Possible scenarios in Chelsea’s top-of-the-group clash against Ajax
Sportsbet.io explores the game-changing factors of Chelsea's showdown with Ajax in the UEFA Champions League this week.
Chelsea enjoy a 100% record against Dutch opposition in the Champions League and will use the momentum to register their first home victory of the current campaign. The Blues currently sit atop Group H and Frank Lampard hopes his troop can extend their nine-game unbeaten run, away from home in Europe, to a possible ten.
Ajax, meanwhile, haven’t lost a Champions League fixture on English soil and Erik ten Hag is on course to become just the third coach to have not lost their first eight away games in the competition. The Dutch giants are equal on points with Chelsea and aim to preserve their unbeaten status in London, where they lifted their maiden European Cup in 1971.
Who can score first
Chelsea have opened the scoring in their last two European games and are well-placed to do so against Ajax. However, given the Dutch giants have a better goal output than the Blues in the competition, the tide of the contest could initially drift towards de Joden.
The Blues, barring the Carabao Cup fixture against Grimsby Town, haven’t been productive in front of the goal at Stamford Bridge and could possibly struggle against Ajax. Although, given their offensive capabilities and a few key injuries on the visitors’ roster, Frank Lampard’s men are tipped for a 2-2 stalemate.
Highest scoring half
The matchday three meeting proved to be a nail-biting affair between the teams in Amsterdam, with an 86th-minute winner from Michy Batshuayi proving to be the difference. While the stakes are high, we believe the game will have an emphatic and decisive finish in the second half of tonight’s showdown in London.
The Blues’ only clean sheet in the competition came in the reverse fixture in Amsterdam, and the possibility of a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge tonight looks bleak.
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea’s top scorer this season, is the odds-on favourite to draw the first blood against Ajax and build upon his tally of 10 goals and three assists in 16 games across all competitions. The 22-year-old registered his first Champions League goal in the 2-1 win at Lille, and Frank Lampard hopes his first-choice attacker can lead the Europa League winners one step closer to a last 16 qualification.
Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in six of Ajax’s last seven group-stage fixtures away from home (three goals, three assists), and is tipped for a match-winning performance against Chelsea. The Serbian has two goals against the Blues during his time with Southampton and will look to cap a positive return to England.
Words: William Paul