Team Focus: Ajax Amsterdam

It has been a big week for Dutch giants, Ajax Amsterdam. On Tuesday night, in the Champions League, they inflicted a first defeat of the season on the mighty Barcelona and were well worth their victory too. Their focus now returns to the Eredivisie where they find themselves in second place, two points behind leaders Vitesse Arnhem.

Their next opponents are 16th placed ADO Den Haag. These teams have a tension filled history when facing each other and often the two sets of supporters are involved in skirmishes. ADO supporters have set fire to the home of Ajax supporters and Ajax supporters have broken into the home of ADO supporters. In 2006 supporters from both clubs were banned from attending away games for a period of five years as a result of the frequent outbreaks of violence when they face each other so this fixture will be sure to be packed with excitement!

Following their massive victory on Tuesday night, we took a look at Ajax’s stats ahead of the game against ADO. In the Eredivisie, so far this season, they have reached a situation where they would be in the position to take a shot 15.53 times per game. From those situations, they only took a shot on 9 occasions per game.

With the above in mind, we looked at the situations where they chose not to take a shot, to see what the team did when they found themselves in these scenarios. In the 119 occasions where they did not take a shot, they tried to improve their position. In order to do this, they made use of dribbles 36.1% of the time with 3 of these dribbling actions being very effective and leading them into a much more dangerous position. 6 of were averagely effective and only improved their situation slightly. 12 were somewhat ineffective where they found themselves in a less dangerous position than they were before. They also had 11 dribbling moves that were extremely ineffective where they would either lose the ball or retreat back into their own half – essentially the chance had been lost. Interestingly, they did manage to score 5 goals from these situations.

They also tried to advance using passing moves 26 times. Two were very good and advanced the team into an even more dangerous position. 8 were slightly effective and only improved the team slightly with 6 being bad and thus caused the team to retreat slightly with 5 of them being very bad and in turn lost the team the chance. They only scored one goal when using passing moves to improve their position.

The Ajax players also used one touch football to move into better positions on 20 different occasions. Only 1 actually improved their situation, with another 1 assisting them slightly. They were forced to go back on 5 occasions and lost the chance a further 4 times. Obviously, they did not manage to score from these situations.

Crosses accounted for 14 attempts at improving their situation. 2 of these did actually increase the danger of their chance, whilst 1 helped slightly. 5 times they found themselves in a less dangerous position than they were when they started and on another 5 occasions, the chance was lost. Again here, they did not manage to score any goals.

When the team did eventually take a shot on goal, they managed to score 17.7% of the time. Of those shots, 11.8% came very close to being a goal and either went just wide or required a good save from the keeper. 12.7% could have ended up a goal but were either wide or blocked. 20.3% of the shots were bad and were simple for the keeper and defence to deal with, whilst 26.2% of them did not trouble the keeper at all.

From this information, we can see that, regardless of what situation Ajax find themselves in, they are always trying to improve their chances as opposed to taking a shot on goal there and then. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they took more shots on goal as opposed to constantly trying to get into even better positions.

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