UEFA Champions League: Chelsea FC vs Ajax Preview & Picks
|Betting Odds & Stats|
|-105 (-105)||Spread||+265 (-115)|
|Over 3 (100)||Total||Under 3 (-120)|
|Chelsea FC||Score and stat||Ajax|
Reason for Chelsea vs Ajax UEFA Champions League
Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League and exceeding expectations after a strong start by their young English talents. The Blues have been compared to Ajax after finding this generation of players, which is a long way from the Galactico reputation they developed during the early Abramovich years.
Chelsea are in fine form after winning eight of their previous nine competitive matches (W8, L1). Strikingly, six of those fixtures saw them score two or more goals, highlighting their prowess in attack. They don’t boast the same sort of proficiency in defence however, managing just three clean sheets in that same sequence.
The Blues won 1-0 in Amsterdam with a last-gasp winner from Michy Batshuayi. It was an incredibly even battle, so it might be a bit much for Lampard to hail it as a major scalp. It might be a bigger deal to beat Ajax at home, given the visitors’ recent results.
Late decisions will need to be made on Ross Barkley, N'Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen ahead of Tuesday's welcome of Ajax. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a long-term absentee for the home side.
Christian Pulisic has leapfrogged Callum Hudson-Odoi in the pecking order for places at the moment and is expected to start on the wing on Tuesday.
Key Player: Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham has scored three goals in his previous seven club appearances - all three came in the opening 30 minutes of the match.
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Ajax travel to London in good form, winning seven of their previous eight competitive matches (W7, L1). They can also boast a good record on their travels across the continent, going undefeated in each of their previous 12 European away matches (W6, D6). Additionally, they have kept a clean sheet in three of their previous four European away matches.
Ajax are obviously weakened from their Champions League semi-final run last year, but they’ve still made a table-topping start domestically and they’re matching the Blues so far in this group. Ajax kicked things off with back-to-back 3-0 wins in the Champions League, while they feel like a genuine threat to the Premier League side here.
Lisandro Martinez is a major doubt after lasting only 28 minutes of Ajax's 4-2 win over PEC Zwolle on Friday. Edson Alvarez replaced Martinez against Zwolle but later needed to come off himself and is also a huge doubt for Ajax.
If Neither Alvarez nor Martinez recover in time then Razvan Marin is expected to start. 17-year-old Ryan Gravenberch is also an option. Andre Onana will serve a one-match ban with his next booking in the competition. The same is true of Martinez but he is unlikely to be fit enough to play here.
We expect Ajax to do enough to get a result, while the Blues have seen some very tight games in this group so far.
Key Player: Ajax forward Quincy Promes has scored three goals in his previous four matches - two of the strikes came in the opening 15 minutes.
|The Pick: Ajax +265, Under 3|