Tottenham Hotspur – Ajax: Twenty Minutes Of Good Football; Seventy Minutes Of Fighting (0-1)
Ajax blitzed past Tottenham Hotspur in the opening stages and scored in the fifteenth minute. However, thanks to an early formation change from Pochettino, Spurs were better able to control Ajax for the remainder of the match. A fight ensued in the second half, which saw a dip in quality and an even bigger dip in goalmouth action.
Tactical analysis and match report by Erik Elias.
Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur squared off for their first ever Champions League meeting on Tuesday. In a day and age where the latter rounds of Europe’s elite competition feel like the same clubs battling it out again and again, it felt like a breath of fresh air. For every club it is a huge accomplishment to be in the Champions League final; that either Tottenham or Ajax will feature in it this season is nothing less than shocking. The Dutch FA clearly felt so, as they cancelled an entire round of league fixtures for this match, meaning that Ajax had four more days of rest than Tottenham.
We always start with the formation of the home side, but for narrative reasons, let’s start with Ajax first here. As always, Ten Hag’s side set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. There was one surprise, as Joël Veltman retained his spot as right back, even though Noussair Mazraoui was fit on the bench, again. The other ten starters were as expected: André Onana in goal, Daley Blind and Matthijs de Ligt in central defense, Nicolás Tagliafico as left back, Frenkie de Jong and Lasse Schöne as playmakers in front of the defense, and Dušan Tadi . . .