It’s back to Champions League duty for the Blues on Tuesday, as Ajax come to Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of Champions League group games. Our last game in Amsterdam gave us the three points and the win to top Group H. A repeat of the victory would give us a huge springboard towards qualification ahead of the knockout stages. The win in Amsterdam was the first defeat for Ajax since last seasons 2-3 defeat in their Semi-Final second leg of the Champions League. Michy Batshuayi was our scorer in Amsterdam last month, which took his tally of goals to five in all competitions, or a goal every 47 minutes of play this season.
During the early Monday morning training session, three names joined the regulars after missing games through recent injuries. N’Golo Kante was one; his last game was prior to international duty in October and with Jorginho set to miss the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday due to suspension, Kante will be a welcomed addition back to the squad, let’s hope that he doesn’t face any further injury problems this season. Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley were the other additions to training and may feature, possibly as substitutes, ahead of Ajax.
Since our victory over Ajax in Amsterdam, the Dutch team have beaten Feyenoord 4-0 and Zwolle 2-4. Ajax remain top of the Eredivisie, this after not losing a domestic game so far this season. Their manager Erik ten Hag is a possible candidate to take over at Bayern Munich at the end of the season, he has confirmed that he won’t leave Ajax during this season, however. Their young team have performed excellently over the past season, although they sold Matthijs de Ligt, aged 19 to Juventus for £76.95m and Frenkie de Jong, 22, to Barcelona for £67.5m to Barcelona, they have still produced some fine football for which they are traditionally known.
Both teams should continue with their 4-3-3 formations. I thought that the away game would have produced more goals due to both teams attacking prowess, however, the 0-1 victory was a fantastic result for our own young team. Ajax have a full squad to choose from for this game. There could be a lot of space for our players to exploit, as Ajax will need to attack to get a positive result for themselves; remember, UEFA go by head-to-head games instead of goal difference in the Champions League, so a draw wouldn’t necessarily be a bad result for us, especially as the group develops further. Our home form has been patchy recently, so this will inspire Ajax, especially as Valencia beat us at Stamford Bridge, however, with a big crowd behind us and very few travelling fans, I hope that we will come out with a positive result. I am going to go with a 2-1 Chelsea victory.