Chaos rules in Amsterdam. On the pitch, the bench and in the boardroom. We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in only a matter of months. Meanwhile, Marcel Keizer is teetering on the edge of dismissal. Could the game against Heerenveen be the start of better times, or will the Superfriezen push the troubled Ajax manager over the edge? Here are the predictions for Heerenveen – Ajax.
Arco Gnocchi [@arcinho]
Will Heerenveen prove to be Keizer’s Waterloo? We’re in for a good hiding at the hands of the Frysians. No idea if Keizer has already lost the dressing room, or maybe the players too understand it’s not really the inexperienced coach who is at fault. What they definitely don’t understand is how to play and win at the moment, sadly. I predict a 3-1 loss, with the title permanently out of sight for this season.
Where do I start? Following a good first half against ADO in The Hague, it all seemed to go well again for the Amsterdammers, but in the end Ajax dropped points. Again. The game against Vitesse should have been a simple three points, but everything the players did was horrible. Passing, creating chances, defending. De Ligt got hit with a serious injury, too. The pressure on Keizer is enormous.
Heerenveen are in great form, winning their matches with good football. It’ll prove to be a very difficult match for Ajax, away from home. I expect lots of dangerous passes to come from Odegaard and Schaars. Hopefully Keizer won’t play De Ligt, because of his injury.
And hopefully we’ll get to see a strong Ajax side again. Playing great attacking football and winning the match. Otherwise it will be a very difficult week for Keizer, again.
Priya Ramesh [@Priya8Ramesh]
The word ‘crisis’ comes from Greek, krisis, which originally seemed to mean a ‘turning point’, more than the chaos and unrest the word has now come to mean in many cases. It’s hard to dissect the situation at Ajax because there have been just so many factors – is it that Keizer is bad because we measure him against Bosz, especially the Ajax from the 2nd half of the season? Did the loss of Klaassen open a leadership void in the squad that Veltman has not been able to adequately fill? It’s multifactorial.
It’s worth noting that although any points dropped is significant, that the season is still relatively nascent and if/when Ajax click into gear, this could still very well be a good season, especially since both PSV and Feyenoord clearly have their own weaknesses to cope with as well. The issue of course is that the ‘if/when’ never seems to materialise.
Heerenveen have been very good this season – the only remaining unbeaten side. Their midfield of Schaars-Kobayashi-Thorsby has a good balance about it and Thorsby has provided a lot of energy behind the front three. Both Kik Pierie and Denzel Dumfries have earned plaudits and rightfully so, for being solid defensively and good with the ball.
Once again, there is that dilemma between Huntelaar and Dolberg up front and I can’t help but feel Keizer is really prioritising a potential short term benefit in sticking with KJH, as much as I am personally a huge fan of him. A potential positive from this game is that it might be the last with Dijks at leftback, with Sinkgraven poised to return to action for the first team, after playing with Jong Ajax yesterday. I think it will be a 2-2 draw.
As always, thoughts and prayers with Appie Nouri and family.