Following the elimination from the Europa League last week, we’re running out of words to describe just how horrific this summer has been so far. In our current form, there’s no shame in losing to Nice on away goals over two games, and a first round Eredivisie defeat to Heracles could be interpreted as an incident. But not getting past Rosenborg and missing out on European football for the first time since 1990? Disgraceful.
Oh well, let’s look at it from the bright side, *sigh*. We can now fully focus on the domestic league to make sure we grab hold of our 34th Eredivisie title in honor of Abdelhak Nouri. And that journey begins with an away game against VVV Venlo on Sunday. What to expect? Passionate Ajax followers share their predictions below.
Arco Gnocchi – Ajax follower
While the house is on fire, there’s simply just no way the kids are going to play nicely in the garden, so to speak. All this upheaval, the crushing disappointment, mental blow after mental blow… and then, down the stairs of De Koel you go. To be subjected to yet another humiliation, this time at the eager hands of in-form VVV. Cheers, another big gulp from the poisoned cup. Without enormous changes within all the layers of the club nothing will change any time soon. VVV – Ajax 2-1.
Sjimmie – Ajax follower
There’s so many things going wrong that I don’t even know where to start. I’ll stick to the stuff happening on the pitch. What is Ajax going to do? Start with Dolberg? Huntelaar? Both? And who will play on the wings? Will De Jong make it into the starting line-up? Honestly – I have no idea.
Keizer has been making a lot of tactical mistakes. I was a big fan of his at Jong Ajax, but at the moment I am not sure what to think of him. Is it really his own vision he’s employing, or is he just another puppet on a string?
I can’t see Ajax winning. VVV Venlo are off to a hot start and I see them taking a point at the very least. And what will happen then? I don’t know. So many questions, so few answers.
Floris Roos – AjaxLife blogger
VVV away. In Ajax’ current situation quite certainly not a walk in the park. The turmoil seemingly can’t get any bigger than it is right now in Amsterdam, but losing points in Venlo would hurt Ajax even further in the title race. The elimination against Rosenborg, especially the way it happened, hurt. A lot.
But it didn’t hurt half as much as the stab in the back the fans got from Van der Sar afterwards. In a horrible, arrogant manner he gave away an interview to a rightly critical Fox reporter with a misplaced grin on his face. The former goalkeeper looked like he came from another dimension, addressing the press in a way that’s unfit for the club. It was sickening. I heard “Sar” spout all sorts of nonsense about a chosen route and last year’s success. The name of Peter Bosz wasn’t mentioned once. Like the manager had never even been there.
— Kamp Cruijff (@AjaxTalkz) 25 augustus 2017
Inside the board room, Ajax’ leading figures can’t possibly express criticism to one another, because in doing so they also expose their own shortcomings in the whole organization. All the top men are looking out for one another, functioning in a system that’s simply not fit to be upheld.
Of course, I want Ajax to grab a result in Venlo. But one might wonder if the sporting sacrifice is worth it, for another loss could possibly be the only thing that’ll turn the tide in the board room. And that’s where we need a good flush.
Yaya – Ajax follower
What a horrible start of the season for Ajax. Rosenborg knocked the Amsterdammers out of the Europa League by winning 0-1 and 3-2. There’s a lot of pressure on both the team and the manager right now. They must win against newly promoted side VVV Venlo, who have won both their Eredivisie games this season. Wins over strong opponents. And while they didn’t dominate play, they finished the chances they had. Something Ajax are clearly lacking this season.
— Ruud Stikkelbroeck (@Staekelboks) 20 augustus 2017
The players to watch at VVV are wingers Tissoudali and Van Crooij, with the latter scoring a stunning goal last week. It’ll also be interesting to keep an eye on Mink Peeters, a former Ajax youth player who was sent out on loan by Real Madrid.
I think Ajax will dominate the match and create good chances as usual, but hopefully they’ll also finish them. If not, VVV will have a very good chance in getting some points from this game, considering how weak Ajax is defensively with quick counters and corners.
For my line-up I’d go with Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Viergever, Dijks; De Jong, van de Beek, Ziyech; Cerny, Dolberg and Younes. Even though new players Wober and Orejuela are available, I expect them to start on the bench.