Their loss to Manchester United in the League Cup last week may have been their first defeat in seven games but there’s no reason why Chelsea can’t get back to winning ways against Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Frank Lampard’s men secured an impressive 1-0 victory in Amsterdam a fortnight ago which now puts them in a strong positions to qualify for the last-16 of European football’s elite competition.
Not bad for a manager who many were questionning whether he was ready to step-up to the highest level and whose start to the Premier League campaign started poorly to say the least.
But since then, Lampard has found his feet, and more importantly, got his players playing the way he wants while also figuring out exactly what his best XI is an stamping his authority on a young and ambitious group of individuals.
A defeat in the opening group game to Valencia suggested it might just be a long and difficult campaign for Chelsea in this competition, but as with their domestic form, they have improved with time, and the win in the Dutch capital will be a huge shot inthe arm for both the team and the manager.
There are now new injury concerns and the Blues could welcome back N’Golo Kante and Ross Barkley with the pair been being sidelined for a few weeks while whether Christian Pulisic, who has been in fine form in the Premier League, features could be of interest with the American 3.10* to score anytime here.
CHRISTIAN PULISIC TO SCORE AND CHELSEA TO BEAT AJAX WAS 4.00 NOW 5.00*
Ajax will feel they could and probably should have got more from that match a couple of weeks ago, eventually going down to a goal late-on.
They had more possession and were unlucky not to have taken the lead when Quincy Promes’ goal was ruled off or offside by VAR – a marginal call to say the least.
Last season’s semi-finalists lost some key players in the summer though it doesn’t seem to have prevented the Dutch champions from making a blistering start to their domestic campaign.
Erik ten Hag’s team are already six points clear at the top of the Eredivisie with the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea the only game in their last eight that Ajax have failed to win.
Last season’s semi-finalists have already seen-off both Lille and Valencia 3-0 in this season’s group stage too and are unlikely to be easy opponents for Frank Lampard’s developing team having lost just twice in 18 games in this competition last season.
What’s more, Ajax have never lost an away match in England in the Champions League in four outings and have remarkably won their last five away matches in this competition.
So with that in mind, a point here might just suit both parties, and with the youngsters of both Chelsea and Ajax fond of finding the net, while not adverse to the odd defensive frailty, a draw with goals can be backed here at 4.10.*
*Odds subject to change
Leave a comment
Follow Matthewjamescrist on Twitter