Ajax hoping to turn corner following Volendam win

THERE was relief for Ajax recently as they finally ended a 10-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over lowly FC Volendam at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Goals from Steven Bergwijn and Chuba Akpom were enough to secure a first win for the Amsterdam club since August.

It has been a difficult year for the Dutch giants, having surrendered their Eredivisie crown to arch-rivals Feyenoord last season and losing many key players over the summer.

The likes of Jurrien Timber, Mohammed Kudus, Edson Alvarez and Calvin Bassey all swapped Amsterdam for London with moves to Arsenal, West Ham and Fulham respectively.

Former Southampton star Dusan Tadic agreed to terminate his deal with the club, having starred for the Dutch side for the past five seasons.

Add to that the departure of previous Director of Football Marc Overmars and his replacement Sven Mislintat within the past 18 months, and the reasoning behind Ajax’s struggles becomes a bit more clear.

Erik ten Hag left for Manchester United after winning the Eredivisie crown in 2022, and since then, Ajax have had five managers in the dugout, on either a permanent or temporary basis.

Alfred Schreuder was the first to follow ten Hag, but he only lasted until January 2023 and was replaced by former Everton and Fulham defender John Heitinga until the end of last season.

Ajax had to settle for Europa League football after finishing third in the Eredivisie last season, behind Feyenoord and PSV.

Maurice Steijn took over in the summer of 2023 following an impressive spell in charge of Sparta Rotterdam, but was dismissed in late October following a poor run of form.

Hedwiges Maduro took temporary control for two games, including the Europa League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, before John van’ t Schip became the latest man to try and steady the ship in Amsterdam.

His first game in charge, again on an interim basis, expected to be until the end of the current season, was the 2-0 win over FC Volendam.

It has been a rocky past 18 months for the Amsterdam side, but they showed signs of life with their victory at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Going into the game, Ajax were bottom of the table and the win lifts them up to 15th – they’ll be hoping for more wins along the way, so that they can begin to look up the table rather than fearing a shock relegation.