Recently, Ajax topped off their remarkable start to the season with a statement 5-0 win over their bitter rivals PSV Eindhoven. To add to their victory, they had five different scorers in the match. The win against PSV puts Ajax firmly at the top of Eredivisie with eight wins, one draw and one loss in ten matches. The only tiny blot in their brilliant record is the narrow defeat at home against Utrecht. Defensively Ajax have been solid this season, conceding just two goals in the league. Erik Ten Hag’s side have also been able to replicate their Eredivisie performances in the Champions League. They sit top of Group C after dominating Borussia Dortmund 4-0 at home.
Amongst Ajax’s vastly talented forward line, one name has been attracting a lot of attention recently from Europe’s top leagues, that is the young Brazilian winger Antony. The Sao Paulo born player has been a prominent part of Ten Haag’s line up this season. He has scored 12 goals and provided eight assists across his 39 league appearances since moving from Sao Paulo in January 2020. This season in ten appearances across all competitions, Antony has scored four goals and added a further two assists. He scored a brilliant goal in Ajax’s defeat of Dortmund, cutting inside on his left foot and curling the shot into the top corner to put his side 3-0 up. The winger followed up his impressive performance in the game against PSV, where he found the net from close range after a defensive error, putting his side 3-0 up in the five-goal thriller.
Let’s analyse his stats from this season in the Champions League to understand his strengths and his role in Erik Ten Hag’s side.
Antony was impressive in the game against Dortmund, as indicated by his stats. In addition to scoring a goal, he ranked highly in terms of multiple attacking metrics. His xG of 0.45 was the third highest in the game, while he took the joint highest number of shots. He also made the highest number of dribbles in the match.
Antony has been part of all three of Ajax’s group stage games this season. He ranks highly in terms of the majority of attacking and creativity stats. His most notable stats being shots per 90, touches in the opposition penalty box per 90, dribbles per 90 and attacking actions per 90. Antony is brilliant with his shots from his left foot. He is capable of receiving the ball in threatening areas in the opponent half and carrying the ball forward while dragging the defender with him.
Antony possesses great passing ability in addition to his dribbling skills. Although his opponents are aware of his next actions, they have a hard time stopping him. His pass map illustrates the areas where he likes to deliver his crosses, many of them in threatening spaces.
The Brazilian ranks at fourth spot in the Champions League in terms of expected assists, while he averages 0.50 expected assists per 90. This further highlights his contribution to Ajax’s chance creation. His fluid playing style allows him to create spaces for his teammates as well.
Since making his move to Ajax, Antony has adjusted to Ten Hag’s forward line quite seamlessly, giving performances of the utmost quality. His dribbling ability combined with his crosses and shots are a huge asset to a free-scoring Ajax side. Whether he remains in Ajax next season after gathering interest from multiple clubs is another matter. For now, he looks set to carry on his remarkable performances.