In this post, we’re going to the end of the season. It just got real.
I realised, while I was doing my monthly write ups, that I was overdoing things. While there are definitely some things that need in depth posts – tactics, analysis, transfer windows and the like – every match in a season of football does not. It would be better, easier, for everyone if I kept things in perspective – both me and those poor souls that read my posts.
So, I’m debuting a new style of updates. While it was nice to put up a new post every day, it’s just… not really necessary. So I’m not going to you. I’m going to do more with less instead. Without further ado:
We offered less than nothing other than repeated fouling in this game, and were lucky that no-one saw red. Elsewhere, in a weird turn of events, PSV were our best allies – their draw with Feyenoord saw us not lose too much ground in the title race.
After reading this article I thought ‘hey, why the hell not’. Turns out it worked really, really, surprisingly well and the lads come away with a win that we’re both happy with and also absolutely stunned by.
Also Nouri came on as a sub and did that with his first touch. Can’t really complain.
We really, really rode our luck in this game. Our two goals were our only two shots on target and the first one came from a mistake at the back. The missed penalty was just salt in the wound for a Groningen side that deserved a lot more out of this game.
Like the Groningen game but in reverse, almost. We were all over them, only to see them score from two corners and us lucky to get an equaliser after poor finishing throughout. This is, most definitely, two points thrown away in a title race that is getting tighter and tighter by the game.
Nick Viergever missed this game – and will miss the next five months – with a damaged spine. All in all, despite the scoreline, this was a boring but comfortable game. We did our jobs, nothing more, nothing less.
That was nice, though, to be fair. Delightful ball from Noa Lang on his senior debut.
We knew the dream had to come to an end at some point, and if we had to go out to anyone then there are worse teams to go out to than Barca. But we were in this game all the way through, and could have picked up a couple of goals if not for stalwart defending from Mascherano and co.
Guilherme Arana and Kenny Tete missed this one through suspension, but that didn’t hold us back as we thrashed Sparta Rotterdam. After an early wobble leading to, and following, their equaliser we totally dominated them in all aspects, getting back in front quickly and then shutting them down with ease. Bruno Paulista also grabbed his first goal for the club after signing in January.
Following his first goal for the club, Paulista was imperious in this game. He completely dominated the midfield and picked up two assists in what was actually a hard fought, end to end affair. Dolberg picked up a knock in this one, and will be out for nine to twelve days.
A comfortable win in a game we were the much better side. With our old system, we had issues breaking down Utrecht’s deep five man defence and their congested midfield. With our new system? Not even slightly. We walked this game for the last hour.
We’re really starting to pick up momentum as we head towards the business end of the season, now. With Feyenoord dropping points in the early kick off, it was important for us to capitalise, and this comfortable dismantling of an Excelsior team that was poor on the day puts us level on points with them – but with a better goal difference with three games to go… including the return game against Feyenoord in Amsterdam.
Dolberg returns to fitness and the starting eleven for the three most important games of our season, and plays a leading role in the defeat of a Heerenveen side that have been surprisingly poor all year. Klaassen and Dolberg’s season-long rapport continued and played at least a minor role in all the goals we scored – including Noa Lang’s first senior goal for Ajax. Elsewhere, Feyenoord drew. We’re now two points clear at the top with six to play for… and we play Feyenoord next.
And there we have it. We won the Eredivisie in our first season with a storming performance. Feyenoord came back into it for the last twenty-five minutes of the first half, but Ziyech’s header at the back post in the 49th minute followed quickly by Dolberg’s second of the game a minute later. They tried to mount a fight back, but barely made it out of the middle third. Sweet victory after a roller coaster of a season.
With the title already won, I let emotion pick the team for me. Both Thulani Serero and Lasse Schöne are leaving the club in the summer, making this derby game their last for the club. Imagine my delight as they both scored in their final game in the red and white of Amsterdam’s favourite sons, with Dolberg also claiming the title of the league’s top scorer after a shaky – and wasteful – start to the season.
It would only have been better if it had been in Amsterdam.
Tomorrow, we review the season and see where we need to improve to start to build ourselves into a real force.