Good Start for Ajax As Quincy and Yousef Make Their Mark
Ajax had an astonishing NINE
matches in August. Squad rotation was key here and it and players got chances to impress new manager Franck de Boar. Ajax also had two, two legged Champions League qualifying matches. New signings Perr Schuurs, Quincy Promes, Yousef En-Nesyri and Jack Grealish all getting on the scoresheet.
Quincy Promes has been very impressive this month and his link up play with Sergino Dest has been an encouraging start. Slavia Prague were minutes away from knocking us out of the Champions League but a goal from Razvan Marin gave us the victory. Lets look at the matches this month.
Promes has been awesome this month
Ajax started the season again PEC Zwolle where Quincy Promes and Jack Grealish were given there debuts and it was a positive first game for de Boar. PEC are not the best team ever but they started better. It was a slow start and with a defensive line of Dest, Veltman, Chuurs and Tagliafico kept the plucky side out at the beginning. Joel Veltman
got the first from a Seergino Dest cross after good work from Promes. Just 8 minutes later and the game was put beyond doubt with another Dest corner found the head of youngster Schuurs to make it 2-0. Ajax peppered the goal throughout the match with the performance of Hakim Ziyech particularly pleasing in the 2-0 win.
Ajax then played Ferencvaros and it was the performance of 16-year-old
Naci Unuvar who became Ajax's youngest ever scorer and put in a Player Of The Match performance in the 3-1
victory. Goals from Huntelaar and a Quincy Promes free kick won the game. The main point was that Jack Grealish won eight free kicks in the game which one of the goals came from.
Ajax then traveled to the Hitatchi Capitol Mobility Stadion to take on FC Groningen. MArcos Rojo was given his Ajax debut after his £20m move to Amsterdam. Ryan Gravenbirch also started as de Boar rotated with Siem de Jong and Dusan Tadic also starting as En-Nesyri got injured in training so had to wait for his debut. The match was again rather easy for Ajax as Siem de Jong raced through in just the 4th minute to make it 1-0. Quincy Promes was a thorn in Groningen's side all game as his trickery on the left side of midfield was awesome all game. Dusan Tadic got a brace and the Promes scored a delightful free kick after Naci Unuvar got fouled.
Ajax then played the second leg infront of 52,758
where only 517 fans were from Hungary. This was the match that free signing Slobadan Rajkovic joined up with Marcos Rojo in defence and Quincy Promes was rested in place of Razvan Marin. Siem de Jong carried on from the Groningen match and got the first goal after Grealish won a free kick. Jack Grealish is spending most of his time playing at central midfield which is where he craved to play when he was at Aston Villa. Ferencvaros did get a goal back but Promes came on in the 80th minute and one minute later scored a fantastic 25 yard shot which was his first touch of the ball sending Ajax into the champions League decider with Czech Republic Champions Slavia Prague for a place in the Champions League.
Ajax travelled to FC Emmen for a easy victory
Ajax then travelled to the De Oude Meerdijk to play FC Emmen where fans got to see new signing Youssef En-Nesryi in action and youngster Kik Pierie alongside Rajkovic in defence. Pione Sisto and Quincy Promes took the wide positions with Grealish and Gravenberch started in midfield leaving Van de Beek on the bench. It took Sisto just 12 minutes to bag his first goal for the club and a neat through ball from Ziyech, playing just behind En-Nesyri to round the keeper and slot home. This was also going to be Grealish's day as he converted a free kick which was won by himself and then three minutes later a Quincy Promes cross after a poor corner was executed by Slobadan Rajkovic with a header into the top corner. Quincy Promes then scored his 4th goal in 4 games to finish off the rout of FC Emmen
Ajax then played Slavia Prague and it was an entertaining 3-3 draw against the Czech Champions. Youssef En-Nesyri scored 2 goals in five minutes to send over 50,000 fans into raptures, it was short lived though as 13 minutes later Slavia Prague were 2-2 as Peter Olayinka and Milan Skoda scored headed goals. Olyinka then made it 3-2 to Slavia Prague with another headed goal. That made the Johan Cruijff Arena very quiet but only for 2 minutes as from kick off Promes ran at the defence and squared it for David Neres to lash home for 3-3. The second half was not as good as the first half but quite amazingly Slavia Prague had the advantage.
Ajax then played PSV where Ajax had not lost a game in the Eridivisie yet this season but this was all about to change. Franck de Boar changed formation and dropped En-Nesyri to play Tadic and de Jong upfront and Lisandro MArtinez got his debut at centre back but it was not as goes from Ritsu Doan and Jorrit Hendrix scored either side of half time substitute En-Nesyri to bag a 2-1 victory and put them level on points with there rivals.
Razvat Marin spared the blushes of Ajax and fired them into the Champions League
Ajax then played the return leg of the Champions League final qualifier against Slavia Prague. The winners got to the Champions League final and this was a cagey match where de Boar went back to his 4-2-3-1 with Van de Beek and Grealish in central midfield and Ziyech playing just behind En-Nesyri. as the clock hit 70 minutes Prague new at 0-0 they would cause a big big upset and knock out last seasons semi-finalists. In the 74th minute however a long ball from Marcos Rojo found the run of En-Nesyri to slot home to for 1-0 and Ajax going through. The celebrations were premature though as Stanislav Tecl took just 1 minute to level things up with a thunderous shot and Slavia Prague were again going through. Ajax then through everything at the Czech Champions but this was put under threat when in the 83rd minute Dest was given a second yellow card and if anything it galvanised Ajax more with Ziyach hitting the post and Grealish having a penalty appeal turned down. Franck de Boar was livid on the touchline but this was about to change as in the 1st minute of the 4 minutes added on En-Nesyri gave the ball to Ziyech, who the drilled in what looked like a hopeful cross and Razvan Marin was on the end of the hopeful cross to score the winner and send Ajax through but my god they were lucky.
Ajax finished the month off with a home match against FC Utrecht where Noussair Maxraoui replaced the suspended Dest, Marcos Rojo and Slobadan Rajkovic are quickly becoming de Boar's first choice centre back pairing and Siem de Jong again impressed in the attacking midfield role playing as a second striker. Grealish was moved out wide but was overshadowed by Ziyech. The thing Grealish gives you is that he gets fouled a lot. The Englishman won the two free kicks that resulted in the goals by Ajax in a 2-0
Ajax, Heerenveen and PSV all have 12 points but with Ajax only conceding 3 goals and scoring 13 goals it puts them top. AZ Alkmar have had a slow start finding themselves down in 7th place. ADO Den Haag have started well though and after 5 games are lying in 5th place.
Champions League Draw
Ajax have a difficult group in Liverpool, Red Bull Salzburg and Swiss side Young boys. Ajax should have the quality to finish second but Salzburg are going to prove tricky opposition and can Ajax defeat Liverpool? Time will tell.
PSV join Ajax as the second team in the champions league this season and it is safe to say that PSV have the group of death with Juventus, Atletico Madrid and the upcoming German side Red Bull Leipzig where PSV's chances are looking slim.
Player Of The Month
Quincy Promes has 4 goals, 3 assists and an average rating of 7.45 over all games this month. It is more about Promes's movement and pace that can draw defenders away to give space to the other players to get in on goal and gives them chances. Youssef En-Nesyri almost got the award but it is the all round performance of Quincy Promes that has netted him the award.