Dusan Tadic has been a prominent part of Ajax’s impressive performances in the recent seasons both in the Eredivisie and the Champions League. The versatile attacking midfielder has contributed heavily both in assists as well as in goals. Last season in the Eredivisie he scored fourteen goals and added a further seventeen assists as Ajax were crowned the Dutch Champions yet again. Tadic has continued his remarkable form this season as well. So far, he has five assists and four goals to his name in eight games. He also has the highest number of chances created per 90 among the top assists chart. In the two group stage fixtures in the champions league so far, Tadic has been instrumental and has registered one assist.
Only a handful of players have matched Tadic’s stats since the Serbian made his return to the Dutch top division. He has integrated into the role of Ajax’s captain seamlessly after being handed over the responsibility by Erik Ten Hag. Tadic has excelled at both Leadership or leading from the front. While he was initially played out wide, occasionally switching with the central attacking midfield position depending on the opposition, Ten Hag changed his role by deploying Tadic in a ‘false nine’ role which worked exceedingly well, and since been Ajax’s go to strategy in the Champions League. Perhaps their best performance came during their 2018-19 Champions League round-of-16 second leg meeting against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Tadic laid two assists and scored another in a shock 4-1 win. He was in remarkable form that night.
Recently the Ajax captain extended his stay with them until 2024, a news which was greeted with great enthusiasm by fans and board members alike.
Let’s analyse his stats from the recent Champions League games to see the areas where he excels in.
So far this season Ajax have been involved in two Champions League fixtures. In the first game, they dismantled Sporting 5-1 away while they overcame Besiktas 2-0 in their first Champions League home game. Tadic was instrumental in both of these fixtures, laying an assist in their previous game. He leads the Champions League expected assists chart with an expected assist of 1.32. While his expected assist per 90 puts him at the 12th spot.
The Serbian midfielder is a huge threat both infront of the opposition box as well as on the inside. His remarkable vision and awareness inside the opposition area allows him to pick out pockets of space for himself or for his teammates to launch an attack. Since transitioning into the role of false nine in the recent seasons Tadic has been afforded the freedom to drift out wide in order to create space for his teammates. His touches in the opposition penalty box indicate just how high of a threat he is going forward, he is placed third in terms of touches in the opposition penalty box while he is placed at the 12th spot in terms of touches in the opposition box per 90.
Tadic’s pass map displays the wide array of passes that he has delivered this season in the Champions League. So far he has delivered most of the passes from the wide areas. His crosses in the opposition penalty box carry high threat. As soon as he collects the ball in the wide areas, his immediate instinct is to play forward towards his attackers rather than passing the ball back towards his defence.
His heat map indicates the areas of the pitch he is most active in. So far this season he has been most active out wide on the left-wing. He also drops deep in his own half to link up with his midfielders.
With the addition of attacking talent in the name of Steven Berghuis, Ajax have multiple players who can both score and create opportunities for the team. It is no doubt that Tadic will remain a mainstay in this seasons Ajax team. His goal contributions put him among the best in the Champions League. Tadic will continue to leave his impression in the upcoming important Champions League fixtures. Ajax will welcome Borussia Dortmund in their top of the table Champions League group stage clash.