Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Prediction: Aston Villa vs Ajax

Verdict: Aston Villa win

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: Dachbet

With a Europa Conference League quarter-final ticket hanging in the balance on Thursday night, Aston Villa will welcome Ajax to the Midlands.

Aston Villa

Starting with the hosts, putting in a nightmare performance over the weekend as they slumped to a woeful 4-0 drumming at the hands of Tottenham, Aston Villa will know the importance of claiming a crucial response here. Forced to settle for a 0-0 stalemate when they travelled to Amsterdam for their first-leg showdown last week, Unai Emery’s men have been seeking some stability since opening the New Year. Winning just a quartet of their previous 11 appearances across all competitions, the one-time Arsenal boss will also have a mounting headache over his side’s extended issues on home soil. Crashing out of the FA Cup on February 7th following a shock 3-1 drumming against Chelsea, Villa will be concerned by their recent issues on home soil. Including Sunday’s 4-0 hammering against Spurs, Emery’s camp have lost four of their previous five domestic showdowns in front of their own supporters.

Team News

While England international Tyron Mings might have returned to first-team training last month, the Aston Villa skipper will not feature on Thursday night. Likewise, both still dealing with long-term knee injuries, the duo of Boubacar Kamara and Emi Buendia here.

Although John McGinn might have been shown a second-half red card against Tottenham over the weekend, the Scotland international is free to feature here. Continuing to shine this season and already notching 16 Premier League strikes, Ollie Watkins will spearhead Emery’s charge at Villa Park.


As for the visitors, while Ajax might have snatched a first-leg 0-0 stalemate in Amsterdam last week, the Dutch icons have continued on a nightmare campaign this season. Coming under a huge amount of scrutiny, John van’t Schip’s men have continued to struggle with their consistency. Failing to pick up any kind of momentum over the weekend as they eventually had to settle for a 2-2 stalemate against Sittard while in domestic action, the Amsterdam-based outfit have remarkably recorded just a single victory from any of their previous nine appearances within 90 minutes. Despite edging their way past Norwegian outfit Bodo-Glimt last month, Ajax have gained a real reputation for their glaring issues at the back. Despite snatching a goalless draw at the Johan Cruyff Arena last week, Thursday’s guests have failed to record a single clean sheet on their travels from their last 15 straight outings.

Team News

Missing all of Ajax’s last eight appearances and still dealing with a recent muscle injury, former Tottenham star Steven Bergwijn is not expected to feature here. Likewise, the duo of Gaston Avila and Steven Berghuis are dealing with respective knee injuries and will not travel to Villa Park on Thursday night.

However, despite serving a domestic suspension over the weekend, academy graduate Devyne Rensch could make a full return in the Midlands. Continuing to shine this season and heavily linked with a potential Premier League switch in the summer, attacking talisman Brian Brobbey will have a leading role to play here.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Aston Villa and Ajax met for their first-leg meeting in Amsterdam last week, Thursday’s opponents played out a 0-0 stalemate.
    • Emery’s men have lost four of their previous five domestic showdowns at Villa Park.
    • Ajax have conceded at least a pair of goals in five of their previous six appearances on the road.
    • The Dutch giants have recorded just a single victory within 90 minutes from their previous nine appearances.
    • England international Ollie Watkins has scored 16 goals in his 28 Premier League appearances this season.


    Eventually falling to a woeful 4-0 drumming at home against Tottenham over the weekend, Aston Villa will know the importance of claiming an immediate response here. However, although Emery’s men might have continued to show some recent issues on home soil, Thursday’s hosts should be confident of extending on their Europa Conference League adventure in midweek. Rightfully tipped as a standout contender, we are backing Villa to punch their quarter-final ticket.

    Verdict: Aston Villa win

    Best Odds: 1/2

    Bookmaker: Dachbet


    Tom Dunstan

    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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