Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 4/6
French giants Lyon are in all sorts of problems after the 4-1 defeat in the first leg, although they definitely have the quality to turn this tie around. Following the brilliant performance in Amsterdam, Ajax carry a three-goal lead to Parc OL, but they cannot afford to relax just yet and need to take the Thursday’s game very seriously.
One of France’s most successful clubs couldn’t mount a serious challenge for Champions League positions in Ligue 1 as the likes of Monaco, PSG and Nice broke away early on, but some very good performances in Europa League suggested they might be able to secure a Champions League qualification via the other European competition. Up until the semi-final clash against Ajax, les Gones did pretty well, defeating AZ Alkmaar, AS Roma and Besiktas, but they were then shocked by the youthful Dutch side in Amsterdam. The fact that star striker Alexandre Lacazette was not fit enough to start the clash cannot serve as an excuse for the largely disappointing performance and Lyon now face a mountain to climb. Les Gones did manage to restore some of the lost confidence as they came from a goal down to defeat Nantes at Parc OL, thus ending a two-match losing run in Ligue 1 fixtures on home soil. Given the three-goal deficit from the first leg against Ajax, Lyon have no choice but to attack from the off, which should guarantee us a highly entertaining encounter.
Alexandre Lacazette returns to the starting line-up after recovering from injury, with Nabil Fekir likely to be dropped.
Even though the club had recruited quite a few footballers in the summer, Ajax fans didn’t seem to have much to hope for as the current crop of players weren’t too promising. The Amsterdammers, nonetheless, went to show a great deal of potential as youngsters Kasper Dolberg, Justin Kluivert, Davinson Sanchez and Bertrand Traore enjoyed impressive campaigns, while old guns Davy Klaassen, Lasse Schone and Nick Viergever provided the much needed experience. Ajax looked set for a second-place finish in Dutch Eredivisie after losing to arch rivals PSV Eindhoven, but Peter Bosz’s side now stand a chance of lifting the coveted trophy as they head into the final game of the season just one point clear of leaders Feyenoord. However, it is there Europa League campaign that has been making the headlines of late, and rightly so as the 4-1 hammering of very good Lyon side saw Ajax make a giant step towards the final. The Amsterdammers now head to Parc OL full of confidence, but they are well aware that any sort of complacency could cost them dearly.
Hakim Ziyech, Lasse Schone and Bertrand Traore will be recalled after they were rested at the weekend, but Daley Sinkgraven is unlikely to feature.
Key Factors to Consider
- Both teams scored in Lyon’s last four home fixtures
- Les Gones conceded 9 goals in last four games at Parc OL
- Ajax won three of last five meetings with Lyon (D1 L1)
- Les Gones conceded in last 7 EL fixtures on home soil
- Ajax scored in eight of nine European matches on the road this term
Lyon players clearly had a bad day at the office a week ago, and we definitely expect them to show improvement in the second leg. That is unlikely to prove enough for a place in the final, but we do believe home win is on the cards.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 4/6
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