Chelsea host Ajax on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge as both sides sit joint top of Group H on six points, two clear of nearest rivals Valencia. Chelsea came out on top two weeks ago thanks to a Michy Batshuayi winner, and whether they can do the same this week awaits to be seen.
Chelsea v Ajax – Champions League Group Stage
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick Off: 20:00
TV Channel: BT Sport 2
An impressive Chelsea performance in Amsterdam gave them victory and made it two wins in a row after a defeat to Valencia in their opening game. Chelsea particularly impressed defensively, restricting Ajax to an expected goals (xG) of 0.46, and stifled an Ajax attack who have managed 39 goals in the league this season. Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma were impressive at the back, as Matteo Kovacic and Jorginho controlled the midfield well and played through the Ajax press, as they looked to create plenty of chances on the break. Callum Hudson-Odoi often found himself in space on the break, alongside the impressive Willian and Mason Mount, as they used their pace to expose Joel Veltman and Daley Blind as Tammy Abraham led the line well. The form of Christian Pulisic, who netted once again against Watford on Saturday, adds a selection issue for Lampard, as he will look to pick the most effective attack to deal with Ajax’s high press, as well as make the most of the space in behind the Ajax full backs.
With Lisandro Martinez and Edson Alvarez starting in central midfield for Ajax, they are expected to offer solidity, as well as composure on the ball. They were outplayed by Chelsea’s central two at times in Amsterdam, and struggled to provide the link to creative midfielder Donny van Beek. Dusan Tadic was dominated by the Chelsea centre halves, as Chelsea’s defensive shape was impressive and hard to break down for Erik ten Haag’s side. However, they did still look to create opportunities and it is hard to overlook their impressive domestic record and strong performances in the other two group stage games, and it should make for another entertaining encounter at Stamford Bridge
Ross Barkley and Antonio Rudiger have been ruled out for Chelsea, however they could be boosted by the returns of Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante.
There are no Ajax injury worries.
Head to Head:
Chelsea Wins – 1
Draws – 0
Ajax Wins – 0
Dusan Tadic has six goals and ten assists to his name for Ajax in the Eredivise this season.
Ajax have only failed to score once in 15 competitive games this season, which was against Chelsea.
Tammy Abraham has netted nine goals in eleven league games.
Chelsea Last 5 (All Competitions): W L W W W
Ajax Last 5 (All Competitions): W W L W W
Despite a tight and cagey affair in Amsterdam, both sides rode their luck and for the game to only finish 1-0 was a surprise. Ajax will have learnt from the initial meeting, and still possess one of most potent attacks in Europe. The attacking front four does possess the movement and talent to break down the Chelsea defence, whilst offering a strong threat on the break, and if there is an early goal in the game, could be well suited to an open offering. With obvious defensive worries where Chelsea are well suited to target the Dutch champions, particularly with their pace in behind with Tammy Abraham and co, they are also well fancied to score, and should’ve netted much earlier than the 86th minute away from home. As a result, both teams to score is the stand out bet.
Looking into the goal scoring markets, Callum Hudson-Odoi takes appeal at 11/4. Up against youngster Serginho Dest, he gave the full back a torrid time, whilst linking up well with Mason Mount on the break. He will be full of confidence as his form improves with every game he plays, and up against Veltman and Blind on the break, he will be well fancied to find himself in goal scoring positions.