Despite being only four games in to the English Premier League, it’s not too early to get an idea of who the winners and losers are looking likely to be out of the ex-Ajax players and coaches plying their trade in ‘the world’s greatest league’.
It’s been a good week for:
Manchester United have arguably the strongest group of players in the league and it is testament to Blind’s qualities that he has started in the first eleven, more often than not this season. He was impressive on Tuesday as United easily disposed of Swiss champions FC Basel, creating a goal and contributing to a solid team performance.
LUKAKU’S first CHAMPIONS LEAGUE game and First GOAL ????????
— Nataly Antar (@Nataly_Antar) 12 september 2017
He’s growing in stature and despite some critics who say he is a rung below world class and ‘weak’, his exceptional vision, passing and versatility arguably make him one of the most consistent ex-Ajax players currently playing in England.
Described by Peter Bosz pre-match as a ‘monster’, Sanchez was impressive in Tottenham’s win against Dortmund and is already looking likely to be a stand-out performer. Vertonghen and Alderweireld stand in this way in central defence; but amongst Spurs fans there is a desire to push Dier further up the team – displacing Wanyama – to accommodate the Colombian.
It’s been hard to watch Sanchez due to the fact I believe he left Amsterdam far too early and shouldn’t have been allowed to go. But time’s a good healer and it’s once again a source of pride that such a wonderful footballer came to the Premier League via the Dutch capital. He’s so good I believe given games, he’ll hit the ground running for Spurs.
It’s been a bad week for:
The Crystal Palace board
Nothing summed up Frank De Boer’s disgraceful sacking better than the pundit who said: ‘you get an Ajax bred coach, give him a Sam Allardyce team and then sack him after four games.’
What’s been interesting here in the UK, has been the wealth of support for De Boer and derision at his sacking. Crystal Palace deserved to beat Burnley and it was only individual errors – out of De Boer’s control – that made sure they didn’t.
Yes, he started very poorly but surely the acid test was whether the players were fighting for him or not? They fought hard against Burnley, which makes De Boer’s dismissal even harder to take. He came to change a culture and whether in business or football, this can take years. Steve Parish – Palace chairman – interviewed De Boer at length and knew what he was getting.
Frank de Boer could not resist showing off in front of the Crystal Palace players, according to @TheSun. That Ajax skill. ?
There have been rumours that De Boer ‘humiliated’ some key members of the team and they didn’t get along with him. He should have been given the backing to sell these players and build a team in his own vision. But it seems hysteria and the whining of a few overpaid footballers were enough to convince the Palace hierarchy otherwise.
Long seen as a stable Premier League manager, Ronald Koeman is finding himself up against it for the first time in his career in England.
Everton are in the bottom four in the premier league and lost their first game in the Europa League to Atalanta. The former Ajax coach is likely to have the immediate backing of the board but their patience may wear thin if bad results continue past December; as he has shelled out around £130m on new players such as Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford & Gylfi Sigurdsson.
He can no longer complain that the squad isn’t ‘his’ and he will be expected to build on last season’s strong finish. You get the sense he wasn’t expecting such a limp start to the season and his passive aggressive wink to a reporter on the weekend, suggests he may be a little bit rattled.
In and out of the team, he’s yet to make any kind of impact in an Everton shirt. Has he got the ability to shine in the Premier League? I think yes, due to his box to box dynamism and work ethic. But he may need a season to acclimatise.