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Legenda - The career of Luka Elsner

Started on 2 April 2020 by grismosw7
Latest Reply on 13 August 2020 by Justice
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grismosw7's avatar Group grismosw7
3 monthsEdited



February 2025








The highlight of the month surely is the absolute thrashing of Ajax that no one saw coming. The first 30 minutes were fairly even with neither side finding much room offensively before Guerra opening the scoring in the 31st minute then less than a minute later Leao scored on a great cross from Danchenko. Ajax began ramping up the pressure and got one back in the 36th minute from Ziyech and we went into the break with a 2-1 lead. Knowing they had a Europa League match a few days prior we picked up the tempo in the second half and wore them out with Marcussen scoring off a corner from Danchenko in the 63rd minute. Guerra added another goal in the 89th minute and then assisted on a goal by Arena in injury time. 5-1 over Ajax!

Prior to Ajax we beat up on Heracles Almelo and PEC Zwolle; Stengs had a brace against Heracles Almelo scoring both goals within 60 seconds of each other. Taabouni and Til added goals against PEC Zwolle. We were possibly hungover from the Ajax match and struggled against NAC Breda but Leao came on in the 53rd minute and created an easy goal for Guerra in the 60th minute after we struggled to get anything going up until that point. Our midfield and defense was stellar and made it stand for the final 30 minutes, not allowing a single shot in the second half.

Outside of the NAC Breda match, we were quite dominate. We are now on a league best 22 match unbeaten streak, our loss to ADO Den Haag in September seems so long ago.








Nicolas Guerra

After a slow start to the season Guerra while recovering from his injury, he is starting to turn it on of late and this month was no different. His outing against Ajax was amazing. He finished the month with 3 goals and an assist in 3 matches. On the season he has 11 goals and 5 assists, down from last year but plenty of tim to play.





We are pleased to report a clean bill of health this month.





Ajax has been an offensive juggernaut this season but in their last 3 matches they have only scored 2 goals. They still have 14 more goals than the next best scoring team (us). We have distanced ourselves from 3rd and appear to be headed for a final match outcome again.





Not an easy month by any means but April gets really tough so we need to be perfect here. Ajax advanced to the second knockout round in the EL (facing Napoli), so it will be interesting how to play this month.




Comments:

ScottT - A huge month for us, now we have to keep the pressure on!
A massive win that! Piling on the pressure to Ajax now following the slight drop off in January, and with their goal scoring problems that seem to be rising it could be a title winning season if you keep this up. Those signings add some very bright looking young talent to the squad who under some good development could become very good players.
Exactly the form you need! A massive result against Ajax and hopefully you can beat them again in the cup!
grismosw7's avatar Group grismosw7
3 monthsEdited



March 2025








We opened the month by soundly beating FC Groningen 3-0 behind a brace from Stengs. Arena added a goal and an assist. VVV-Venlo stun us after we rotated the squad, perhaps too much but we dominated every stat line - they just capitalized on two horrific mistakes by Koopmeiners. Against FC Utrecht we jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 25 minutes behind goals from Arena, Koopmeiners, and Leao. In the final match of the month we struggled early to get anything going against Sparta but finally scored once Stengs converted a penalty in the 50th minute. Up and coming star Andrew Gravillon added a goal in the 83rd minute, the first of his career for the senior squad.

In the cup Ajax scored early but we got an equalizer in the 55th minute from Leao that forced the match into extra time. Til missed 4 goals by less than a meter in total, he was so unlucky. However, Til converted the decisive penalty after Schendelaar came up with 2 great saves.







Oleg Danchenko

Danchenko has been really turning it on lately, making a run again for the league's top player. He added an assist in each of his 3 appearances. That gives him 8 assists since the start of the new year after a slow start to the season.





Pantelis Hatzidiakos

Pantelis suffered from pulled ankle ligaments on March 24th during training and is expected to return by mid-April.






This looks like it is coming right down to final match day but we need some help. Ajax's toughest match will be against FC Utrecht on the 27th of April - otherwise they are facing the bottom half of the table the rest of the way. So we need to be perfect, no more draws.

After a slow start PSV has recovered nicely to compete for 3rd.





On paper this is a difficult month, our first 3 matches are away against top 7 opponents.





Comments:

LFCFan & ScottT - Every match at this point is so critical!! Almost as stressful as my early days at Schalke!
So, so close at the moment. The loss against VVV... Annoying!
grismosw7's avatar Group grismosw7
3 monthsEdited



April 2025








I am at a complete loss, we really outplayed Feyenoord but somehow loss behind a brace from Michael Gregoritsch. That loss pretty much costs us a shot at winning the league but we still have a very small chance until we got beat by Vitesse. For the first time in months we really were the inferior side with Vitesse scoring the night's only goal in the 77th minute. We finished the night with just 7 shots, a season low.

Finally, we got back on track with a 2-0 win over FC Twente. Perhaps the fact that 70% of their stadium is closed due to renovations helped? Guerra scored just before the break, assisted by Leao. Then in the 89th minute Leao was able to seal it with a goal, assisted by Til. Willem II scored first before we finally got going, scoring 2 goals in the last 5 minutes of the first half. 18-year old Gravillon scored then assisted on Goudmijn's goal. Leao added another goal after the break and Goudmijn closed out the scoring in injury time.

We managed to double our loss total on the season in very short order, we were inconsistent in attack and probably had our worse month of the season on defense.






Rafael Leao

Leao continues to play at a very high level, putting himself right in the mix for the top player in the league. This month he scored 2 goals and added an assist in 3 appearances. It is likely he will be playing his final few matches with the club as their is a high amount of interest for him in Italy and England.





I am pleased to report a clean bill of health.






A reality check for us as Ajax runs away with it, for sure when they are focused on the league they are nearly impossible to beat. Four teams fighting out for the three Europa League spots surely makes for an exciting final match day.






We can salvage something from the season if we can win the cup. If we win we will be the first team besides Ajax to win it two years in a row since FC Utrecht over 20 seasons ago.




Comments:

ScottT - Losing 3 out our final 8 is a painful finish! But ultimately that VVV loss did not cost us as bad as I thought it was going to.
:( Blew it. Go out and win the cup now then. You deserve something to show for your efforts this season!
grismosw7's avatar Group grismosw7
3 monthsEdited



May 2025








For the second year in a row we win the KNVB Beker, this time more convincingly. We were in control of the match from the start, finally scoring in 42nd minute on a goal from Guerra. The goal was assisted by Danchenko. Til closed out the scoring with a goal in the 52nd minute, the goal was made possible for a great pass from Taabouni. Taabouni came on for Leao who suffered a sprained ankle in the 21st minute. Our defense was stout throughout and only allowed 1 shot on target.

In the final match of the season we struggled early with Excelsior, after a war of words with their manager - Erik Pieters. Pieters called Elsner very much overrated before the contest, fueling a brewing rivalry between the two. It was Excelsior who scored first with a goal from Bo de Bruijn in the 33rd minute and we went into the break trailing 1-0. A rather intense halftime speech fueled a dominate second half with goals from Guerra, ter Haar Romeny, and Midtsjo. Stengs assisted on two of the goals. Elsner reportedly blew a kiss to Pieters after the match but it was not caught on camera.








Fredrik Midtsjo

The crafty veteran midfielder has seen a significant reduction in playing time over the past two seasons but he still brings a solid leader in the midfield that time and time proves to be a difference maker. This month was no different, with a great performance against Sparta and capping off the season with a goal in the final minutes. His production is down in terms of goal contributions but this may have been his best season at AZ since joining the club 8 seasons ago.






I am pleased to report a clean bill of health.






Ajax wins the league for the 38th time and 3rd time in a row, with AZ also finishing runner-up for the 3rd straight year.

Sparta end up getting relegated, which makes their appearance in the cup final even more surprising.




Comments:

ScottT - Thankfully we won the cup again, but a disappointing finish to the season.
At least there is something to celebrate. Pieters also comes across a bit silly after making those comments now. :P

AZ's Luka Elsner is named Manager Van Het Jaar!

For the second year in a row, Elsner beats Ajax's Paolo Sousa for the league's top manager.





Ajax's Hakim Ziyech is named Voetballer Van Het Jaar!

Ziyech beats out teammates Derrick Luckassen and Nicolas Dominguez for the award. Surprisingly, neither Rafael Leao or Oleg Danchenko were not included in the Top 3. Leao finished the season with 12 goals and 7 assists, with a 7.44 match rating. Danchenko had 10 assists and a 7.48 match rating.

It'll be interesting to see what happens from here. There is plenty of interest in Elsner if AZ don't rethink their position. Plenty of lucrative clubs mentioned too!
That loss to VVV-Venlo really de-railed you and its a shame you were unable to clinch the title. However, another cup win is good to see. A massive year coming up then, one where Elsner either impresses enough to get a big pay increase or a move to a bigger club.




Elsner to stay at AZ


In a bit of a shocking move, Luka Elsner has opted to see out his contract at AZ Alkmaar rather than move on to Liverpool or AS Roma. Both of whom were willing to give Elsner a significantly higher compensation, in fact Liverpool's offer allowed him to earn more in one month than he does in a year at AZ. Sources close to Elsner were surprised at the decision but it is understood that he would like to have one more opportunity to win the league over Ajax and possibly with more time to come to an agreement with the club to extend his stay.



I accidentally deleted the original post with regards to potentially moving to Liverpool or Roma.

ScottT & TheLFCFan - It's time to take down the mighty Ajax!


2024/2025 Season Review


Another second place finish in the league gives Elsner four runner-up finishes out of eight seasons, including year's where he was sacked or left early. Once again Elsner has created a stiff defense, improving on last seasons 22 goals allowed by allowing just 20 goals. The defense was almost unbeatable at times with 19 clean sheets in league play, 5 more than last year. The arrival of Frank Marcussen and Diogo Queiros proved to be vital moves for the club.

On the attack the team exceeded last year by just 1 goal - 65, once again finishing second behind Ajax (79). Rafael Leao lead the way with 14 goals, 12 in the league while adding 8 assists. Guerra added 10 goals, Stengs 8, and Arena 7 to round out the leaders. The squad was more diverse in attack, relying less on crosses and building up in a wide variety of ways compared to a year ago.

Once again winning the KNVB Beker the club has been filled the newly expanded AFAS Stadion on a regularly basis with the club announcing another expansion in the works. The project is expected to add nearly another 7,000 seats taking the capacity up to around 28,000 which should be complete by the end of December.

FORMATIONS & TACTICS: Elsner stuck with his 4-2-3-1 exclusively this season, with no deviation - only alterations in approach. The team attacked from everywhere once again, building up from the back more than before, and dominated possession, averaging 57% possession (best in the league, up 1% from a year ago). The squad was very efficient in tackling once again with a win ratio of 86%, while committing just 380 fouls.

HIGHLIGHT: The impression 5-1 win over Ajax on the 17th of February was a masterpiece victory and gave everyone hope that there was to be a significant challenge to Ajax's dominance in the league.

LOWLIGHT: Perhaps peaking too early the side struggled down the stretch, losing 3 out of 5 matches - eliminating any chance to win the league. The 2-1 loss to VVV-Venlo set the tone and the team struggled to recover.

REVELATION: Kenzo Goudmijn's emergence in the midfield was as impressive as any in the league, vying to take veteran significant minutes from Fredrik Midtsjo and eventually forcing Midtsjo to alternate with Teun Koopmeiners in the other midfield role. Goudmijn appeared in 19 league matches with 4 goals and 3 assists, while earning a 7.08 match rating.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Once again Ole ter Haar Romeny struggled, despite a successful short term loan to Sparta Prague. Once he returned he was largely ineffective, appearing in just 5 matches. If he is not forced out of the club he is expected to possibly move to right wing.

PLAYERS TO BUILD ON IN 2025/2026: W Rafael Leao, CB Jordan Torunarigha, CB Frank Marcussen, AM Marcos Arena, CM Kenzo Goudmijn, CM Albert Profijt, LB Dirk Boldt, and ST Andrew Gravillon.

Profijt (20) and Gravillon (18) are by far the club's two most exciting youth prospects with both expected to see a significant larger role next season. Also, keep an eye our for 17-year old left winger Rik Dietvorst. After dominating play in the U19s he was brought up to Jong AZ and scored 4 goals in 25 matches, while adding 4 assists.

OFFSEASON PRIORITY: Elsner is expecting a lot of noise around the club with Boldt, Danchenko, Dos Santos, Goudmijn, Hatzidiakos, Leao, Marcussen, Stengs, ter Haar Romeny, Torunarigha, Troupee, and Visser all drawing interest from across Europe. The squad is setup with the arrival of Henrik Christensen to be in good position for a quiet summer, if they can hold off the potential callers.
Just caught up on this, I really like your presentation!

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