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Can Ajax repeat the magic of 1995?

ANALYST
Feature
285   //    21 Apr 2019, 01:56 IST

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag

Since the last couple of months Erik ten Hag’s side has been the topic of discussion whenever his team has played a Champions League game. And why not? Ajax Amsterdam are enjoying a fairytale run in the ongoing Champions League season.

After toppling defending champions Real Madrid in the pre-quarters of the Champions League in February, the Dutch side went on to upset the Turin giants Juventus in the Quarterfinals.

Ajax FC have some very young and promising talents in their ranks who have got the ability to surprise any big team on their day. Ajax FC won their last Champions League title in 1995 when the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert dominated European football.

These players were considered role models for the next generation and became household names for the next few years after their heroics. The current crop of Ajax players is showing glimpses of their predecessors and they have got the potential to establish themselves as future stars of Dutch football.

When we analyze the performances of this team in the entire season, we can see that the players have looked competitive in every department. Ajax FC don't have any star players in their squad but collectively these players have put up some wonderful performances which has been the hallmark of this young side.

The forward line has looked to play more freely and has dominated the opposition’s defense with their counter-attacking style of play and aggression. Their midfield has looked sharp at the flanks and has kept the opposition thinking with its possession-based football.

This has also helped the strikers to move more freely in the opposition’s territory. The defense has looked sturdy with the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, the experienced Daley Blind, Joel Veltman and Lisandro Magallan showing tremendous solidity to cut out any attack.

The defense will be under the radar when they play against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League semifinals as the Spurs have shown great efficiency while operating at the flanks and have looked penetrative during set pieces.

Led by an inspirational and young skipper in the form of Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax FC have looked to play as per their strengths and the credit should go to Erik ten Hag for showing faith in his player’s abilities.

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Players like Dusan Tadic, Frenkie De Jong, David Neres and Hakim Ziyech have stolen the show by playing an attacking brand of football. Erik ten Hag and the team management have implemented their plans well and have made some crucial changes in the squad depending on the opponents which have helped the side.

One of the reasons for the team’s recent success is that the players have performed with a positive mindset whenever they have stepped on the field and have looked to play with ruthless intent.

The inclusion of young players like David Neres, Perr Schuurs and Kasper Dolberg has also infused a lot of intensity into the team. Ajax FC have surely got loads of talent in their dugout and if the team manages to pull off a surprise and do the unthinkable, then this group of players could possibly dominate European football for many more years.

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