Thursday, November 21, 2019

Prediction: Ajax vs Chelsea

Verdict: Ajax win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides who have their sights set on securing a route to the knockout stage of this year’s Champions League, Ajax will welcome a high-flying Chelsea to the Johan Cruijff Arena on Wednesday evening.

Ajax

Starting with the hosts, while Ajax may have seen the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong leave Amsterdam over the summer, it has been another bright start for Erik ten Hag’s men. Picking up a 2-1 win away at RKC Waalwijk after returning from the international break, the Dutch giants have now won their last five matches across all formats and are enjoying an unbeaten run that stems all the way back to the 8th of May. While fans around the Johan Cruijff Arena were disappointed to have seen their side come crashing out at the semi-final stage of last year’s tournament, Wednesday’s guests are enjoying yet another eye-catching run in Europe’s top tournament. Securing back-to-back 3-0 victories over Lille and Valencia on foreign soil, Ajax already hold a three-point buffer at the top of Group H and are seen to be a landslide favorite to secure a spot in the knockout stage.

Team News

Ajax have no new injury concerns following the 2-1 win at RKC Waalwijk on Saturday, but Erik ten Hag may sacrifice Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in favour of a more fluid front three and an extra midfielder. Nico Tagiafico was suspended for that match but should return here.

Chelsea

As for the visitors, while Chelsea may have opened Frank Lampard’s managerial campaign with a 4-0 hammering at Old Trafford back in August, the Blues have really begun to show some improvements. Snatching a 1-0 win over Newcastle over the weekend, a result that has kept the mood in West London at a high, the former England midfielder has seen his men enjoy a five-match winning run across all competitions. Opting to turn to youth over the summer, the former Premier League champions once again find themselves in the top-four and fans around Stamford Bridge will be growing more impressed by their side’s form on the road. Landing a 2-1 win away at French outfit Lille at the start of the month, the Blues have won their last four matches outside of the capital, a run that has also seen them find the net 14 times in those four victories.

Team News

Youngster Billy Gilmour has made the drip to Amsterdam, while Lampard could take the opportunity to rotate his forward line and bring in Olivier Giroud, given the Frenchman’s prolific record in Europe last season.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have won their last four matches on the road, with those four matchups producing 20 goals.
  • The Blues are yet to record a clean sheet on their travels this season.
  • Ajax are enjoying a five-match winning run and are also unbeaten since the 8th of May.
  • Quincy Promes has scored in back-to-back Champions League appearances.

Conclusion

On paper, this has all the making of a matchup that should produce plenty of chances at both. With both Ajax and Chelsea continuing to show some lethal performance in the final third, it is also hard to overlook that each of the Blues last four matches away from Stamford Bridge have averaged five goals per 90 minutes.

Verdict: Ajax win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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