Although everyone agrees that Ajax was unlucky with the referee in the Tuesday draw against Chelsea FC there’s also criticism about the way Ajax played. Should they take so much risk in a Champions League game?
‘Erik ten Hag is infected with the so-called Ajax-virus, always play attacking football’, says Pieter de Zwart, who is an analyst for Dutch football-magazine VI, to Dutch news site NOS. He has his questions about the attacking style of Ajax.
‘The 1-4 was a present which Ten Hag could’ve unpacked by making a defensive substitution at that point. An absolute world-class team would kill the game. Apparently, this team isn’t at that level yet and Ten Hag didn’t help with his late changes’.
Within a minute Ajax conceded two red cards and a penalty. A sure looking three points were far away.
Pieter Zwart continues: ‘When the red cards were shown Ten Hag brought on his first substitute, which was already too late. Ziyech, Promes and Neres are always looking for a difficult solution and take a lot of risk with that.’
According to Zwart all of this could’ve been avoided by bringing a more defensive player on to the pitch. There were already two moments that showed this before the red cards. Once Donny van de Beek caused the defense trouble cause he didn’t defend after losing the ball and David Neres failed on covering César Azpilicueta.
‘At that point, you need players who put the game to bed. Last season Frenkie de Jong was very important in situations like this. Right now everything looks very spectacular, but Ajax has to start thinking about the result too,’ Zwart finishes his analyses.
After the game on Tuesday Ajax is leading the ‘most yellow cards table’ this Champions League season. In only 4 matches Ajax collected 14 yellow cards. Last year referees gave Ajax 29 yellow cards in 12 games. As a comparison: Spurs and Liverpool, who were in the final and therefore played 1 game more, ended the season with 24 and 21 yellow cards.