Ajax, the boss in the Classic.By: Mohamed | January 20th, 2011
In the end it was comfortable. In the end Frank de Boer’s record as manager reads: played four, won four, scored 6 and conceded none in 360 minutes of football.
As impressive as these stats are, what really should encourage De Boer and the fans is the performance on the pitch. When the former defender took over in December he outlined the way he wants the team to play – the Ajax way – this includes a true 433 formation with wingers and a playmaker in tandem with a number 9.
Daley Blind made a rare start for the first team; Lorenzo Ebecilo retained his place in the side as De Boer continued with the players in his last two games.
But De Boer made a slight change, he’s so far using a false no9 in the shape of Siem de Jong, his movement and all round selfless play has been crucial to the clubs recent form. He couldn’t have demonstrated as more eloquently against Feyenoord, a highlight in the second half, his combination with De Zeeuw in the box which should have been buried one of many Ajax chances.
Before they took the lead, Eriksen – who again had a sharp game – brilliant move into the box saw him latch onto the ball which drifted just wide. De Jong also had an opportunity to break the deadlock. Yet despite the scores still 0-0, Ajax did not panic and the goal came from an unlikely source, the right boot of Toby Alderweireld (2nd I’m the De Boer reign) who rifled a screamer from 25+ yards or so – woof indeed.
The second half began as the first ended with Ajax on top. Some of the new traits under De Boer were clear to see – opposite to how the team was going under Jol in the last months – the pressing of the forwards helped to regain possession and force Feyenoord into making mistakes. The width provided by Ebecilo and Suljemani stretched the game which helped the fullbacks Daley Blind and Van der Wiel push on and join in the attack.
A moment to praise the left flank: Ebecilo and Blind neither would have gotten a look in under Jol but with De Boer’s faith in the academy – players he knows – that confidence would filter to the players. Both young with bright futures ahead of themselves.
As long as the game was 1-0, Feyenoord were still in it even though they weren’t doing much, and Ajax put them out of their misery when Sulejmani was brought down inside the penalty box – penalty was given – Sulejmani got up, dusted himself down and tucked it away.
There was a debut for Jody Lukoki, whom De Boer described as a real classic right winger, for the brief moment he was on he showed enough signs that he could get a taste of more games, he ended the night nutmegging Tim de Cler of the pitch just moments before the fulltime whistle. Feyenoord still without a win in Amsterdam since 2005.
There were so many good individual performances: Siem de Jong, Eriksen, Blind, Ebecilo, Enoh, Vertonghen and Sulejmani.
Frank de Boer said he was pleased with his team’s performance but they should have scored more.
‘We need someone like Luis Suarez if we want to be champion,’ De Boer is quoted as saying by the AD. ‘That is why we won’t let him go to Liverpool. But we have won four matches without him.’
Up next is a trip to FC Utrecht and a chance to avenge the 2-1 defeat in the ArenA in the first half of the season.