We are at the seasons end again and I feel that we have had a very good season with the club moving in the right direction. If you have been following this blog you will know that we sold Bazoer to Barcelona at the beginning of this season for £31m rising to £38m with add ons. I made a decision that we would reinvest the money in the squad. We are fully behind developing players but I felt that we needed to boost the squad with some talented players from around the globe. The reason for this was I think we need to give our youngsters time to develop within our system and whilst we have a lot of talent here I don’t think they are ready yet to take the club to the next level, by next level I want us to be challenging in the later stages of European competition. So how did the season go?
We picked up were we left off our first game back was away at NEC were we picked up a point thanks to the impressive Hirving Lozano who as taken the 2nd half of our season by storm with his attacking abilities. We suffered just 1 defeat in the league after the winter break which gave us the title by a massive 18 points clear of PSV Eindoven in second place.,which enabled us to concentrate on our European fixtures with wrapping the title up early. We got good wins against sides nearest to us in the table including a ding done battle against PSV Eindoven our nearest rivals in Eindoven winning 3-2 with goals from Lozano,Klaassen and Sinkgraven. Brazilian wonderkid Lincoln joined up with us at the end of January, I didn’t rush him in to the side I gave him some game time from the bench to ease him in to the system. Geronimo Rulli who we picked up on a free transfer played the bulk of our games in goal after Jasper Cillessen picked up a an injury.
Eredivisie Results January – May 16-17
We retained the Dutch Cup without conceding a goal for the 2nd year running setting a 12 game record without conceding. This win gave us our third trophy this season and our 5th in my two years at the club. FC Twente were our opponents in the Semi Final, by half time goals from Gudhelj, Tete and Van de Beek put the tie out of our guests reach giving us a 3-0 lead making the 2nd half a formality. In the Final held at Feyenoord’s De’Kuip stadium we played PSV Eindoven and won by a single goal scored by Victor Fisher in a fairly uneventful 1st half. The second half was end to end with Man of the Match Lincoln looking like a very good buy playing in a wide left position cutting in centrally causing mayhem in the PSV defence. I am pleased we have retained the Cup and look forward to defending it again next season.
Dutch Cup Results
Record Breaking Ajax
After qualifying for the knockout round we had got a tough draw against last year’s runners up Bayern Munich to contend with which was never going to be easy. Already knowing a lot about Bayern’s squad @Rovazzz (The American Guardiola) aka my bro from over the pond and current manager in his world of Bayern gave me a few vital bits of info about how Bayern would come at me. With this in mind I decided to man mark Alaba who would start in Bayern’s left back position but who @Rovazzz said would look to attack us inside. However I didn’t man mark him with the obvious player, I put Davy Klaassen on him to occupy him whilst our left sided Inside Forward Hirving Lozano was given the licence to roam. So to the first leg in Amsterdam, I was both ready and feeling nervous about the game which I was to watch in full. What a game end to end and a game of two polish Forwards our very own Arkadiusz Milik and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski. Milik would come out on top with a goal in each half for us giving us a fantastic 2-0 win with Hirving Lozano picking up the man of the Match award for his tireless performance. We had managed to not only nullify Bayern’s attacking intent but to give there Defenders a night to forget. We took a 2-0 first leg lead to Germany and ground out a defensive performance going down 1-0 to a Lewandowski goal. We went through to the Quarter Final 2-1 on aggregate. Up next was French money men Paris St. Germain with the first leg in Amsterdam were we came out 2-1 winners with goals from Victor Fisher and Hirving Lozano. The second leg was a disappointment with us losing 2-0 in the Parc de Princes to a rampant Paris side. A big improvement though after last year’s disappointment in the competition.
Champions League Results
Squad Statistics 16-17
Fans Player Of The Year
Board Set Initial Budgets For 2017-2018 Season
A very good season in my opinion achieving the treble domestically and reaching the Quarter Final of the Champions League. We are now approaching the transfer window for the forthcoming season which means the big clubs will come knocking for our players. Already Geronimo Rulli as expressed his desire to speak to Pep Guardiola’s Liverpool who have expressed an interest in him. I have told Rulli if a bid comes in meeting our valuation he can speak to them. We picked Rulli up on a free at the start of the season, so any sale will be a profit for the club. Rulli is valued at £11.5m. Kenny Tete is being touted by FC Barcelona. I think a few more players may have bids made for them when the window opens this week. I think the next few weeks at the club will be very interesting with coming and goings in the window.
Thanks for reading, my next post will be looking at our pre season plans and our incoming and outgoing transfer news.