Ajax and Chelsea will battle it out over in the Netherlands with three vital points in the UEFA Champions League group stage being up for grabs.
Ajax may have lost a series of top stars during the summer transfer window, but they still seemed to have bounced back as they attempt to push on and become one of Europe’s top clubs once again. In their last six games they’ve only dropped points once, drawing with PSV Eindhoven, their closest rivals in Dutch football. They went on to batter Fortuna Sittard in an efficient performance, before easing to a win over Groningen. They put Valencia to the sword in a 3-0 triumph, and then got back to Eredivisie football with victories over Den Haag and RKC.
Clean sheets have been a pretty standard way of operating for Ajax this season, which says a lot about their ability to reignite the flame they lost within their squad. You’d think that would lead to under 2.5 goals, but it all depends on how free-flowing they’re feeling.
After a few teething problems, the new look Chelsea Football Club under the tutelage of Frank Lampard seems to be finding some serious success. They did drop points against Liverpool, losing 2-1, but it was the kind of loss that gave fans hope for the future. They returned to top form with a 7-1 triumph over Grimsby in the Carabao Cup before beating Brighton 2-0. They also beat Lille 2-1 in what was a huge win for their Champions League campaign, before also defeating Southampton and Newcastle.
The Blues are incredibly unpredictable but when push comes to shove, they’re more than good enough to get above the over 2.5 goal mark. In this game, however, it could all come down to how much success they’re able to find against this tough Ajax side. Either way, the future is what seems to matter more than anything for Chelsea, and theirs is very bright.
Ajax are probably technically the better side out of the two and that doesn’t feel like a particularly controversial thing to suggest, but one thing that has become clear in recent weeks is that Chelsea are no longer the kind of team that will go down without a fight. They possess an awful lot of heart and that has been on full display over the course of the last few months, and we can picture them nabbing a point from what will surely be a tough away day.
While the two sides can really get up and go when they want to, we just don’t think it’s going to be enough to edge this over the 2.5 goal threshold. That’s why we’re backing the under with our official prediction being 1-1.
Verdict: Back the draw at odds of 5/2 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 6/5. (All odds are taken from bet365).