Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) previews Ajax v Chelsea and provides us with his best bets for Wednesday’s Champions League Clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
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Ajax v Chelsea Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 23/10/19
- Time: 17:55
- Venue: Amsterdam Arena
- Channel: BT Sport 3
Chelsea travel to unbeaten group leaders Ajax on Wednesday as they look to build upon the victory over Lille in the previous round of fixtures, and go level on points with the Dutch champions.
Ajax top the group after 3-0 victories against Lille and Valencia in their opening group games, and will be full of confidence heading into the game. Sat top of the Eredivise with 8 wins from 10, they are unbeaten domestically, and won 2-1 away at RKC Waalwijk on Saturday, courtesy of a late winner from Quincy Promes. Ajax did ride their luck in the opening two group games, and the 3-0 score line was flattering in both games, giving Chelsea a level of confidence heading to Amsterdam.
Chelsea edged past a resilient Newcastle side 1-0 on Saturday thanks to Marcos Alonso’s second half goal, and Lampard is expected to make changes, potentially switching back to the 3 at the back which he played in the opening two group games. N’Golo Kante is expected to miss out once again, and will be missed in a midfield that may be lacking Ross Barkley after he limped off on Saturday.
Ajax have no injury concerns heading into this game.
Chelsea will be sweating on the fitness of Cesar Azpilicueta and Ross Barkley after both were forced off with injuries against Newcastle on Saturday. N’Golo Kante is still a doubt, whilst Emerson may return, but Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Antonio Rudiger will all definitely miss out
Potential Ajax Starting XI: Onana; Dest, Veltman, Blind, Tagliafico; Alvarez, Martinez; Ziyech, Van De Beek, Neres; Tadic
Potential Chelsea Starting XI: Kepa; James, Azpilivueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Mount; Abraham
Head To Head
- This is the first meeting between the two sides.
Key Stats & Facts
- The referee is Ovidiu Hategan, who has averaged 4.8 cards across 10 games this season.
- Ajax are unbeaten in 10 league games this season, scoring 31 goals in the process.
- Dusan Tadic has 8 assists to his name this season.
- Tammy Abraham has 8 goals in 9 games in all competitions this season.
- Ajax – 11/8
- Draw – 27/10
- Chelsea – 21/10
Despite Ajax topping the group with a perfect record in their opening two games, the stand out statistics from both of those games was how wasteful the opposition was. Ajax were defeated on the Expected Goals in both games, with both Lille and Valencia racking up an xG of over 2. Ajax only managed around 1.5 in both games going forward, and whilst it does show that Ajax were creating enough chances and were clinical in front of goal, they did let up chances at the back, and have been susceptible to counter attacking play.
Lampard will need to adapt to not having Kante available if he is to play the 3-4-2-1 he has employed in the previous two group games, but he does have a side that can hurt Ajax, particularly on the break. Ajax have opted for more caution in the midfield in the Champions League, opting to play a 4-2-3-1 with Alvarez and Martinez sitting in front of the back four, however it hasn’t stopped the opposition creating chances. Ajax’s full backs look to push high and provide width to attacks, allowing the wingers to drift inside and pick up pockets of space hard for defenders to mark. A nightmare for Chelsea’s defenders, this high positioning does leave the Dutch side susceptible to the break, particularly in the channels, and this could be an area that Chelsea can exploit, particularly through the inform front three of Mason Mount, Willian and Tammy Abraham.
Ajax’s front four have been racking up the goals domestically, and it is hard to see them failing to create chances against this Chelsea backline. However, purely looking from a statistical point of view, there is definitely value in taking Chelsea and both teams to score at a slightly inflated price 9/2 (William Hill). Kante will be a huge miss in the midfield for Chelsea and will definitely need to be factored in, but given that Ajax have rode their luck and shown their susceptibility to a similar attack in that of Lille’s on match day one, a more clinical side could be able to make the Dutch champions pay.
The open nature of Ajax’s play leaves them open to counter attacks and as a result brings into play a number of cynical fouls, leading to cards. Full back Nicholas Tagliafico has racked up 4 yellow cards domestically and 1 in the Champions League, and coming up against Willian, and potentially the box to box wing back in Reece James, he looks an enticing option to keep this record up at 9/4 (William Hill). Referee Ovidiu Hategan has been happy to dish out cards, with 4.8 per game so far this season, and as a result it is potentially worth delving deeper into the card markets. However, at the time of writing the markets weren’t available, so will be worth checking out closer to the match.