Mohammed Kudus is on fire . In recent weeks he has been put in the spotlight by Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder, as a kind of false number nine. This is at the expense of Brian Brobbey, who was bought back from RB Leipzig this summer with great fanfare.
But Schreuder's Kudus experiment appears to work: the figures of the 22-year-old Ghanaian are certainly something to write home about. Long story short: he scored more in nine games this season (six times) than in the two seasons - 42 games in total - before (five goals).
Let's look at those nine games. Kudus started the season with a substitute against PSV in the Johan Cruijff Scale (5-3 loss). He scored his first goal in 27 minutes.
Then he gets one minute against Fortuna Sittard, six minutes against FC Groningen, seventeen against Sparta and another five against FC Utrecht. Those minutes must have felt a little ungrateful. He did not score in those four 'games'.
THE TURNING OF KUDUS
Until Ajax - Cambuur, on September 3. At halftime, Schreuder decided to remove his striker, Brobbey, and put Kudus in. More movement and creativity in the front, was the idea. The attacking midfielder (or should we say false striker?) scored once. Schreuder was convinced: Kudus could show it against Rangers. The result was one goal and one assist in a 4-0 win over the Scots. He played 89 minutes.
A few days later, against Heerenveen, he scored twice in 72 minutes. It became 5-0 for Ajax. And last Tuesday, Kudus scored Ajax's only goal against Liverpool: 2-1 for the English.
The chance that Kudus will be in the starting line-up against AZ next Sunday, in the last game before the international match, is huge. Kudus therefore scored six times in nine games, but that gives a bit of a distorted picture. He has scored one goal every 58 minutes this season.
BAD LUCK FOR BRIAN BROBBEY
It is all a bit awkward for Brobbey, who is in the Orange squad for the first time. Many of the seventeen million Orange national coaches will have him on the list as a kind of pinch hitter, as a striker who can hold the ball. For him, the counter currently stands at one goal every 123 minutes. In total Brobbey, who, like Kudus, also has Ghanaian blood, scored three times this season.