Ajax is the fashionable team of this Europa League edition. Thanks to its very young formation and philosophy of offensive play, as well as the great enthusiasm of the manager, this Ajax finally seems to be reminiscent of the great team that was part of the European elite twenty years ago.
The team led by Peter Bosz does not expect to have control of the match, despite wanting possession, but rather it drowns the adversary with its offence, always scoring one more than their rival.
And this is generated, first of all, by giving the team a wide range of offensive options. In this area, the midfield where Bosz has set up his 4-3-3 formation plays a fundamental role: in front of the defence, Schöne takes care of distributing possession, giving the team time, Klaasen floats all over the field to provide balance to the game play and Ziyech who, from his position as finisher in the attacking midfield, Bosz moved back to play inside forward, has the key job of bringing the team’s offensive manoeuvre together.
This is illustrated in this play that I chose from the match against Lyon.

The Match Analyst  Ziyech-1-1030x570Created with Wyscout “Playlist And Draw” App

With Lyon doing well at containing the offensive transition on the right and the manoeuvre therefore seeming to be at an impasse, Ziyech, who was open in the centre, moves in to help his teammate Traoré in possession, approaching and practically taking the ball from him before turning to change play, creating a rainbow that ends up all the way on the other side of the pitch where the Lyon defence is weak.

The Match Analyst  Ziyech-2-1030x553

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Once the pass is controlled, a 2-vs-2 situation is created on the left wing with Younes and Riedewald passing the ball back and forth. Ziyech reads the situation and moves to create a numerical advantage and to help the team attack on that weak side that he himself had involved.

The Match Analyst  Ziyech-3-1030x568

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Younes passes back to De Ligt and then moves to leave space for the Ziyech’s arrival.
With the presence of Ziyech those natural triangles are formed that the Ajax system has always used to find men open behind the opposing team’s pressing line.
Thanks to his technical precision and his ability to read the situation, Ziyech led Ajax out of a locked up situation to create one with greater potential for success.
Daniele V. Morrone
Was born in Rome in 1987. He studies economics, loves Cruyff and Guardiola “positional football” and he’s interested in the Asian football evolution. He is an author for l’Ultimo Uomo