attacking football and develop youth team players? – right up my street! I then took the time to tell all of the support staff exactly how to do their jobs for the foreseeable future and bounced into my first press conference. I told the press how much I loved our current board, how everyone would get a chance to prove they were worthy of being here and how we wouldn’t be prioritising the league over everything else. I tactfully dropped a quick line about needing to sign a striker.

    Tactics

    Having looked at the players we have, I have decided to go with the ever popular 4-2-3-1 formation. Although it would have been nice to play the old Ajax way of 4-3-3, I couldn’t do this will the vast amount of quality wide players I have. Also, looking at the complete lack of talent up front, I’m very happy to only play one of them at a time up there. Centre backs will be ball players, the left back will be attacking with the left winger playing as an inside forward. See the picture for more details.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-tactics-2.png

    Transfers


    Transfer Budget: £4m
    Wage Budget: -£6.5k
    Strategy:
    As you can see in the rules, I can’t sign anyone over the age of 23 who hasn’t previously played for Ajax. I am hoping to go even further than that and stick rigidly to only signing players who have previously came through the Ajax Academy. Players of note who would qualify under this rule are Rafael Van Der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Klass Jan Huntelaar.
    As well as this, Ajax have a rich tradition of signing young players from Scandinavia and Belgium to improve their team. Players in the past have included Zlatan Ibrahimovic (now of Man Utd), Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghan (both Spurs). The current squad also contains Lasse Schone and Kasper Dolberg (both Danish). I will try to continue this tradition when looking at signings.

    Players Out:

    Deidrik Boer – £71k – Cardiff City
    Thulani Serero – £1.2m – Lorient
    Lasse Schone - £1.1m – Crystal Palace
    Bertrand Traore – loan terminated – Chelsea
    Boer was never getting a game, so was shipped off immediately. I’m surprised I got anything at all for him! Serero and Schone were good players, but unlikely to improve so had to go. Traore was costing me £20k a week in wages and wasn’t going to play, so I sent him packing and will re-invest the wages somewhere else.

    Players In:

    Ludwig Augustinsson – £3.5m – FC Kopenhagen

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ludwig-augustinsson.png

    The name alone is reason enough to sign this guy! I am hoping the Swedish 22 year old is the answer to my left back problems. He’s quick, can cross and is also half decent at marking. I also liked that he can take corners and give us a bit of quality there as well. Unfortunately, the press and fans went nuts at his ‘extortionate’ price tag of £3.5m! ‘Trust me’, I argued. ‘He will be worth every penny’. ‘The boy will come good’. Or at least he had better. I can’t have the fans singing ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ or whatever the Dutch translation of that is.

    Julian Green - £1.8m – FC Bayern Munich

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-julian-green.png

    The 21 year old American centre forward was available on the cheap (valued at £2.6m) as he was never getting a game and Bayern wanted rid of him. He’s a good finisher, so I am hoping he can put away the many chances my midfield can create for him. He also boasts 6 caps and one goal for the USA and playing international football (or soccer ‘ so that he understands’) will no doubt quicken his development. At the moment he will just provide competition for Dolberg.

    Friendlies
    Yawn. Games were played. The team is now match fit. Defeats to PSG, Brugge and Porto were uninspiring and victories over 2 relative unknowns in European football will have given us little confidence. Onana decided to scare us all and get himself injured in training, leaving us with no quality keeper at all (the ghost of Boer, maybe?). He will be back in time for the UCL campaign, and that’s all that matters. You don’t win any trophies in July.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-pre-season-results.png

    The UCL draw


    Best Placed 3rd Qualifying Stage

    PAOK v AFC Ajax
    This went about as well as could be expected. I needed to avoid Monaco, Fenerbache and Shakhtar if at all possible. So being handed a game against Greek side PAOK isn’t too bad. I am glad we are playing at home in the second leg so that we can chase goals if we need to. Even if we manage to get through this game, we will be required to win another 2 legged tie to get into the group stage proper.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ucl-draw.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…


    The UCL / EL qualifying campaign
    The end of the transfer window
    Injury updates
    The beginning of the Eredivisie campaign

    Note:

    I am open to all feedback and comments on this. Why not answer some of the following questions?

    1. Who should I sign / get rid of?
    2. Any tactics you reckon I should us?
    3. How well will I do this season?
    4. What would you have done differently?
    Last edited by StanLindsay1; 27/12/2016 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Added Screenshots
    Seano and MANUMAD like this.

  3. And So It Begins (Up until the end of the transfer window)

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    And So The Journey Begins

    Board Expectations
    The board simply expects that we win the Eredivisie, get to the UCL group stage and that we win the Dutch Cup. This all seems doable, although getting to the group stage of the UCL could be entirely dependant who we draw in the qualifying games. I would like to at the very minimum get to the Europa League (EL) group stage. I plan on playing developmental (read ‘weakened’) sides in the Dutch Cup against anyone from the divisions below us and hope we don’t slip up.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-board-expectations.png

    Team Sheet

    I am fairy happy to start with this team. I still have question marks over how good Onana actually is and what Ziyech’s best position is, but it looks pretty strong.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-team-sheet.png

    Best Placed 3rd Qualifying Stage – Leg 1

    PAOK 4 v 3 AFC Ajax

    WE CAN NOT DEFEND!!

    What a game this was – we were 3-0 inside 20 minutes! I wanted to push on and try and get another, but we completed collapsed after half time. But, looking at the positives, 3 goals away from home means that any victory at all will do at home in the next leg.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-paok-leg-1.png

    Best Placed 3rd Qualifying Stage – Leg 2


    AFC Ajax 5 – 0 PAOK

    Dolberg’s On Fire!

    As I had thought, PAOK couldn’t reach the same levels as they did in the last game. A hat-trick from Dolberg was enough to do it. The victory means that Ajax will be guaranteed at least EL football next season, but need to win 1 more UCL 2 legged tie to qualify for the UCL group stage.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-paok-leg-2.png

    UCL Best Placed Play Off Draw

    Ajax v As Monaco

    This draw was on the face of it pretty tough, however, it could have been much wrose. I managed to avoid Manchester City, Shakhtar, AS Roma, Porto and Villareal. However, with players like Falcao, back to being half decent now he’s left England, this will be an incredibly tough task. It reinforces the importances of winning the league and not having to go through this convoluted qualifying process next season.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ucl-draw.png

    Injury Update

    Nemanja Gudelj went down for 6-7 weeks with a spine injury. This isn’t good as he is our creative influence in the middle of the park and will be missed. It means that either SInkgraven or Van De Beek will get more playing time over the next few weeks.

    Ajax 1-0 Heracles (Fixture 1)

    How to Defeat A Parked Bus

    I made a couple of changes, Van De Beek in for Gudelj, Zeefuik (I still laugh everytime) in for Tete and Dijks in for Augustinsson. Heracles came to park the bus and place for the point and proved hard to break down. Unfortunately for them, Dolberg only needed one chance to stick the ball in the back of the net. A number of other coaches turned up to scout my players. Jose Mourinho (Man Utd) turned up to watch Van de Beek and Jardim of Monaco had the pleasure of watching Veltman’s Man of the Match performance.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-heracles.png

    PEC Zwolle 2-1 Ajax (Fixture 2)

    Onana What Are you doing?

    This was a poor performance as I rested players. Onana did NOT have a good day in goal. Menig,, on loan to Zwolle from us, scored a late winner. Fuming.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-pec-zwolle.png

    Ajax 3-2 Excelsior (Fixture 3)

    ‘Green’ Light For The New Signing

    This was Green’s debut for the club and he took his opportunity by banging in a hat trick in the space of 9 minutes! Worryingly, we were 3-0 up and conceded 2 late goals, both of which were Onana’s fault.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-excelsior.png

    Best Placed Play Off – Leg 1

    AFC Ajax 3-3 AS Monaco

    Channelling Manuel Neuer – The ghost of Boer strikes Again!

    On 49’ Onana gets himself injured! I don’t have a back up keeper on the bench, which means only one thing – Centre back Sanchez is going in goal! I chose him entirely based on the fact that he is over 6 feet tall and his knowledge of playing in defence might help in some way. He managed to only concede twice as we clung on for a 3-3 draw. Neuer would be so proud…

    Norbert Alblas

    Now Onana is injured, I needed a decent replacement. Rather than buy one in, I decided to give a Jong Ajax player a go. I hadn’t even bothered giving this guy a squad number last week, but now I am handing him the number 13 jersey and placing the team’s hopes of UCL qualification entirely in his hands! No pressure, but don’t mess this up.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-norbert-alblas.png

    Best Placed Play Off – Leg 2

    AS Monaco 2–1 Ajax

    Bye, Bye UCL

    Sadly our UCL dream died in Monaco. Van De Beek did manage to score his first goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough. Hard lines.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-monaco-leg-2.png

    ADO Den Haag 3-2 AFC Ajax (Fixture 4)

    More Away Day Blues

    Yet another sickening defeat away from home. I really need to think about changing tactics away from home. Ziyech missed a penalty early on which didn’t help. The players are now leaving for their hectic international schedule.

    Cup Draws

    Dutch Cup Round 2
    Almere City v AFC Ajax

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ajax-draw-almere.png

    Europa League Group Stage

    AFC Ajax
    APOEL Nicosia
    Celta Vigo
    Zorya Lugansk

    Drawing my feeder club, Almere City, in the Cup shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. The EL draw is a pretty good one for us, with Celta Vigo the only team who should pose any real threat. This should allow me to blood a few youngsters before the real business starts in the knock out phase after Christmas.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-el-group-draw.png

    Month in Review

    Overall, it has been a very disappointing start to the league season. My away form in general has not been good, and I will need to change my tactics away from home. I am still confident I can win the league. Not making the Group Stage of the UCL is not good, however, we were never going to win it this season and the EL, especially with our relatively easy group, represents an outside chance to win a European competition.

    Star Performers

    Kasper Dolberg (ST) – Banging in goals for fun, much more prolific than expected
    Anwar El Ghazi (RW) – Loads of assist. Does the simple things well – get past the full back and cross it.

    Concerning Performers

    Hakim Ziyech (AML) – Has been really ineffective. I think I may not be playing him in his best position. I need to address this to get the best out of the team.

    Andre Onana (GK) – Onana could have done better with a lot of the goals we have conceded so far. It looks increasingly like Krul will get a long run in the side when he is (finally) fit again.

    Transfers In:

    Guus Til – £1.3m – AZ Alkmaar

    Til is an 18 year old attacking left winger. He won’t get any playing time with the first team this year and has been loaned out to Almere City. He has great dribbling and crossing ability and, with 20 determination, will be sure to do everything he can to reach his very high potential. One to keep an eye on.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-guus-til.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-transfer-summary.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…


    The EL group stage campaign
    Injury updates
    Trying to fix our away form
    Dutch Cup action (Almere City away)

    Note:
    I am open to all feedback and comments on this. Why not answer some of the following questions?
    1. How can I fix my terrible away form?
    2. What do you make of my signings?
    3. How will I do this season?

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-competition-progress.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-monaco-leg-1.png  
    Last edited by StanLindsay1; 28/12/2016 at 01:48 PM.
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  4. Interesting story and well written! - I will be following for sure

    My first save of this years FM was actually with Ajax(I'm still playing on it sometimes).
    What I would probably have done different was to recall Richairo Zivkovic from loan instead of buying Green(Had first transfer window disabled in my save). Zivkovic and also Dolberg for that matter where absolutely bossing it even in the first season, with both banging in 25 goals+ IIRC. Otherwise I really like the signing of Augustinsson who i regret missing out on in my save.

    Can get you screenshots about 2 season in if you want

  5. Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by christianms95 View Post
    Interesting story and well written! - I will be following for sure

    My first save of this years FM was actually with Ajax(I'm still playing on it sometimes).
    What I would probably have done different was to recall Richairo Zivkovic from loan instead of buying Green(Had first transfer window disabled in my save). Zivkovic and also Dolberg for that matter where absolutely bossing it even in the first season, with both banging in 25 goals+ IIRC. Otherwise I really like the signing of Augustinsson who i regret missing out on in my save.

    Can get you screenshots about 2 season in if you want
    Cheers, Christian, thanks for the feedback - I appreciate it. I have tried to write down exactly what I am thinking when the events actually happened. I will look at Zivkovic next season, he seems to be playing every week where he is on loan, so I will let him stay there for this season. Did you play the same formation as me? Augustinsson does make a difference, especially at set pieces - I can't understand why the media and fans thought I over paid! Yes, please post screenshots!

  6. September Update

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    September Update

    Tactics change

    In an effort for sort out our terrible away form, I have decided to adopt a 4-1-2-3 formation away from home starting with the first game of the month against Vitesse. I am hoping this will shore up our defense a bit and allow use to play on the counter more, even if it means us having less possession. We've got to try something anyway!

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-new-formation.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-new-formation-tactics.png

    Vitesse 0-3 Ajax (Fixture 5)

    A Change is as Good as a Rest!

    I made several changes here to fit the formation. Bazoer played a holding midfield role, Klassen moved to the centre of midfield with Ziyech and Amin Younes got his first start on the left wing as he had been moaning about a lack of game time. We blitzed them with 3 very early goals, including one from Younes – well played my boy! Vitesse didn’t help themselves with the sending off, but we totally outplayed them with Ziyech playing his best game so far for us. AS Roma boss Luciano Spalletti was at the game to watch Veltman play. He is attracting a lot of interest and I expect bids in January. I would much prefer to keep him until at least the end of the season. Time to play hard ball.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-vitesse.png

    Kaj Sierhuis

    Academy graduate Sierhuis made his first appearance for the club off the bench in this game. The 18 year old centre forward is a good finisher but may need to go out on loan to get more game time. The fans loved that he made an appearance, but he didn't do much in his time on the pitch.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-kaj-sierhuis.png

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 1)

    Ajax 0-0 APOEL Nicosia

    Snooze Fest Ends Goalless

    APOEL came for a draw and got one. Well done them! Rather than go on a Mourinho-esque rant about them playing football from the dark ages, I complimented them on their defence. I gave Cerny and Viergever their first starts of the season and stuck with Younes on the left. Green started up front, but couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo based on this performance. I had hoped to get through the group with 3 wins from 3 at home, but it looks like I will need to win in Nicosia now. 10 points will usually get you through the group.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-apoel.png

    Dutch Cup Round 2

    Almere City 0-1 Ajax

    Dolberg Does it Again!

    A dull affair, but a win none the less. It’s been a little while since Dolberg scored, so I was glad he managed to score. I am also pleased with our 3rd clean sheet in a row. Pleasingly, Twente are OUT of the cup after losing to lower league opposition Den Bosch.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-almere-city.png

    Roda JC 0-4 Ajax (Fixture 6)

    Dolberg Double Does it For Ajax!

    The Ziyech experiment continued with him being moved to left wing again, but this time as a winger and not an inside forward. We moved above Roda in the table with this comfortable win. Ziyech played slightly better in his new role, but more importantly, we were defensively rock solid again.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-roda-jc.png

    Injury Update


    Nemanja Gudelj is finally now back in training. We have missed his creative influence in the middle of the park although Van De Beek has performed well in his place. Onana is also now fit but does he deserve to start? Krul is also a couple of weeks away from full fitness, so we are close to a full bill of health.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-injury-report.png

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 2)

    Celta Vigo 5-2 Ajax

    European Blues Continue for Ajax

    The decision to start Onana proved to be a disaster! He conceded 5! At least I had another goalkeeper on the bench for the first time this season. We got absolutely thumped by a very good Celta Vigo side, who took their chances well. The result places us bottom of the group, which adds even more pressure on our next 4 games. We will need to win at least 3 of them.


    Cup Draws

    Dutch Cup Round 3

    VUC Den Haag v Ajax

    An excellent draw against a semi professional side should pose no problems for us. Let’s hope a few of the other favourites slip up!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-vuc-den-haag-draw.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-dc-third-round-draw.png

    Month in Review

    Overall, it has a much better month in the league. 2 wins out of 2 (both away from home) have shot us up to 7th in the table and, if we can win our 2 games in hand, will be only 2 points off PSV who top the league. Defensively we were much better, only conceding in one game, although we did manage to concede 5 goals in that game. EL performances are concerning and I will now need to prioritise these games in order to achieve the board objective of getting out of the group. At least we are nearer a fully healthy squad again.

    Star Performers

    Norbert Alblas (GK) - Alblas will start the next few games, at least until Krul is fit. After the disaster in Spain with Onana, I feel Alblas is the guy to go with. In September, he kept 4 clean sheets, so deserves more game time.

    Kasper Dolberg (ST) – 12 goals in 11 games. Before October. Madness! We need to keep him injury free!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-kasper-dolberg.png

    Concerning Performers

    Davey Klassen (AMC) – He hasn’t been really poor, but as a captain, he should be performing much better. He hasn’t managed to score all season and only has 2 assists. What is his point in life if he can't do either?

    Vaclav Cerny (AML/R) – Cerny got 2 opportunities to start and impress me. He didn’t manage to do so on either occasion. That's the quickest way to get sold...
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-competition-update.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png


    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Trying to turn our EL campaign around
    Dutch Cup action (VUC Den Haag)
    The return of the Krul
    Last edited by StanLindsay1; 28/12/2016 at 01:57 PM.
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  7. October Update

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    October Update


    Groningen 0-1 Ajax (Fixture 7)

    Winning Ugly

    I decided to freshen the team up following the short turn around from the EL game. In came Younes, Alblas, Cerny, Dijks, and Green. Green hasn’t scored since the hat trick on his debut which is concerning. Gudelj also made a welcome first start since his injury.

    We were never really under threat but struggled to break them down. Thankfully, they managed to score against themselves to do the job for us. Sierhuis came on for some more game time. Another away win.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-groningen.png

    International Break

    Sinkgraven got injured in the last game, as did Nouri. As you can see below, the fans had zero sympathy for Sinkgraven – poor guy!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-sinkgraven-soft.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-injury-update-sinkgraven.png

    International Update


    Kasper Dolberg – won his first cap for Denmark against Romania and followed this up with his first international goal v Armenia. I congratulated him on his achievement.

    Kaj Sierhuis – playing for the U-19’s and showing massive improvement as you can see.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-sierhuis-improvement.png

    Ajax 1-0 Willem II (Fixture 8)

    Dilly Ding Dilly Dolberg!

    Finally a home game! Again, we struggled to break them down. I had started Dolberg on the bench to rest him for the EL game, but he came at half time to save us. The win moves us above Feyenoord and up to 4th.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-willem-ii.png

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 3)

    Ajax 1-0 Zorya Lugansk

    Klassy Klassen finally earns his stripes!

    This game really was must win! And win we did against Aorya, who had drawn 2-2 with APOEL Nicosia in their last game. Davy Klassen scored his first goal of the season as we went with our full strength team. Celta Vigo’s win against APOEL means we moved up to 2nd place in the group.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-zorya-lugansk.png

    Dutch Cup Round 4

    VUC DEN Haag 0-3 Ajax

    The Romance of the Cup is Dead!

    I completed rotated the whole team for this match against the part timers. Sierhuis and Sanchez both started. A 3-0 victory with Sierhuis, Zeefuik (lol) both scored their first goals for the club and Cerny chipped in with his first of the season. I can only assume he has heard he made my list of concerning performers and is trying to get off it!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-vuc.png

    Ajax 1-0 FC Utrecht (Fixture 9)

    Dolberg at the Double!

    This game brought us up against 3rd placed FC Utrecht who have just done us all a massive favour and beaten league leaders PSV. This was also a good chance to see Zivkovic up close and personal as he is on loan there from us. Krul also started in goal for us, making him the 3rd goalkeeper to start for us this season. We utterly dominated them and pummelled them into submission with Dolberg keeping up his goal a game ratio.

    Jose Mourinho (Man Utd) was also in the stands AGAIN but this time to watch Nouri. At this rate, he’d be better buying a season ticket and saving himself some money!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-utrecht.png

    Cup Draw

    Dutch Cup Round 4

    NEC Nijmegen v Ajax

    Yet another away draw, but this time the competition is much stiffer against Eredivisie NEC. On the plus side, Heerenveen, Sparta Rotterdam and Groningen were all dumped out by lower league opposition.

    Contract Renewal

    I tied right back Kenny Tete down to a new 5 year deal. It meant doubling his wages, but this was fair as he wasn’t being paid in line with his role in the team. Crucially, I refused to agree to a buy out clause to stop other teams pinching him.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-tete-new-contract.png

    Month in Review

    We won all our games and didn’t concede a single goal, so a great month all round! We moved up to 5th with 3 games in hand and, if we win all of them, we will be 2 points clear at the top. I am not entirely sure why we have played at least 2 games less than everyone else.

    We made it through to the 4th round of the Dutch Cup and have a decent chance to go the distance in it with a lot of other Eredivisie clubs eliminated already.

    In Europe we have steadied the ship, moving up to 2nd place (top to go through) at the half way point. 2 wins from our last 3 games should see us through. I would like to catch Celta Vigo and win the group, but I can’t see it happening, as they would have to drop too many points.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-competition-progress.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png

    Star Performer


    Joel Veltman (CB) – Veltman is a big reason we didn’t concede a goal all month and picked up a couple of man of the match awards. Lots of scouts have come to watch him so I am fully expecting to be fielding offers for him in January. I may offer him a new contract in June to ward off other teams.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-veltman.png

    Concerning Performers

    Amin Younes (AML) – Younes has underperformed at every opportunity. Playing his way into being sold in the summer, especially if I can shoe horn Zivkovic into his position.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-amin-younes.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    6 games, 5 of which are away from home. Why does it feel like we never play at home?
    The BIG De Topper game against PSV
    Zorya and APOEL (both away) in the EL
    Seano likes this.

  8. exelent

    great stuff. fantastic rules. I think your main problem would be other club hunting yiur players. always take after their concerns especially their contracts...

  9. Quote Originally Posted by StanLindsay1 View Post
    Cheers, Christian, thanks for the feedback - I appreciate it. I have tried to write down exactly what I am thinking when the events actually happened. I will look at Zivkovic next season, he seems to be playing every week where he is on loan, so I will let him stay there for this season. Did you play the same formation as me? Augustinsson does make a difference, especially at set pieces - I can't understand why the media and fans thought I over paid! Yes, please post screenshots!
    Good to see that you have managed to turn the form around. Is there any thing specific you would like screenshots of?
    And yes, you will need to give out a lot of contract extensions for your young players if you want to keep them. I have experienced quite a bit of unhappiness especially from Bazoer's side that I won't let him go(i'm trying to keep most of the youngsters, at least those who perform well).

  10. Reply

    Quote Originally Posted by seyed View Post
    great stuff. fantastic rules. I think your main problem would be other club hunting yiur players. always take after their concerns especially their contracts...
    Cheers, thank you! I am envisioning this problem too. Hoping I can get far enough in Europe consistently enough to hold on to players. Is it worth loaning better playing to PSV and Feyenoord who will also probably be in Europe? This should help them do better and might improve the rep of our league?

  11. Reply

    Quote Originally Posted by christianms95 View Post
    Good to see that you have managed to turn the form around. Is there any thing specific you would like screenshots of?
    And yes, you will need to give out a lot of contract extensions for your young players if you want to keep them. I have experienced quite a bit of unhappiness especially from Bazoer's side that I won't let him go(i'm trying to keep most of the youngsters, at least those who perform well).
    Results and signings would be great! Yes, I will try to do before the Summer transfer window to ward off other clubs. I may need to sell one player a year to be able to afford the massive increase in wages.

  12. November Update

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    November Update – What a month!

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 4)

    Zorya Lugansk 2-5 Ajax

    You Don’t Stop Dolberg!

    Zorya set up in an attacking formation – they evidently needed the win and were going for it. However, they only succeeded in leaving lots of space for Dolberg to run into and he duly obliged by smashing home his 2nd hat trick of the season! Dijks chipped in with another from left back and Ziyech nailed a free kick from 30 yards. Is it harsh that I am slightly aggrieved at conceding 2 goals? – well I am! Celta Vigo thumped APOEL 7-0 meaning both ourselves and Celta are running away at the top of the group.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-dolberg-v-zorya.png

    International Squad Announcements

    Davy Klassen

    Unsurprisingly, we have a lot of players playing international football at senior, U-23, U-21, U-20, U19 and U18 level. The big surprise was Davy Klassen being left out of the Dutch squad entirely. He competes with Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray) and Gerginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) for the central attacking midfield position, and the Dutch coach must have decided they offered more for the team. I still think this was harsh considering Klassen can play in a few other positions. Hopefully this will motivate to play better for us and get back in the international team.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-klassen-out-holland-squad.png

    FC Twente 2-3 Ajax (Fixture 10)

    El Ghazi to the Rescue!

    Twente were, very surprisingly, bottom of the league going into this fixture. I spent most of the pre match press conference defending their coach and saying they should not be underestimated. So, of course, we proceeded to go out and concede 2 early goals to them! Nightmare. Fortunately, El Ghazi managed to nick one back just before half time, although this didn’t save the team from an ear bashing at half time. El Ghazi then got us level shortly after the restart, before Klassen converted a pressure penalty to get us out of jail and steal the victory. Ballsy. His celebration should have been to run over to the watching Dutch coach and stick 2 fingers up at him!

    Twente’s coach (Hake) was sacked immediately after this game.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-twente.png

    International Break

    I have grown to fear this! – we get so many injuries and this international break was no different, but first the positives:

    Good News

    Kaj Sierhuis (ST) (Holland U-19’s) – 2 goals in a 3-0 win over Israel follows by 2 more goals in the 3-2 win over Greece.

    Mateo Casierra (ST) (Columbia U-20’s) – 2 goals in the 3-2 defeat to USA.

    Andre Onana (GK) (Cameroon) – first international cap.

    The Bad News

    Nouri (AMC) – injured and out for 6-7 weeks.

    Davy Klassen (AMC) - eventually called up to the Dutch squad when Georginio Wijnaldum got injured. He then got hurt in the game and will be out for 3 weeks. Just what we needed with PSV in our next game!

    PSV 0-1 Ajax (Fixture 11)

    Younes You Beauty!!!

    Ziyech has been moved to AMC with Klassen and Nouri both injured. This means Younes got the start on the left wing. I could have put in Green or Cerny, but went with Younes as I felt experience would be important in such a big game. We started well, hitting the bar twice early on, but it was 0-0 at half time. Then disaster – Dolberg goes down injured on 56 mins after a horrendously dirty tackle by Jorrit Hendrix. He would be hearing all about this in the press conference after the game! Hendrix got off with only a yellow for the tackle. Just when it looked as though the game was up (and a draw would have been an okay result for us), Ziyech slipped in Younes who drove it home low into the corner – keeper now chance. Cue wild celebrations, me mentally knee sliding down the touchline past Phillip Cocu (PSV coach) and Nick Vergiever coming on the for the centre forward. Result.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-psv.png

    Injury Update

    After the dust had settled on this monumental victory against our nearest and dearest, we faced the reality of a cold hard world without Kasper Dolberg. It’s like a death in the family. He’s out for 3-4 months and was sent to a specialised. Sierhuis will replace him in the short term. Hopefully the midfield can chip in with a few more – he is our top scorer by a country mile! #PrayForDolberg #DoItForDolberg
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-injury-list-dolberg.png

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 5)

    APOEL 1-1 Ajax

    Qualified (Just)!!!

    I have no idea what our problem is with this lot. We only needed a point to qualify and we got one through Cerny. Celta Vigo beat Zorya 2-0 anyway, so we would have went through even if we had lost. This means the last game (Celta Vigo at home) is a dead rubber as we are both qualified and we can’t catch them. The board expect us to reach the second knock out round, so we are hoping for an easy draw in the first knock out round.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-apoel.png

    Ajax 2-1 Sparta Rotterdam (Fixture 12)

    Home Sweet Home! Mighty Mateo!!

    Finally – our first home game in almost a month. Sparta were in poor form having lost their last 3 so we rotated the team. Casierra got his first start up front as we assessed our option options up front without Dolberg. Having gone 1-0 down early, 2 goals from Casierra won us the game. An important 3 points and a good start for Mateo Casierra.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-sparta-rotterdam.png

    Heerenveen 0-2 Ajax (Fixture 13)

    The Grass Is Always Greener!

    Green finally chipped in early with his 4th goal of the season! It was a long time coming. Mitchell Dijks chipped in with another goal from left back and has proved a surprisingly good source of goals. We created lost of chances, but struggled to finish them off. This was our 9th league win in a row.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-heerenveen.png

    Contract Renewal

    Youth team prospect Anderson Lopez was given his first professional contract. The striker is good for his age (17) and could develop into a first team player in a few seasons.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-anderson-lopez.png

    Month in Review

    Another undefeated month which is always good. I am a little bit annoyed that we have been conceding more goals and this will be even more important with Dolberg out for the best part of 4 months. To show you how important he is for out team, here is a list of our top scorers so far:

    Kasper Dolberg (ST) – 18
    Anwar El Ghazi (RW)– 7
    Julian Green (ST) – 4
    Hakim Ziyech (MID) – 4
    Mitchell Dijks (LB) - 3

    Dolberg also chipped in with 4 assists. I decided I would do the following…
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-zivkovic-returns.png

    That’s right, Richairo Zivkovic is back!!! There are a couple of reasons for this.

    1. He’s in great form! 7 goals and 2 assists in 11 games and 4 Man of The Match performances for Utrecht. He’s also got 5 goals in 4 games for Hollands U-21’s.

    2. He’s playing for Utrecht. Utrecht are up to 2nd in the league and becoming a threat in the league challenge. Taking away their best player at this point should hopefully put a dent in their title challenge.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-richairo-zivkovic.png

    In Europe we have qualified for the next stage, but failed to win the group. This could turn out to be a disaster if we get someone who has dropped out of the UCL in the next stage, but at least we can rotate in the final group game.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-competition-update.png

    Star Performer

    Anwar El Ghazi (RW) – A fantastic month for our top assister (8). He always plays well in the big games and when we badly need a goal. A very handy guy to have around.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-el-ghazi-social-media.png

    Concerning Performers

    Daley Sinkgraven (CM) – He has been poor this season. I have even tried him at AMC in a few games, but to no avail. Needs to get the finger out. At this point, I’d sell him for a reasonable offer as he is 21 years old and not likely to improve too much.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-sinkgraven.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…


    6 games coming up. Highlights are as follows:

    Eredivisie – PEC Zwolle (H) and Feyenoord (H)
    Dutch Cup – NEC Nijmegen (A)
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-fixture-schedule.png

  13. December Update

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    December Update


    Go Ahead Eagles 0-0 Ajax (Fixture 14)

    Go Ahead Had No Intention Of Ever Going Ahead!

    They came, they parked the bus, they left. Veltman reached the milestone of 100 games for us and played well. Zivkovic was promptly handed the number 9 jersey and told to get on with the task of keeping our season alive until Dolberg gets back #DoItForDolberg. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it for us today. We had over 60% possession and they had 1 solitary shot at our goal. I miss Dolberg… **sobs into tea…**
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ga-eagles.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-social-ga-eagles.png

    Europa League Group Stage (Group L – Game 6)

    Ajax 0-1 Celta Vigo

    Is anyone even watching?

    With Celta guaranteed to win the group and us guaranteed to finish 2nd, this game was truly pointless. We fully rotated the team, and the bonus was that captain Davy Klassen got 20 minutes off the bench. We lost 1-0. I don’t care.

    Heracles 1-0 Ajax (Fixture 15)

    Herculian Effort From Heracles!

    I had to keep the squad slightly rotated as we have only 2 days until the NEC game in the Dutch Cup. However, I wasn’t expecting us to lose here. We created some chances, but Zivkovic couldn’t take any of them. 3 games on the bounce without scoring is unacceptable. Zivkovic has 3 games to get this sorted, or we will be looking at our other options in the upcoming transfer window.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-heracles.png

    Dutch Cup Round 4

    NEC Nijmegen 0-2 Ajax

    Klassen Is Captain Fantastic!

    The 2 day turnaround rom the Heracles game meant the squad was changed again, although a lot closer to full strength this time. Davy Klassen scored a penalty on his return, just when it was looking like it wasn’t going to be our day. It was a big game, and a big game would not be complete without an El Ghazi goal.

    Vitesse and Heracles (karma is a bitch!) were the 2 Eredivisie causalities in this round.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-nec.png

    Ajax 6-1 PEC Zwolle (Fixture 16)

    Zwolle Lot Of Goals Conceded There, PEC!

    Goals. Goals everywhere! Our best performance of the season by a country mile. Zivkovic woke up and banged in a high quality hat trick. Klassen, in his 100th appearance for the club, scored again as well as El Ghazi netting the other 2 against a team who were performing very well in the league. Who said we needed a new striker in January? That guy hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about…
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-pec.png

    Ajax 4-0 Feyenoord (Fixture 17)

    Feyenoord who?

    This was an epic performance against probably the 3rd best team in the league. Zivkovic had already put us 1-0 up by the time Dirk Kuyt got himself sent off for Feyenoord. We very clinically put them to the sword with goals from Klassen, El Ghazi and Gudelj. The wins put us top of the league on goal difference.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-feyenoord.png

    Contract Renewals

    Joel Veltman – new deal which gives our vice captain an extra 4k a week, but has no buyout clause.

    Riechedly Bazoer – 5 year 16k a week deal with 35m buy out clause. I hope it’s high enough to keep people away.

    Month in Review

    A very poor start to the month, but finished strongly, and crucial, got us on top of the league for the first time this season. Zivkovic, after a slow start, has proved he can score goals for us. We will probably only be looking at more youth prospects in the window, if we buy anyone at all.

    Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) and Andre Onana (Cameroon) have both been called up to their teams African Cup of Nations squad, so we will lose them for a couple of weeks at the end of January and start of February.

    Ludwig Augustinsson completed his intensive course in speaking Dutch. If it’s as good as my French GCSE, it won’t be much use to him. However, he can now (apparently) speak good Dutch.

    Transfer News
    Mateo Casierra – loan – Atletico National (Columbia). I decided to let Casierra go out on loan because he wasn’t getting a game for me now and will be getting even less game time when Dolberg gets fit.

    League News
    FC Twente (finally) hired former GA Eagles coach Foeke Booy as their new manager. He joins them 4 points adrift at the bottom of the league and 6 points form safety. Good luck, Foeke.

    Star Performer

    Davy Klassen (AMC) – Back form injury and scored 3 goals on the bounce. Finally playin to somewhere near his dominating potential.

    Concerning Performers

    None. We bossed it.

    Cup Draw

    Dutch Cup Quarter Final

    PEC Zwolle v Ajax

    Yet another away draw. Based on the last game against them, I think we’ll be alright.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-dc-draw.png

    Europa League First Knockout Stage

    Ajax v Krasnodar

    An away trip to Russia doesn’t sound fun, but at least we managed to avoid Man Utd, Leicester and Roma.


    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    A mid season friendly against Partizan – Yay!

    Transfer window update

    Mid Season Review

  14. Nice story liking the start you have made good luck and kutgw
    Signing suggestions young potential world class players e.g from south America are in line with Ajax of the past but try to keep a dutch core maybe the dutch national team's could be a talent pool for you to keep an eye on .

  15. January Update – Bumper Edition!

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    Leave Our Kids Alone!!

    This entire month did a good job of stressing me out as clubs came from everywhere attempting to pinching our players. Here is the complete list of offers we received for our players in the window and the clubs who tried to buy them:

    Jairo Riedewald – Juventus, PSG
    Carel Eiting – Arsenal
    Abdelhak Nouri – Arsenal, Man City
    Vaclac Cerny – Chelsea, Napoli, AC Milan
    Deyo Zeefuik – Man Utd
    Anwar El Ghazi – BMG, Lazio
    Nemanja Gudelj – Juventus
    Kaj Sierhuis – Man Utd
    Francesco Antonucci – Juventus
    Hakim Ziyech – Napoli
    Nick Viergever – Middlesborough

    Sadly, El Ghazi, Nouri and Cerny all requested transfers. I was not happy! Eventually, I decided to accept El Ghazi and Cerny’s request. As good as El Ghazi has been we have enough quality wingers coming through, so I thought I may as well take the money and run. Cerny isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Nouri is someone I coud build a team around, so he is going nowhere!

    Excelsior 1-1 Ajax (Fixture 18)

    Velt Very Vicious!

    I went with Zeefuik in for the injured Tete (out for 2-3 weeks). I also started El Ghazi, even though he was mightily upset that I wouldn’t sell him to BMG. I hoped he’d be keen to prove how good he was to them. Inevitably the squad unrest seemed to affect the performance. Veltman got himself sent off for a silly tackle with 41 mins gone. I subbed on Sierhuis at half time and he promptly banged in his first league goal of the season on 65 mins. It was from an El Ghazi cross, which vindicated starting him. Unfortunately, Vermuelen scored 6 mins later to level it up and that’s the way it finished.


    Ajax 0-1 NEC Nijmegen (Fixture 19)

    Bad to Worse!

    Viergever was handed the captains armband for the day as rotated the squad on the 3 day turnaround. Green and Nouri were handed starts. If being held at 0-0 at half time was disappointing, then the second half was extremely disappointing. Captain Viergever gave away a penalty on 51 mins, but that was saved by Krul. Still, we managed to lose it in the 85th minute after Grot scored. Younes got injured for 3 weeks. This result made me really consider letting some of our players leave just to appease a few of them and get performances back on track.

    AZ 0-2 Ajax (Fixture 20)

    Back on Track!

    Former players were keen to warn me about the dangers of the wonderfully named Fred Friday who I would genuinely sign solely based on that name! I started Vaclac Cerny to finally decide whether I would sell him or not. A nervy first half finished 0-0, but an own goal from Rienstra and one from El Ghazi sealed the win. In even better news, PSV played Feyenoord and both dropped points in the 2-2 draw. A good day all round!

    Contract Renewals

    Richairo Zivkovic – signed a new 6.5k deal with no buy out clause.

    Month in Review

    All of the transfer offers definitely had a negative effect on performances. Not having Ziyech, Onana (both AFCON), Tete and Dolberg (both inj) did not help matters. However, most of the transfer offers were not high enough to make me want to sell. Next month should see us improve when we get everyone back and no one is having their head turned by vast amounts of money from the EPL.


    Club Transfer News

    OUT
    Anwar El Ghazi – 20.5m – BMG - I really didn’t want to get El Ghazi but couldn’t realistically couldn’t turn down the money from a player valued at 8m. I hope I don’t regret this at the end of the season.

    Vaclac Cerny – 7m – AC Milan – Valued at 625k, I think I got a good deal for him. He wasn’t getting much of a look in with the first team anyway and I will get 40% of the next sale, so not bad.

    Heiko Westermann – 140k – Sampdoria – Westermann has played exactly 0 minutes of football for the first team. He didn’t fit my philosophy for the club and, at 33, wasn’t going to improve at all.

    IN
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-pione-sisto-signing.png

    Pione Sisto (RW) – 6m – Celta Vigo – I really wanted to sign Sisto since he played brilliantly against us twice with Vigo in the EL. He’s 21 and should improve. My scouts reckon he’s not quite as good as El Ghazi, but I think he should improve quickly and get to his standard. He’s quick, strong and can cross – that’s all I need.

    League Transfer News
    PSV had an eventful window! They sold 4 of their best players and attempted to replace them with players from outside of the Dutch league, so will hopefully take a while to settle in.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-psv-transfers.png

    Star Performer

    Tim Krul (GK) – We really didn’t play well this month, but this guy made sure we got something out of it with some good performances.

    Concerning Performers

    Augustinsson (LB) – needs to get the finger out. Got caught out too many times by Vermuelen in the NEC game.


    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Dutch Cup 5th Round
    EL 1st Knock Out Round
    The Sisto Era Begins

  16. February Update

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    Dutch Cup Quarter Final


    PEC Zwolle 1-3 Ajax

    A Klass Act!

    The big day has arrived for Sisto! I have given him the number 7 jersey and told him to get out there and make a name for himself. Sadly, he didn’t live up to the hype and had a quiet game. Hopefully he’s planning on building on it slowly. Onana arrived back from AFCON to warm the bench for us. Dijks came in to give Augustinsson a rest and performed well scoring a goal. Zivkovic and an own goal killed them off after that. A routine win.


    Ajax 2-0 ADO Den Haag (Fixture 21)

    The Grass is Always Green-er!

    Another poor start for us, but the supersubs did the business. Klassen and Green both grabbed goals for us and other results went our way with PSV losing at home to Vitesse and Feyenoord only managing a draw away to Utrecht. Ziyech also won the AFCON!


    Ajax 0-0 AZ (Fixture 22)

    Snorefest!

    A hugely frustrating 0-0 draw. I gave Sierhuis the start only for him to he carted off injured afte half an hour. He’s out for 3 months, leaving us with one fit striker. Zeefuik also picked up an injury which will keep him out for 3 weeks. So, 2 dropped points at home and 2 injuries – brilliant.

    Ajax 3-1 Vitesse (Fixture 23)

    Back in the groove!

    In came Tete for Zeefuik and Zivkovic for the injured Sierhuis. I also started Ziyech in the AML position. Unfortunately, the game continued on from the last one in that it was boring for 45 mins. The game livened up when they took the lead and we immediately hitback within 90 seconds through Zivkovic. Ludwig Augustinsson had a great game down the left, putting in dangerous crosses continually and grabbing a couple of assists. Riedewald scored a header and then another own goal sealed the win for us. Unfortunately, Ziyech got injured – he’s out for 3 weeks too – we have no luck!!!


    Europa League First Knockout Round (Leg 1)

    Ajax 1-1 Krasnador

    Almost the perfect start.

    Even though we have Feyenoord on the weekend, I went full strength and attacking to try and get a lead to take into the away leg. Sisto is obviously cup tied which is a bit of a blow for us, so Younes starts on the right. We got off to a very good start with Augustinsson crossing to Klassen who headed us in front after only 12 mins. However, we failed to push on from there and eventually let Krasnador back into the game when they scored with 2 mins left in the game. This was a huge blow for us as we now need to score at their place. Even worse news, Gudelj and Veltman both picked up bookings meaning they are suspended for the return leg. Nightmare.

    Coaching Change
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-keizer-almere-city.png

    Marcel Keizer to Almere City
    One of our affiliate clubs decided to steal the manager of Jong Ajax, Marcel Keizer, for themselves. I can understand the move from his point of view as Jong Ajax will never play in the Eredivisie. He will still have lots of Ajax players at Almere City, so good luck to him.

    Feyenoord 0-1 Ajax (Fixture 24)

    Easy as A to Zivkovic

    Honestly, I expected us to lose this one with it being sandwiched between the EL fixture. However, Zivkovic had other ideas smashing home his 21st goal of the season in the 21st minute to give us a lead we never looked like losing. Augustinsson again put in an impressive MOTM performance on the left. This will be a huge blow to their title chances as the defeat leaves them in 4th place behind us, PSV and Utrecht.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-0-1-win-v-feyenoord.png

    Europa League First Knockout Round (Leg 2)

    Krasnador 2-1 Ajax (AET)

    Krasnador go through 3-2 on aggregate

    So close but yet so far…

    Ugghh… so frustrating! We went ahead after Augustinsson (what a man he is!) smashed home a free kick after 10 miutes and everything was going swimmingly. But we couldn’t close it out and Gogliev scored with 60 seconds left. He then did it again in extra time and put us out. The board won’t be happy – they expected us to reach the second knock out round. The only glimmer of good news is that Justin Kluivert, son of Ajax legend Patrick, made his debut off the bench. The attacking midfielder can also play up front (like his dad) and I hope, if only for the sake of nostalgia, he becomes a regular in the team.

    Willem II 0-3 Ajax (Fixture 25)

    A Star is Born!

    What a game this was. Nothing happened until the 87th minute and then it went mental! Klassen came of the bench and stuck home a pressure penalty on the 87th minute. Then, 90 seconds later, a star was born! Augustinsson skipped by the right back and whipped a ball in along the 6 yard box. There was Justin Kluivert to stick it home for his first goal for the club. Dad was tearing up in the stands! Klassen even had time to nick another 1 minute later. I love days like these!

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-justin-kluivert.png

    Transfer News

    Jairo Riedewald and Nouri are happy to stay at the club as Everton and Arsenal are no longer interested in them. Thank God for that.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-nouri-staying.png

    Month in Review

    It’s very hard not to be disappointed by going out of Europe so early. However, it does let us now focus on doing the league and cup double. I hope to never have to put up with playing in the EL again. Winning the league will put us straight into the UCL group phase.

    Injuries have massively hampered us for the last couple of months. This can be a blessing in disguise, as we then have to play young players and get them some experience.

    Our league form held up pretty well. We are now 6 points clear of PSV in 2nd with only 9 games left.

    Star Performer
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ludwig-what-year.png

    Ludwig Augustinsson (LB) – What a month from this guy! He now has the highest average rating of any player in the Eredivisie. He is the teams top assister with 12 and has the most man of the match awards with 5. He even chipped in with a goal from left back. What a guy!

    Concerning Performers

    Nouri (AMC) – He’s done nothing this month because his head has been turned by Arsenal. Hopefully, now that they are no longer interested in him, he will get going again next month.

    Cup Draw

    Dutch Cup Quarter Final

    Ajax v PSV
    Willem II v Feyenoord

    Finally a home draw! Even if it is against our biggest rivals. Our board expectation is to reach the final and I am confident we can achieve that.

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    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Dutch Cup Semi Final

    The league run in

    Will I get a new contract or not?
    Last edited by StanLindsay1; 13/02/2017 at 10:16 PM.

  17. March Update

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    March Update


    Ajax 2-0 Roda (Fixture 26)

    Roda Rolled Over!

    Roda are bottom of the table, so I wasn’t particularly worried about them, especially being at home. I have decided to drop Krul for the rest of the season and start Onana. The reason for this, is that Krul is on loan and I don’t think I will sign him at the end of the season. I plan on evaluating Onana and decide whether he is good enough to start next season or not. If he isn’t I will probably at least keep him as a back up. This was a straightforward 2-0 win with goals from Zivkovic and Green. On the downside, Sisto is out for 2-3 months, so probably on’t play the rest of the season. Dolberg got a few minutes at the end as he slowly works his way back to fitness.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-dolberg-fit-again.png

    Ajax 4-0 Groningen (Fixture 27)

    We Have Lift Off!

    Where has this performance been for the past 3 months??? An excellent display all around. Goals from Zivkovic (x2), Ziyech and Nouri finished them off quickly. Unbelievably, this was Nouri’s first goal of the season! Justin Kluivert got an assist and continues to play well off either wing, but is probably best as an inside forward on the left. He is a big upgrade on Younes and Green from what I’ve seen so far. PSV only managed a draw with 2nd bottom FC Twente so we are now 8 points clear at the top.

    Mauro Savastano
    Mauro Savastano also made his debut at left back. I am hoping he will eventually be able to replace Dijks as my back up left back. As you can see, he’s good going forward, which is essential for the way our left back plays.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-mauro-savastano.png

    NEC Nijmegen 0-1 Ajax (Fixture 28)

    Nervy in Nijmegen!

    This was a bit of a grudge match as the NEC coach always slags me off in the media and they got a good result against us last time out. Dolberg made his first start since injury, but didn’t have much of an effect on the game. Klassen scored the only goal on the 35th minute and what a goal it was! Fully 35 yards out and arrowed into the top corner! Crucially, we seemed to have learned how to close a game out.

    Dutch Cup Semi Final

    Ajax 1-0 PSV

    Kllllluuuuuiiiiiivveeeerrrrttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!

    The big day had arrived. This was easily the biggest game of the season so far – a cup semi final against your biggest rivals. I went to work winding up Cocu in the pre-match media saying the pressure was getting to him and he would inevitably crack. The other semi final kicked off before ours so we knew a win would get us to a final against Feyenoord. The winner came on the hour mark through Justin Kluivert. What a player he is. It all could have been so different though. Jurgen Locadia was racing through on goal from the half way line, the goal at his mercy with 90 seconds left. In stepped Kenny Tete who did the manly thing and chopped him down from behind knowing he would get sent off. Not all heroes wear capes…

    Coaching Change

    Phillippe Saint-Jean – Jong Ajax
    Saint-Jean was appointed coach of Jong Ajax. The 62 year old Belgian has loads of experience and will need to improve our young players so they are ready to make the step up when called upon.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-phillippe-saint-jean.png

    Month in Review

    A very short month, with the international fixtures, but a very good month for us. 4 wins out of 4 and not a single goal conceded. Onana seems to be playing himself in to starting next season which is good news, although he hasn’t faced any top class opposition apart from PSV.

    The board finally offered me a new 2 year deal which I gladly accepted.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-new-deal-me.png

    U-19 Success
    Our U-19’s also won the league by an absolute landslide. It’s good to see we definitely have the best young players in Holland at the moment. Hopefully that success will continue.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-u-19-league-table.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-u-19-league-winners.png

    Star Performer


    Justin Kluivert (AML/R) – I couldn’t have chosen anyone else here. He’s been brilliant since he came into the team. Scoring the winner against PSV in the semi final of the cup before you’re 18 isn’t a bad start to a career.

    Concerning Performers

    Daley Sinkgraven (CM) – just doesn’t do anything when he gets his chance to play. I don’t see what his point in life is. What does he do?

    Cup Draw

    Dutch Cup Final

    Ajax v Feyenoord

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Dutch Cup Final

    The league run in
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    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png
    Last edited by StanLindsay1; 14/02/2017 at 10:58 AM.

  18. April Update

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    April Update


    FC Utrecht 1-1 Ajax (Fixture 29)

    Stretched by Utrecht!

    We never really got going in this one. We went 1-0 up through Ziyech early on. He has been immense since coming back from winning the AFCON with Morocco. Whatever they were feeding him there – I’ll have 10 of them! Utrecht equalised early in the second half and looked more dangerous than us as the game came to a close.


    Ajax 3-0 FC Twente (Fixture 30)

    They were lucky we didn’t score Twenty!

    This was a good chance to look at centre back Joachim Andersen who I had been scouting and looking at signing in the summer. He did not have a good game, conceding a penalty in the first half. Two goals from Ziyech (again) and one from Kluivert sealed the win before we closed it out. Twente were truly awful.

    The result was made even more significant with PSV losing 2-1 at home to Heerenveen, giving us a 9 point lead at the top with 4 to play. And guess who we have next…

    Ajax 2-1 PSV (Fixture 31)

    We only needed a draw here to guarantee us our first league win for 3 years. Obviously we went with our strongest team. Former stars of Ajax like Rafael Van Der Vaart warned us about the threat of Kardec up front for them. Kardec joined PSV in January and settled in quickly, scorin a hatful of goals already.

    Champions!

    We got off to the best possible start after 5 mins with Tete swinging over a cross and one of the PSV defenders turning it into his own net. However, 4 minutes later Kardec sprinted past the defence to level it up for PSV. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Dolberg has not been great since his return from injury. With the pressure on he turned in a Kluivert cross from close range to win us the game. Elation. Ecstasy. Sheer joy!
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-league-title.png

    Dutch Cup Final
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-cup-final-team.png

    We had some big decisions to make before this game. Gudelj was suspended and Van De Beek injured so I had no option but to start Sinkgraven in midfield. Dolbergs goal in the last game earns him the start up front in place of Zivkovic. Right back was probably the hardest decision with Tete suspended. I decided on moving Veltman to right back and playing Sancehz at centre half where he has been good over the last few games. Zeefuik is the unfortunate player to miss out.

    Ajax 2-3 Feyenoord

    Heart break – done by the Danish dynamo!

    The big day had arrived – my first cup final as Ajax coach! Sadly, this day didn’t end the way I had hoped. We got off to a great start with Ziyech scoring yet another free kick. Feyenoord hit back quickly through El Ahmadi. Feyenoord then went ahead through the dangerous Jorgensen who was a problem with his pace all game long. We equalised on the stroke of half time with Kluivert setting up Klassen – a combination that seems to be working well. What turned the game was Sinkgraven going off injured on the hour mark. This meant dropping Klassen into a deeper role and subbing on Nouri. We seemed to lack Klassens creativity going forward. Jorgensen put away a tidy finish with 5 minutes left and that was that. Soul destroying. Definitely looking into the possibility of buying Jorgensen. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    Sparta Rotterdam 2-1 Ajax (Fixture 32)

    Coupon Buster!

    We heavily rotated the team to give all the kids a start against bottom of the table Sparta. They had a lost more to play for than us and clearly wanted it more than us. We have 2 games left both of which are obviously now dead rubbers.

    Month in Review

    A rollercoaster month for the team. There is nothing sweeter than winning the league against your nearest and dearest. This joy was quickly tempered with the Dutch Cup defeat against our rivals.

    Gudelj and Ziyech both announced they were happy to stay with the team now we were guaranteed UCL football next year.

    Star Performer

    Hakim Ziyech (AMR) – Has been immense since returning from the AFCON. Banging in free kicks, loads of assists – the man does everything. We seem to have finally found his position on the right wing. This is fine whilst Sisto is injured, but will present a problem when they are both fit. Not a bad problem to have all the same.

    Concerning Performers

    Deyo Zeefuik (RB) – there is a noticeable drop off at right back when Tete is out. This part of the reason why he didn’t play in the cup final. He is young, so will hopefully improve.
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    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-competitions.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Final 2 league games of the season

    Awards Time – feel free to send me any suggestions for awards to hand out
    TheBattman likes this.

  19. May Update and End of Season Review

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    May Update


    Ajax 2-0 GA Eagles (Fixture 33)

    Gudelj to You, Sir! I said Gudelj!

    Lots of kids got their starts today. There would have been even more had I not lost 8 players to an international youth tournament. Gudelj put on a master class for those kids who did stick around. He tucked away a penalty early and then powered in a free kick to seal the result. Get in!

    Carel Eiting

    The 20 year old German played centre back for us today. He can play in centre midfield and defensive midfield. I decided to give him a go with nothing riding on the last 2 games and Arsenal interested in signing him. He could be a long term option in centre half.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-carel-eiting.png

    Ajax 3-1 Heerenveen (Fixture 34)

    Out with a Bang - Fantastic End of Season Performance!

    I kept he same team for this game against a useful Heerenveen team. Goals from Zivkovic (2) and Dolberg put this one to bed early, so we could enjoy the rest of the game and go off for the end of season break in high spirits.

    Facilities Upgrade Agreed

    The board accepted my request to upgrade both our youth and training facilities which should help our players to improve even more quickly. They did reject my request to expand the stadium. We averaged 93% attendance last season, so it was a bit disappointing considering I expect attendances to rise next season with us guaranteed at least 3 home UCL games.

    Season in Review

    A satisfactory season for this young team. The board seemed pleased with what we achieved this season.

    League – Winners!
    Winning the league was the bare minimum required for us and we achieved this. We hadn’t won the league for 2 seasons, so this does represent progress as a team.

    Dutch Cup – Runners Up

    We achieved the board’s aim of reaching the final, however, I was still gutted to lose a final and want to fix this next season.

    Europe – EL 1st Knock Round

    Again, disappointed to lose to someone as poor as Krasnador. I am hoping to do much better in the much more difficult UCL competition next season. Still, qualifying for the UCL should help us keep hold of players and attract higher quality new ones to the club.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-confidence-review.png

    End of Season Awards

    Below are the awards the game gave out. It’s difficult to argue with most of them, but I will anyway and add a few of my own.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-end-season-awards.png

    Top Scorer

    1st – Kasper Dolberg – 20
    2nd – Richairo Zivkovic – 12
    3rd – Davy Klassen – 11

    Dolberg spent 3 months out injured and still managed to end up our top goal scorer by a mile. Imagine what he could do if he was actually fit for a whole season?
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-kasper-dolberg.png

    Top Assister

    1st – Ludwig Augustinsson – 15
    2nd – Davy Klassen – 10
    3rd – Kenny Tete – 7

    Augustinsson was truly epic in the second half of the season after he actually learned the language. He takes a lot of the free kicks and corners which inevitably helped him rack up more assists. Most were from him bombing down the left wing and crossing the ball though.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-augustinsson.png

    Highest Average Rating

    1st – Ludwig Augustinsson – 7.45
    2nd – Kasper Dolberg – 7.40
    3rd – Joel Veltman – 7.38

    Again, Augustinsson was all around just fantastic.


    Player of the Season

    1st - Augustinsson
    2nd – Davy Klassen
    3rd – Kasper Dolberg

    It’s a close one. Hakim Ziyech is unlucky not to make this list for the second half of the year performances. All 3 players came up big in the important games. I need to hold on to all of them if I am to do well next year.

    Young Player of the Year
    (‘Young’ considered to be 22 years old or under at the close of the season)

    1st – Kasper Dolberg
    2nd – Jairo Riedewald
    3rd – Richedley Bazoer

    Dolberg has been exceptional. Riedewald and Bazoer have been solid all season.

    Breakthrough Player of The Year

    Justin Kluivert

    He has been outstanding since he came in to the side. I’m looking forward to watching him develop next season.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-kluivert.png

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    Squad summary and planning for the transfer window.
    TheBattman likes this.

  20. June Update

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    June Update
    Terrible, Terrible News!!

    UEFA Co-efficient Drop for Holland

    Holland dropped several places in the rankings. This means the league winners will no longer automatically qualify for the UCL group stage and will need to win a play off game first. Not ideal. It will come into effect for the 18/19 season.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-co-efficient-drop.png

    Injury Update

    Mateo Casierra

    Just before Mateo Casierra arrived back, we got the news that he damaged his ankle and will be out for 6-7months. Not good news.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-casierra-inj-6-7-months.png

    Transfers IN:

    Vurnon Anita (CM) – Newcastle United - Free

    Anita returns to the club where he made 109 appearances between 2005 and 2012. He also scored 5 goals, initialled played at left back by Martin Jol, he was moved to holding midfielder by Frank De Boer and that is where he will play for me. At 28 years of age, he is in the prime of his career and will add some much needed experience to the team as well as some strength in the middle of the park.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-anita-signed.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-anita-stats.png

    Transfers OUT:

    Amin Younes (AML) – PSV – 5.25m

    It was hard to let Younes go to a rival, but at 5.25m for a guy who couldn’t get into the team, it was too good a deal to turn down. I hope he doesn’t come back to haunt us, but it gives us some money to strengthen some other areas of our team.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-younes-sold.png

    The Team – Pre season

    Goalkeepers
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-gks.png

    Tim Krul loan has finished and he has gone back to Newcastle. This leaves me with Onana and Alblas to start the season. Onana isn’t bad, but I will assess other options in the window. I will look to offload Alblas at the earliest opportunity if I do sign someone else.

    Defenders
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-defenders.png

    This is a good area for us, but it will see some changes this off season. Tete has had a transfer request rejected. Viergever has one year left on his contract so I will look to move him on rather than offer him a new deal. This means I might bring up Eiting from Jong Ajax or sign someone. Savastano or Dijks may eventually go as well.

    Central Midfielders
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-cm.png

    This is largely the same as last season with the addition of Anita. I may well get rid of Sinkgraven and sign another young talent. I still envision Bazoer and Gudelj getting the majority of the playing time.

    Attacking Midfielders
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-am.png

    This is the strongest areas of the team. The biggest concern is that Antonucci only has a year left on his contract and is refusing to sign a new one. I may need to move him on. Green hasn’t been the great success I was hoping he would be, so might get moved on for the right offer. Nunnely has been moved up from Jong Ajax and will get a chance to prove himself.

    Strikers
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-strikers.png

    As mentioned above, Casierra won’t play until the second half of the season. Dolberg will get the starts. I might bring someone else in and let Sierhius out on loan.

    Summary

    Overall, we look better than we did last year and therefore should win the league. We still don’t look to have the experience or quality to compete for long in Europe, but I will be aiming to get out of the group.

    Areas of Need:

    Goalkeeper
    Striker
    Any sales need to be covered with new signing

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    The transfer merry-go-round begins

  21. Transfer Summary

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    Transfer Summary

    With the transfer window came the usual storm of transfer offers for at least half of the first team. There were a few to go, but let’s start with the good news:

    Transfers IN:

    Jerry St. Juste – Centre Back – Heerenveen – £2.6m
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-jerry-st.-juste.png

    I was really pleased to get this guy on the cheap! He was bought to replace Viergever at centre half. He’s only 20 years old and Dutch so fits our signing policy. He’s a complete all rounder in that he is quick, strong and composed on the ball. He won’t start right away, but will hopefully provide good cover for Riedewald and Veltman.

    Steven Bergwijn – Left Winger – PSV – £6.75m
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-steven-bergwijn.png

    Our biggest money signing of the window, and the one who will possibly have the biggest one team in the short team. The fact that we took him off our greatest domestic rivals made it even better. Even though we bought him from PSV, Bergwijn was actually born and raised in Amsterdam, so technically he’s coming home! He’s got electric pace and can cross and shoot from distance.

    Maarten Paes – Goalkeeper – NEC - £1.2m
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-maarten-paes.png

    A squad depth signing. I will play him in the cup games and let him develop. He’s got a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses.

    Predrag Rajkovic – Goalkeeper – Maccabi Tel-Aviv - £6m
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-predrag-rajkovic.png

    A commanding young goalkeeper who can do everything well. He’s only 21, but will start for us immediately and is an upgrade on Onana. The only problem is, he doesn’t speak any Dutch. Still, no one really ever understands goalkeepers anyway, so it can’t be that much of a problem, right?

    Jaimy Brute – Centre Midfielder – Sparta Rotterdam - £1m
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-jaimy-brute.png

    Another squad depth signing. He’s a tough tackling midfielder who could be the eventual successor to Bazoer. I will keep him at Jong Ajax until he improves. Should hopefully prove a bargain at 1m.

    Transfers OUT:

    Julian Green

    Sadly, I decided to accept the bid from Bremen for Green. I made a profit on him. At this point, I was really keen on Bergwijn, so knew Green was getting less playing time if he stayed.

    Justin Kluivert

    I did NOT want to sell him. However, he was kicking up a fuss, handed in a transfer request and generally annoyed me, so off he went for a good fee and large part of his sell on fee will come back to me.

    Daley Sinkgraven

    After the signing of Anita, I really didn’t need him. My coaches reckon he won’t improve much, so he shouldn’t be a great loss to be honest.

    Nick Viergever

    Nick was in the last year of his contract and I decided to move him on for a fair price. He again isn’t likely to improve much, so shouldn’t be much of a loss and I would rather get rid of him and give some of our young players a chance.

    Davinson Sanchez

    Hertha Berlin came in last minute for him and I decidd to let him go. I didn’t really want to, but with Eiting needing more game time, I had to move someone on. I got quite a lot of money for him plus some add ons, so I think I’ve done well here.

    Francesco Antonucci

    Another one who I didn’t want to sell, but circumstances forced my hand. He was out of contract at the end of this season so I had to either sell him now, or let him leave for nothing. With Klaassen and Nouri already playing in his position, I let him leave for 2.2m to Chelsea. I also get 40% of the profit on his next sale, so hopefully that should bring in a lot of money at some point.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-transfer-summary.png
    Coming Up In The Next Post...

    Although this update covers all the transfers up to the end of the window, I will go back to cover all of the matches and goings on from the beginning of the window.

  22. July and August Update

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    July and August Update


    Back to the important stuff – the actual football! Here is the team I plan on using from the start of the season. Not much has changed tactically:
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-expected-line-up.png

    Board Expectations:

    Win the Eredivise
    Dutch Super Cup isn’t important
    Dutch Cup isn’t important
    Reach UCL group stage (already done that)

    So in summary, I’m going to use the Dutch Cup to blood a few more youngsters as the board don’t care how I do in it. I need to get out of the UCL group to improve our UEFA co-efficient.

    Davy Klaassen remains as captain, with Joel Veltman will also staying as Vice captain.

    Dutch Super Cup

    Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord

    Scorers: Zivkovic (2)

    First Blood to the Boys from ‘Dam!

    Feyenoord beat us in the Dutch Cup final, so we definitely owed them one. Things didn’t start well with Sergio Diaz scoring early in his debut appearance. They got the 19 year old Paraguayan on loan from Real Madrid and he played well from them. Zivkovic came off the bench to turn the game on it’s head for us. First trophy of the season in the bag already.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-super-cup-win.png

    FC Eindhoven 0-0 Ajax (Fixture 1)
    Scorers: Nouri (2), Jerry St. Juste

    New Boys Taught A Lesson

    Our first league action of the season pitted us against newly promoted FC Eindhoven who came up via the play offs. I started Nouri and he repaid my faith with 2 breath taking goals. He only scored 1 goal in the whole of last season! The wonderfully named new signing Jerry St. Juste chipped in with a third to put a shine on the score line. A good performance all round.

    Ajax 6-0 GA Eagles (Fixture 2)
    Scorers: Ziyech (2), Veltman (2), Zivkovic, Nouri

    Forget Total Football – This is Six-y Football

    I am yet to drop points against GA Eagles and I wasn’t about to start now. They were awful and were 4 down by half time. This was also Rajkovic’s first game for us, so it was nice for him to get a clean sheet, I suppose!

    Ajax 4-1 PSV (Fixture 3)
    Scorers: Bergwijn, Zivkovic (3)

    There were so many subplots to this game! Younes returns to start against us. Bergwijn, Younes replacement, starts against his former club, PSV. Suprisingly, PSV dropped Kardec and started Locadia up front, instead of out on the left where he had been playing. A statement game early in the season. PSV also signed my new favourite left back – Juankar! I’m not even joking, that is his actual name!

    Bergwijn endeared himself to his new fans by opening the scoring and celebrating wildly against his former club. PSV pegged us back before Zivkovic went nuts and rattled in a hat trick. A fantastic result to start the season.

    Ajax 0-0 FC Twente (Fixture 4)
    Scorers: None

    This was such a let done after the high of the game before. A turgid 0-0 with neither side creating many chances. Still, the result kept us top of the league.

    Heracles 1-3 Ajax (Fixture 5)
    Scorers: Klaassen, Bergwijn, Zivkovic

    We had lost our last game against Heracles, so we knew not to underestimate them. Our big players turned up when it mattered to seal us another win. Zivkovic is in a rich vein of goalscoring form and Bergwijn is already getting into the habit of chipping in with a few goals.

    Month(s) in Review

    A productive couple of months to start the season. Top of the league already and 2 wins against our biggest rivals already in the bag. The new signings seem to have settled in well which bodes well for the UCL campaign.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png

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    Dutch Cup 2nd Round Draw

    RBC v Ajax

    We seem to almost always play away from home in this competition, so that part wasn’t a surprise. RBC are a lower league semi professional side who I know literally nothing else about.

    UCL Group Stage Draw
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ucl-group.png

    This was not good. Bayern and Chelsea will be overwhelming favourites to go through and Partizan are certainly no mugs, meaning even 3rd place and dropping into the EL won’t be easy. This isn’t good especially when I need to perform well to improve our UEFA Co-efficient.

    Star Performer

    Richairo Zivkovic (CF) – He has started the season brilliantly. So well, in fact, that Dolberg (our hero from last season) can’t get a game at the moment. Keep it up, mate.

    Concerning Performers

    None… yet.

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    The league continues.

    UCL games against Bayern and Chelsea.

    Dutch Cup 2nd Round
    TheBattman likes this.

  23. September Update

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    September Update


    Now that the transfer business is out of the way, we can finally concentrate on the football again! The bad news, Anita and Rajkovic are going to miss the entire month with injuries. Not good when we have 2 UCL games this months and could do with our best goalkeeper and most experienced player.

    SC Heerenveen 1-2 Ajax (Fixture 6)
    Scorers: Bazoer, Nouri

    Nouri Saves the Day!

    I rotated the team as much as I dared with my first UCL game as manager against Partizan coming up on the Tuesday. We really struggled against a decent Heerenveen side who appear to have bought well over the summer. I started Sisto as he really needs to start showing he is worth all the money we paid for him. Bazoer got it back to 1-1 before Nouri, who was summoned from the bench, slotted home a free kick with 10 minutes to go. At least we carry some momentum into the Partizan game.


    UCL Group Stage

    Partizan Belgrade 0-1 Ajax (Fixture 1)
    Scorer: Zivkovic

    Party V Partizan!

    This really was must win, not just for UCL progress, but if we fall short in that bid, we will need to finish above Partizan to finish 3rd and get in the EL competition.

    We set up to counter attack them, but this was not as boring a game as it looks. Lots of chances for both teams – our 2 centre halves were our best players. Luckily, Zivkovic’s pace took him away from the Partizan defenders to score on the break. Brilliant.

    Ajax 2-0 NEC Nijmegen (Fixture 7)
    Scorers: O.G., Sisto

    Nij and Easy!

    We had a relatively easy win here. Sierhuis started up front and forced the own goal off the Nijmegen defender. Sisto scored a free kick to seal the deal. We score an unusually large amount of goals from free kicks and dead ball situations in general. I would love to sign a player who has the free kick ability of Juninho, the Brazilian who used to bang them in on a daily basis for Lyon, to do that job for us. But for now we seem to be taking turns at scoring them.

    Dutch Cup – Round 2

    RBC 0-4 Ajax
    Scorers: Sisto (2), Nouri, Sierhuis

    RBC were hopeless and didn’t manage a shot on our goal in 90 minutes! Sisto continued a goal scoring run, as did Nouri. It was a much changed squad today, but Nouri is definitely sticking his hand up to start more games for us.

    Ajax 4-0 RKC Waalwijk (Fixture 8)
    Scorers: Sierhuis (2), Sisto (2)

    Woeful Waalwijk!

    Recently promoted RKC were our next victims. They were clearly overwhelmed by they visit to the bright lights of the Amsterdam Arena and paid the price. Sisto and Sierhuis (SAS, anyone?) with the goals today. Really, it could have been anyone. My Nan could have bagged a hatful against this lot. And she’s dead.

    UCL Group Stage

    Ajax 0-2 Bayern (Fixture 2)

    Mullered by Muller!

    We were very close to a decent result here. We started well and looked dangerous on the break. I kept in Sierhuis and Sisto after their good recent form, but they couldn’t tuck away their chances. Then we decided we’d smash that great big self destruct button like we were attempting to kill a dead spider on it. Tete got sent off for a second bookable offence just before half time. Then we gave away a penalty. Then we gited them a second. Game over. I was hoping to get something out of this game, so it was a bit of a blow. Still, Chelsea beat Partizan, so it’s not the end of the world.

    Excelsior 1-0 Ajax (Fixture 9)

    No Ex-cuse!

    Anita was back from injury so came off the bench for us today. Rajkovic was also on the bench, but wasn’t risked. We majorly took our eye off the ball in the league here. Excelsior are not great but we made them look like the gods of football here. I tried to move things around with the subs, but nothing really seemed to have any effect. 2 defeats on the bounce. Woeful.

    Month in Review

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-screen-shot-2017-02-15-14.04.25.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-screen-shot-2017-02-15-14.04.42.png

    A rollercoaster month for the team. 5 wins and 2 defeats. Defensively, we seem much better than last season, despite not having changed the team much in this area. Sisto and Siehuis have been playing well for us. We need to get our act together in the UCL now. Also, 3 points clear at the top of the league is always nice and still motoring along in the Dutch Cup. Even though the board don't care about it - I do.

    Dutch Cup 3rd Round Draw

    Roda v Ajax

    Happy with this, even though it is away from home. Easy win – nailed on.

    Star Performer

    Pione Sisto (AMR) – Has really got it together this last month. Finally looking worth the money I paid for him.

    Concerning Performers

    Kenny Tete (RB) – infuriated me by getting sent off v Bayern. Not happy. I blame him entirely. Muppet!

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    UCL games (Chelsea twice!)

    The league continues.

  24. October Update

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    October Update


    A big month ahead. Make our break in the UCL and a chance to extend our lead in the Eredivisie. It didn’t start well. Captain Davy Klaassen is out for 3-4 weeks. So he will definitely miss the Chelsea game. The only comfort is that Nouri has been playing really well in his place.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-klaassen-injury.png

    Groningen 2-4 Ajax (Fixture 10)
    Scorers: Dolberg (2), Zivkovic, Sisto

    Dolberg Does It When It Matters!

    We did our best to throw this one away. We steamed into a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes through Zivkovic and Dolberg. But somehow, we managed to let Groningen back into it and they scored 2 quick goals to get back to 2-2 before half time. We’d defended so well last month, so this was a nasty surprise. Fortunately, a few choice words at half time was enough to wake us up and we quickly finished the job.

    UCL Group Stage

    Ajax 1-2 Chelsea (Fixture 3)
    Scorer: Sisto

    Chelsea Too Classy!

    The scoreline suggests it was close, but it really wasn’t. We were 2-0 down early on and allowed Chelsea to completely control the game. We applied some pressure late on and got our goal, but it was never going to be enough to win the game. Hard lines. We now need to somehow beat Partizan, Bayern and / or Chelsea away to progress from the group.

    Ajax 6-0 PEC Zwolle (Fixture 11)
    Scorers: Zivkovic (3), Dolberg (2), Nunnely

    You’ve been Ziv’d!

    I took the opportunity to change things up against a PEC side who have been underperforming massively compared to their surprisingly good season last year. Eiting started at centre half and Nunnely on the wing. Zivkovic bagged a hat trick which was great. Zeefuik grabbed 2 assists which suggests he’s getting more comfortable at playing right back. Che Nunnely even managed his first goal for the club. Another academy graduate in the headlines.

    Willem II 2-2 Ajax (Fixture 12)
    Scorers: Dolberg, Van Bergwijn

    2 points dropped!

    A dire display against the team bottom of the league and 5 points adrift of safety. It was especially annoying because we were 2-1 up with only 10 minutes left. Still, at least we didn’t lose it and Van Bergwijn finally chipped in with one. We really didn’t play anything like we are capable of.

    UCL Group Stage

    Chelsea 4-1 Ajax (Fixture 4)

    Sub Par at Stamford Bridge!

    Awful, awful performance. We were 4-0 down until Nouri scored a very late consolation. Sisto went missing today. He won’t be starting the next UCL game as I can’t trust him. He was a liability. Bayern Beat Partizan. This means a point from our next 2 games should get us EL football and we definitely need 2 wins to have any chance of getting UCL qualification.
    Month in Review

    A very poor month for us. We only managed 2 wins out 5. The UCL campaign is turning into a disaster. We need to make sure we get the EL spot by getting a good result against Partizan at home. I have decided we will go for it against Bayern away. I am happy to take a hiding if it means we had a good go at them. On the plus side, we managed to extend our lead at the top of the league by a few points.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-screen-shot-2017-02-23-19.25.29.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-screen-shot-2017-02-23-19.26.17.png

    Dutch Cup 4rd Round Draw (Last 16)


    Roda or Ajax v FC Utrecht

    Although we still need to win our 3rd round game and Utrecht are a very good team, I’m happy to get a home draw. I will still play a reserve team for this game.

    Star Performer

    Abdelhak Nouri (AMC) – Performed consistently well in the absence of Davy Klaassen. Great to know he can be relied upon when needed.

    Concerning Performers

    Pione Sisto (AMR) – First to worst this month. Really poor v Chelsea. Needs to improve his consistency if he wants more game time.

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    FC Utrecht in the league.

    The conclusion of the UCL Group Stage.
    eagleheartf1chl likes this.

  25. Nice story so far, will follow you.
    StanLindsay1 likes this.

  26. Good read mate, much like yourself I enjoy the games more when building homegrown teams. Keep it up mate
    StanLindsay1 likes this.

  27. Thanks for the feedback guys! eagleheartf1chl , I had a look at your youtube channel, keep up the good work with Barca. Jasper Cillessen is a former Ajax player, so I hope he gets some game time for you!
    eagleheartf1chl likes this.

  28. November Update

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    November Update


    We are looking to improve drastically this month. The big aim is to guarantee at least EL qualification. If we could maintain our lead at the top of the Eredivisie that would be great and the reserves have a chance to impress in the Dutch Cup.

    Ajax 2-1 FC Utrecht (Fixture 13)
    Scorers: Zivkovic (2)

    Turning Things Around!

    This looked to be a tricky tie against 4th placed Utrecht and the legend that is Fred Friday! Fortunately, he didn’t start for them – a terrible move on their part. I had no choice but to go full strength against Utrecht to try and get some momentum back into our season.

    Bergwijn went off injured after half an hour. He will be out for 2-3 months with a broken ankle. On came Dolberg – time to shine, boy! He duly obliged putting a great ball in for Zivkovic to score within 5 minutes. Ziv added another one, before Gudelj gave away a penalty which they converted. The win puts us 7 points clear at the top.

    I have the option of Dolberg or Sisto to replace Berwijn. Based on his performance, Dolberg will get the first crack at it. We need someone to consistently score goals other than Ziv, so Dolberg might just be the man.

    International Break

    We had some stand out performers in the traditional November international slot.

    Che Nunnely – scored 2 goals for the Dutch U-19’s v Slovakia

    Mateo Casierra – scored twice for Columbia’s U-20’s v Peru. He’s now scored 10 goals for the U-20’s in just 18 games – that’s a decent record!

    Richairo Zivkovic – Came on as a sub for his first senior international cap for the Netherlands. He played about 30 mins. So proud…
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-zivkovic-first-cap.png

    Cambuur 1-2 Ajax (Fixture 14)
    Scorers: Sisto, Nunnely

    Con-Sis-tency is key!

    We rolled out the reserves again for this game with the crucial Partizan game in mind. Things didn’t start well, as we went 1-0 down inside 5 minutes. Newly promoted Cambuur were much better than I expected. Sisto, who had a great game on the left of midfield, cut in and shot to level it up. Then Nunnely nicked a winner mid way through the second half. I can see Cambuur causing a lot of teams problems this season, so this could be a good win.

    UCL Group Stage

    Ajax 3-0 Partizan Belgrade (Fixture 5)
    Scorer: Ziyech, Dolberg, Veltman

    Partizan Aj-axed!

    We went into this game knowing that a point would be enough to ensure we finished 3rd and qualified for the EL, but I was going to go for the win. We aren’t used to playing defensively, so we weren’t about to start now. Ziyech floated home a beautiful free kick early on to get the party started. Dolberg, who was excellent all game, finished off a wonderful flowing move for 2-0. The centre halves teamed up to assist each other for the third.

    Bayern beat Chelsea in the other game, so we are going to finish third regardless of what happens in our last group game. So definitely no UCL after Christmas.

    Ajax 2-1 Vitesse (Fixture 15)
    Scorers: Zivkovic (2)

    Victory V Vitesse!

    Vitesse could go 2nd with a win here, so had plenty of motivation. I started Anita to give us a bit more steal in the middle of the park. Vitesse scored a wonderful goal early on – I actually applauded Beta da Silva. It could have been much worse had Vitesse converted a penalty late in the first half. Luckily Rajkovic saved it. We came back in the second half with Zivkovic grabbing 2 goals (again).

    Dutch Cup – Round 3

    Roda JC 1-2 Ajax
    Scorers: Sierhuis, Nunnely

    The reserves got another win in the cup. We went 1-0 when Sierhuis scored his 5th of the season. Then, Simon Church (yes that Simon Church) scored for Vitesse. Nunnely then scored a winner (3rd of season). Home to Utrecht in the next round.

    Month in Review

    A perfect month with 5 wins out 5. I was delighted to get EL football, if a little disappointed we didn’t get closer to UCL qualification. Still, it’s all good experience for next season. We now have an 8 point lead at the top of the Eredivisie over Heracles who are somehow 2nd! Feyenoord and PSV are 3rd and 4th.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-overview.png

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-results.png

    Dutch Cup 4rd Round Draw (Last 16)


    Ajax v FC Utrecht

    Star Performer

    Kasper Dolberg (AML) – He has been great since coming in for Bergwijn. He could score more goals, but does get loads of assists.

    Concerning Performers

    Nemanja Gudelj (CM) – He’s not been performing well for about 6 weeks now. Liable to get sold if he can’t get his act together. Anita has moved above him in the pecking order.

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    The league draws to a close before the winter break..

    Our final UCL game.

  29. Thank you so much
    I will give him some gametime but probably just in the cups because we are not doing good in the La Liga.

  30. December Update

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    December Update


    We need to keep this good form up. I would like to get a positive result in the UCL against Bayern. Hopefully we will get a decent EL draw and go far enough in it to improve the Dutch UEFA co-efficient.

    Feyenoord 0-0 Ajax (Fixture 16)
    Scorers: None

    Feyenoord Not Firing (and neither are Ajax)!

    Feyenoord threw up a few surprises with their team selection – 37 year old Dirk Kuyt starting the game at right back. The game also saw the return of former Ajax academy graduate Sheraldo Becker to the club. The game itself was quite dull. Becker actually managed to score against us, but it was disallowed for a foul in the build up. I did try the change things by bringing on Nunnely, but nothing worked. Still, a draw away from home against our major title rivals can’t be a bad result.

    UCL Group Stage

    Bayern 3-0 Ajax (Fixture 6)
    Scorer: None

    Bayern Simply Better!

    I put out all of our promising players to give them some top level experience. Bayern were far too good and were 3 up by half time. We steadied the ship in the second half, but never really threatened them. EL football for us after Christmas.

    On the upside, our U-19’s got through the group and will be playing UCL U-19 knock out football after Chistmas.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-u-19-ucl-table.png

    Ajax 5-1 FC Eindhoven (Fixture 17)
    Scorers: Zivkovic (2), Klaassen, Ziyech, Dolberg

    Hi-Five For Eindhoven!

    Eindhoven had lost there last 6 games, so I wasn’t expecting much from them. That turned out to be a good assumption. We shared the goals around, with Zivkovic getting 2. He seems to have a habit of scoring in bunches. We will have much tougher fixtures than this ahead.

    EL Draw

    There are some great teams left in the competition – all of whom I’d like to avoid. Arsenal, Lazio, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco to name but a few.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-el-draw.png

    Borussia Monchengladbach v Ajax

    Given all of the other possibilities, this wasn’t too bad of a draw. There are so many sub plots in this game again. BMG have spent heavily in the summer, buying Saido Berahino and Holger Badstuder. Despite this, they are currently 15th out of 18 teams in the Bundesliga. This game will also see the return of Anwar El Ghazi!!! We sold him for 15 million to them in the summer and they paid him 65k a week, which we simply can’t afford! Hopefully he won’t come back to haunt us.
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-el-ghazi.png

    Dutch Cup – Round 4

    Ajax 3-2 FC Utrecht
    Scorers: Sisto, Sierhuis (2)

    The Beautiful Game!

    What a game this was! 2-0 down inside 20 minutes and looking shambolic! We continued to be under pressure and could easily have conceded more. Fortunately, Sisto scored in first half injury time from a Nunnely cross to give us some home. It didn’t save the players from getting ripped a new one at half time. In the second half, Nunnely could easily have been mistaken for Cristiano Ronaldo on steroids! He terrorized their poor left back and by the end of the game had provided all 3 assists for our goals. Sierhuis got the 2 goals to win the game for us.

    We have to count ourselves lucky after the poor start. PSV got put out as well. Anita got injured (again) for 6-7 weeks. Deyo Zeefuik praised my team talk in the media after the game saying it was the reason we managed to turn the game around. The man clearly wants more starts!

    GA Eagles 0-3 Ajax (Fixture 18)
    Scorers: Zivkovic (2), Dolberg

    Go Behind Eagles!

    Another game, another couple of goals for Zivkovic. On this form he’s definitely getting more call ups for Holland. Eagles have been a boggy team for us before, so I was pleased to get out of this game without too much trouble.

    Ajax 5-0 ADO Den Haag (Fixture 19)
    Scorers: Nunnely (3), Zivkovic, own goal.

    Destruction Derby!

    Nunnely continued his fine form with this performance against a very poor Den Haag side. This was his first hat trick at senior level and what better place to do it than in the local derby. This was a fantastic way to end off 2017 and go into the Christmas break.

    Month in Review

    I was disappointed by the heavy loss to Bayern, but the rest of the month was a success. We have a big lead in the Eredivisie already and seem to be sailing through the Dutch Cup with our B team. The EL is going to take on massive significance in the 2nd half of the season and I plan on winning it.

    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-dec-results.png
    Ajax - Let's Play - Back Where We Belong-ed-table.png

    Dutch Cup ¼ final Draw

    Ajax v Groningen

    The U-19's also got Dynamo Kyiv in the last 16 of the UCL.

    Star Performer

    Che Nunnely (AMR) – 3 goals and 3 assists this month is a fantastic return. He’s really stepped up and put pressure on Ziyech and Sisto for the starting job.

    Concerning Performers

    Kenny Tete (RB) – He’s not been as good lately, putting in sub par performances. Zeefuik is putting him under real pressure for his starting job.

    Coming Up In The Next Post…

    League fixtures.

    Transfer window in’s and out’s.

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