Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Prediction: Chelsea vs Ajax

Verdict: Ajax to score over 1.5 goals

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides in a battle to secure top spot in Group H and move one step closer to this year’s Champions League knockout stage, Chelsea will welcome Ajax to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

Chelsea

Starting with the hosts, despite crashing out of the EFL Cup last week, Frank Lampard saw his side to make a return to winning ways at Vicarage Road over the weekend. Picking up a 2-1 win over Watford and reclaiming their spot in the Premier League top-four, the former England midfielder has seen his side win eight of their last nine matches across all competitions, a run that stems back to the 22nd of September. With their recent purple patch epitomized by their shock 1-0 victory away in Amsterdam a fortnight ago and continuing to shine in the final third, fans around Stamford Bridge will be calling on their side to make some European improvements on home soil. Opening their Group H campaign with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Valencia in West London, the former Premier League champions have failed to win any of their last four Champions League matches in SW4.

Team News

Lampard has mounting injury issues in midfield. N’Golo Kante and Ross Barkley are doubts, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out. Jorginho is suspended domestically for one game, so will be a certain starter.

In defence, Andreas Christensen is nearing a return, while Antonio Rudiger is out.

Ajax

As for the visitors, while Ajax may have been stunned to see Chelsea pick up a 1-0 win at the Johan Cruijff Arena, there is no doubt that fans in Amsterdam will be glad to see their side make an eye-catching return to winning ways. Putting four past both PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord over the past two weekends, Erik ten Hag’s men are still enjoying a remarkable run of form that has seen them lose just one matchup across all formats since the 8th of May. Seen to be one of the leading contenders to secure another spot in the knockout stage, last year’s semi-finalists have also continued to shine in Europe while away on foreign soil. Opening their Group H campaign with a very impressive win away at Valencia, Ajax are unbeaten in their last 12 Champions League matches on the road, a run that has seen them land victories over the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, and Tottenham.

Team News

Edson Alvarez could come back into the Ajax side, with Donny van de Beek being used in a role further forward. That may result in Quincy Promes dropping out of the starting lineup, despite his double against PEC Zwolle at the weekend.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have won eight of their last nine matches across all competitions.
  • However, the former Premier League champions have failed to win any of their last four Champions League matches at Stamford Bridge.
  • Ajax have lost just a single matchup across all formats since the 8th of May, with that sole defeat coming against Chelsea a fortnight ago.
  • Ajax are unbeaten in their last 12 Champions League matches on foreign soil.
  • The last five combined matches between the two sides have seen over 2.5 goals at full-time.

Conclusion

While Chelsea might be enjoying their brightest run since appointing Frank Lampard over the summer, the Blues have still continued to show some defensive issues and their Champions League record at Stamford Bridge has left plenty to the imagination. Despite suffering a 1-0 defeat against the Blues a fortnight ago, Ajax have bounced back in some style and still have a reputation for their free-scoring antics. Given their stellar European record on the road, we’re backing Ajax to enjoy another bright 90 minutes in the final third.

Verdict: Ajax to score over 1.5 goals

Best Odds: 6/4

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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