Updated: Mar 3
Ajeti watch (versus Aberdeen)
This article is not intended to suggest Ajeti had a good game against Aberdeen or in fact that he is playing well overall just now. It is more to highlight in a bit more detail how he hasn't really had the chance to contribute as much as some may think.
Ajeti looks to be a penalty box striker and has much of the same attributes as Gary Hooper. Hooper played a lot of bad games for us (as some may forget) but in those games he scored vital goals for us (and scored a lot of goals). That was Hooper's job and I was happy with that. He needs service.
2mins – Ajeti came short and had a nice couple of touches passing to Taylor then getting it back and then passing again this time to Turnbull. Then he runs towards the box. My only issue with this is I don’t want Ajeti to come deep too much. I’m happy with no deep movement (unless he is doing so to drag the defender out). We need Ajeti’s presence in the box.
He then runs into the box but the cross is too close the Aberdeen defender.
6mins - Ajeti gets himself to the penalty spot (ideal position) but Christie impacts on his space.
Again the cross doesn’t beat the Aberdeen defender on the 6 yard box.
6 mins - Ajeti looks for the cut back from Taylor but again the cross doesn’t reach him. Ajeti could have just held back a little here to help make the pass easier.
Ajeti runs 10 yards to block the defender.
9mins - Taylor decides to take a shot with his right foot instead of slipping in Ajeti (or even passing to Edouard).
13mins - Ajeti comes short and lays it off to Edouard looking for the one two.
However Turnbull runs into the space Ajeti plans to go. Edouard passes to Turnbull instead of Ajeti.
Turnbull can’t control it properly as Ajeti is going in behind him with a free run.
13mins - Ajeti makes good run which McGregor sees. But he McGregor pass is overhit.
14mins - McGregor makes a run and instead of passing to Ajeti in front of him he passes to Turnbull. This emphasises our team’s strategy of shooting from outside the box instead of getting the ball to our forwards. Even a pass to Ajeti for him to pass to Turnbull would have been better as the ball would have been in front of Turnbull.
The ball is behind Turnbull so he needs to stop and adjust. Turnbull strikes the ball amazingly well but McGregor is free to the left. A pass to McGregor instead gives us 3 versus 2 on the edge of Aberdeen’s box and a better opportunity for us. A symptom of our play this year. We were just lucky that despite bad choices Turnbull's technique was excellent.
18mins - Taylor has two players on him but doesn’t use the support of Ajeti and cuts back to McGregor.
20mins - Ajeti runs towards the box with space in front of him. McGregor decides not to cross into the space in front of Ajeti in the Aberdeen box and doubles back on himself. Later in the move the ball comes to the right and while Ajeti is on the penalty spot Kenny’s cross goes out high and wide.
22mins - Ajeti makes another good run. McGregor sees this again and tries to pass through to Ajeti. But again the pass doesn’t passed the Aberdeen defender.
22mins - Turnbull has Taylor and Ajeti in space in the box but decides to head towards the by-line where he is confronted by 2 defenders.
22mins - Taylor gets to the byline but Ajeti was on his heels. He should be on the 6 yard line here so Taylor has either him or a cut back to Edouard as options. Taylor is clearly unhappy with Ajeti here.
31mins - Turnbull has the opportunity to pass to Ajeti with that trademark outside right of his foot pass but he instead carries the ball then passes to Edouard.
33mins - Edouard gets the ball wide left. Ajeti is on the penalty spot. Again though the ball doesn’t get past the Aberdeen defender at the start of the 6 yard box.
45mins - a ball into Ajeti in the box and a one touch lay off to the left wing in front of Taylor allows Taylor the opportunity to cross for Edouard.
47mins - Turnbull has the option of Ajeti or Eduoard. Again Turnbull picks Edouard although in this instance you can’t really blame him too much. However Ajeti is showing an option and is ignored again.
54mins - McGregor makes a great run in the box and Ajeti puts himself in a good position. Again the ideal striker position in the box. McGregor then passes the ball behind Ajeti to Turnbull and Turnbull has a strike at goal.
Ajeti taking two defenders away to give Turnbull plenty of space.
57mins - Turnbull has the ball in the middle of the park with 2 Aberdeen players approaching. Ajeti comes short to offer an option. Turnbull stops and goes back the way and passes to Christie.
Then later in the move McGregor has the option of Edouard and Ajeti and again Ajeti
is ignored. Edouard then tries to back heel the ball through the Aberdeen defenders legs and loses the ball.
Aberdeen match Conclusion;
I'm not trying to say Ajeti had a good game even though he did make some good runs and did ok with his hold up play. However it has to be concluded that if Ajeti was utilised more times when he was an option or if the passes were better when he was chosen then his output may have been a different story. Also he is occupying defenders throughout the game and creating space for Edouard, Turnbull and the rest of the team.
There are very few runs in behind (McGregor's at the start of the 2nd half was one) that supported Ajeti by taking defenders away from him. Edouard's runs are usually deep to get on the ball more but when he does this Christie, Turnbull and McGregor should be getting in the box to support Ajeti.
We only had 2 crosses in the match that were from between 18 yards and the by-line.
He has a good conversion rate from shots taken to goals scored. He has 43% shot conversion rate for the season with the rest of the forwards at 20% or lower. His average minutes on the pitch when starting is 67mins 9secs and he has scored 3 of his 6 goals in 74, 83 and 86 mins. In his only full 90mins game he scored in 86mins.
He scored 30 goals in 48 appearances for Basel over a 2 year spell so has had a little bit of success before.
There are some supporters that are backing Barkas asking what goals were his fault. If that is the measurement then what sitters has Ajeti missed?
I don't buy the Barkas argument therefore I can't use this for Ajeti so I can't deny we should be looking for better from him. But my gut instinct is that there is a player in there and I believe we'll see a difference when he gets better service and that may even be soon once Forrest returns to the team.
The opposite can be said for Klimala. From day one I thought he'll never make it and I've seen nothing to change my mind to the contrary.
My recommendation is that given Edouard is almost definitely going to be away next year and there is the possibility Griffiths and Klimala have ran their course we should be giving Ajeti as much game time as possible. Giving him the chance to fit into the team and click with the midfielders and full backs (for crosses) and gain some confidence when bagging a few goals.
When I say play him I also mean for 90minutes and allow him some time when the defenders are getting a bit tired.
I'm gobsmacked when I hear suggestions that Ajeti should be dropped and Klimala should be given a run in the team. I could understand an argument for Griffiths instead of Ajeti but I would argue that would be a very short term option and not one that I'd be for.