I am genuinely excited, for the first time this season. Missing out on European football has a lot of disadvantages, but the biggest of all might be missing the pre-match thrill of coming up against a massive opponent. I couldn’t sleep the day before Lyon in the Europa League last year, because I was too excited. We don’t get that anymore this year. Unless it’s for De Klassieker, which happens to be played next Sunday. And I am excited and nervous. It’s great.
Feyenoord have had a kind of similar start of the season so far, only combined with Champions League-football and a lot less criticism for some reason. They are plagued by injuries and Michiel Kramer, and therefore it should be possible to hurt them where it counts in Rotterdam. However, playing in De Kuip is always difficult and I am not quite convinced by Ajax’ play neither.
What I do think I know, however, is that there should be no place in our starting eleven for both Amin Younes and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The case for Younes should be pretty clear-cut by now. He has been nothing but disappointing so far this season and wasn’t exactly amazing last year either. Justin Kluivert has once again reiterated he prefers to play on the left side of an attack, while David Neres is showing we need to trust him to deliver from the right.
I also believe Kasper Dolberg should start ahead of Huntelaar against Feyenoord. Dolberg has had a very disappointing start to the season as well, not being able to score and all that, but I have not been that impressed with Huntelaar either. He fits into our style of play very well, but has missed more clear-cut chances than in his entire first period at Ajax combined. Besides, his lack of pace has been shocking, and that’s something in need of exposing.
Feyenoord will likely start with a back four of Van Beek, Nieuwkoop, St. Juste and Haps. Three of those are pretty damn slow and should be exposed for the space behind them, especially since Feyenoord will probably play a high-pressing style fueled by their own fans. It’s no surprise Shakhtar got their equalizer against the team from Rotterdam from a run from behind by Bernard.
That’s why we should finally try to play with Kluivert, Neres and Dolberg.