Van’t Schip’s successful streak lifts Ajax: Europe is within reach

The Eredivisie’s tenth match day had signaled a crisis for Ajax football club; a 5-2 defeat by PSV Eindhoven suggesting catastrophic coastline damage, especially following the poor management regime under Maduro. Former Genoa player Maduro faced a challenging situation to lift a team that was last in the league, albeit with two games in hand. However, fast forward to present day, and there is a sense of optimism in Amsterdam. The motivation to continue the season is palpable; Ajax currently sits fifth in the league, a considerable distance from a European place – 9 points from both the Europa League and Champions League. But most importantly, this positive outlook finally seems tangible.

Ajax’s recent sequence of results owes much to the steadying influence of coach Van’t Schip. He halted the downward spiral and the team would have enjoyed an unbeaten run had they not squandered a win against Almere City, conceding a penalty in injury time. This resurgence on the field has no doubt bolstered the team’s morale and confidence, particularly given their status as a big club and a relatively favorable fixture list in their favor.

The re-emergence of Ajax’s major players has also been crucial to the team’s turnaround. The attacking trio of Berghuis, Brobbey, and Bergwijn did not seem capable of turning the club’s fortunes around. However, the team’s recent 2-1 victory over Sparta Rotterdam at the Johan Cruijff Arena, a team with whom they shared the same points in the league table, showed the attacking trio in fine form, dubbed as the ‘BBB’. Berghuis inspired the team with his movement from the right, forged a good partnership with the young Hlynsson, and showed uncharacteristic determination when losing the ball. Brobbey acted as the reliable target man upfront, his quick turn and shot to score the first goal alluding to the Dutch version of Romelu Lukaku and won a penalty exploiting the confusion in the opponent’s defense. This penalty was converted by Captain Bergwijn; although less inspired than his partners, his potential to suddenly burst into action added further reassurance to a side looking to bolster their confidence.

Looking ahead, the next four games could indeed boost Ajax’s positive run. Barring qualification for the Europa League, which could at best see them contesting a playoff for participation in the inaugural UEFA Conference League by vanquishing AEK Athens next Thursday, Ajax will face Zwolle at home to close 2023, Go Ahead Eagles away to open the 2023/2024 campaign, followed by matches against Waalwijk and Heracles. Securing 12 points from these fixtures does not seem beyond the realms of reality.

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