Ajax of old? Or not yet?
The dutch giants moved across the Markemeer lake to face SC Cambuur away and all you could hear was “Ajax Amsterdam” chants chiming between the stands.
Positivity and freedom was on full display. When you give this team license to go on the front foot, this can be the Ajax of old.
After his first game in charge and winning 4-1 against Excelsior, John Heitinga played the same team and opted to keep Tadic through the middle in attack.
Ajax were keeping the ball, taking players on and showed a lot more player chemistry than they did in the Shreuder era.
This couldn’t have been summed up better than the first goal by Tadic. Triangles in the opposition box. Players bombing forward. This all resulted in a 16th minute Tadic goal which was on the end of a brilliantly worked team effort.
Kudos to Kudus
Mohammed Kudus made his presence known with a menacing run into the box, beating his marker and lopping a ball to Steven Bergwijn’s head to register the second goal of the game.
What is Mohammed Kudus' best position?
— #TV3GH (@tv3_ghana) January 30, 2023
Kudus had a fantastic night scoring one assist while ranked number one in the game for most dribbles, tackles, most fouled and most duels won. Simply unstoppable.
He has now scored two goals and one assist in his last three games.
Van de Water missed an easy chance to make it 2-1 to get Cambuur back in the game. He was one on one with the keeper but decided to place the ball into the stands.
In the 54th minute, Ajax played out a tight press beautifully to conjure a counter attack and great attempt on goal for Bergwijn.
Just after a Cambuur substitution, Bergwijn dribbled into the edge of the 30 yard box and produced a pin-point accurate shot in the bottom left corner to give Ajax a comfortable lead.
Late substitute Brian Bobbey added two goals to his season tally of 10 from 25 games this season. Pin-ball posession inside Cambuur’s box added constant pressure and produced Bobbey’s first goal of the game.
Bobbey added the second when a long range cross found him running in behind followed by a cool side-foot finish to trickle past Ruiters’ hands.
Heitinga’s work so far…
Ajax are now third in the table and now have a sniff at winning the title for the first time this season, being only three points off top-placed Feyenoord who have a points tally of 43.
Since Schreuder was sacked as manager, Ajax has now scored nine goals as a team and look a diferent animal on the pitch.
One could argue the proverbial pinch of salt with the result due to Cambuur being bottom of the table but there is day and night in Ajax’s style of play.
There is a sense of freedom being resonated with the fans as if to say the players are now ‘unleashed’ but weren’t during Schreuder ball.
It’s only Heitinga’s second game in charge. It would be futile to rush to conclusions about his progress so far.
But one must not overlook the fact there is less pressure on him compared to his predecessor. They have a blank slate to repair their reputation amongst the fans.
FT: Cambuur 0-5 Ajax.
Perfect performance and result! pic.twitter.com/WlalCcSo3e
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) February 5, 2023