Nine goals conceded in four matches. And they weren’t all Champions League encounters. Sounds like Rangers’ dismal form in recent weeks, but in fact it’s Ajax, and if anyone has a bad defence in Group A, not just Rangers, it’s Ajax.
Despite the addition of Calvin Bassey and spending £100M, it’s not taken Ajax forward at this level (back in fact), and their defence has been porous at best.
Indeed, the last time the Amsterdam giants had a clean sheet was the start of September, in the final match of their flying start before reality set in and they started losing and drawing a lot of matches, including being drubbed by everyone in the UCL.
So let’s be clear – Ajax are not infallible. They are not miles ahead of us in any sense aside financial, and their team isn’t that good – they are nowhere near as good as the Dortmund side we gubbed, just take a look at Borussia’s UCL results last season for evidence (W3 L3) and Ajax are miles behind the side they themselves were last season when they won all 6 group matches, including inflicting two of the three group losses Dortmund withstood.
Yes, Ajax can be entirely got at, they’re not great and Rangers on their day with the right system and attitude can beat almost anyone.
It’s just a shame we’ve not shown enough of that this season, and even against the horrendous Liverpool side we simply suffered dreadful luck losing Goldson, in a first half we more than matched our visitors. King was completely out of his depth and the defensive duo of he and Davies was completely untried. Yet even many of our own fans tried to slaughter our team as not good enough and a disgrace (we still think many of them reckon Liverpool are world class and we were put in our place).
So, getting back to the point, we do have two weaknesses ourselves – no Lundstram and that fairly modest backline. With Ben Davies out it means Sands and King will be in there, meaning Kamara and Davis will be midfield.
In truth, do we have the artillery to beat Ajax? They are of course far better than anything the SPL has to offer, but are a distance off the teams we put away in the UEL last season. We’d even say PSV are actually better than them at this kind of level.
Unfortunately too many personnel issues will be a massive problem tonight, but a full-strength Rangers with more players available could have got a result, no denying it.
Maybe we still will…