The Dutch giants have taken everybody by surprise in this seasons Champions League, unexpectedly knocking out two of Europe's heavyweights in Real Madrid and Juventus en route to the semis.
Erik ten Hag is doing a remarkable job at the helm and taken his side to the next level. The Ajax manager is not grinding out victories against the big names, his side are doing it in style, unleashing and expressing themselves in a way, which makes their football so exciting to watch.
Many people had written Ajax off following their 2-1 home defeat to Los Blancos earlier in the competition, only for them to come back fighting at the Santiago Bernabeu and stun the footballing world with their 4-1 rout against Real which sent them through to the quarter-finals.
With all that said, can Ajax go one step further and book a place in the Champions League final in Madrid?
Here are four reasons why ten Hag's side can do just that.
1. The Dutch FA Granted Them Time Off
Ajax have been handed a major boost before the clash against Tottenham Hotspur, having been granted a free week in order to help them prepare for the first-leg against Spurs in London.
The Dutch FA (KNVB) has recognised the fixture congestion in and around their two legs and have therefore postponed Ajax's Eredivise matches until match week 33 in the Netherlands. A statement from the Dutch FA read: “It is being done to help Dutch football as a whole because it means so much to be successful in Europe.”
On the other hand, Mauricio Pochettino's side host West Ham and Bournemouth a week before they are due to play the semi-final first-leg, a congested fixtures list of four games in 12 days for the North Londoners. Many Spurs fans have questioned the English FA as to whether they will get their fixtures moved. This is highly unlikely and could be a factor which could play into Ajax's hands.
2. Ajax Have Nothing to Fear
They have already exceeded expectations at this stage and they will use their confidence and go in to both legs of the tie knowing they have what it takes to reach the final.
Frenkie de Jong, who will join Barcelona this summer, and de Ligt, who is expected to follow suit in leaving Ajax, have both played a huge part in repaying the faith shown in them by the Dutch side.
Spurs are oozing in confidence on the back of their victory over Manchester City, but they should be wary of an Ajax side who convert their goal scoring opportunities in style. Players such as Brazilian David Neres, Dušan Tadić and Van de Beek have been instrumental in their fortunes and no doubt Europe’s big guns will come calling this summer should they advance to Madrid. For now though -focus and togetherness are key attributes for this exciting team.
2. Tottenham's Defence Is Lacking
Questions have been raised over how good the Spurs backline actually is. Pochettino's side were vulnerable at the back against City conceding three out of their total 14 in the competition so far. Kieran Trippier is expected to move on this summer, having under performed throughout the 2018/19 campaign.
Next up for the 28-year-old is a battle with Ajax’s informs forward Neres. Trippier will have a tough task at trying to stop the 22-year-old over both games. Both wings are areas Ajax can exploit and cause Tottenham major problems.
The high-flying Brazilian also scored in Ajax’s sensational 4-1 win away to Real Madrid in the last-16 and is enjoying an impressive campaign which has not gone unnoticed around Europe.
4. No Son Heung-min or Harry Kane
Following the injury to Harry Kane, the burden has been left on Son Heung-min and he has been instrumental in Spurs' progress through the competition, netting four times. The 26-year-old South Korean forward, is set to miss the first-leg at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium due to suspension. He picked up a yellow card in the victory over Pep Guardiola's side at the Ethiad on 48 minutes, his third of the tournament. It means he misses the first clash. Tottenham will have to rely on Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente to carry the threat to Ajax.
Harry Kane is expected to be ruled out for the remainder off the season due to an ankle injury picked up in the first-leg against City, so, with Son out and Kane sidelined for both matches, Ajax will no doubt fancy their chances once again. This is something the Dutch giants can capitalise on.
So, are we about to see Ajax progress to final and beat yet another one of Europe's elite?
Source : 90min