Ajax may have parted ways with Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt over the summer, but a world class academy continues to produce young stars that keep the team ahead of the curve. The Dutch giant currently sits atop the standings of Group H in the Champions League, and they boast a +6 goal differential after two 3-0 wins. On Wednesday, Ajax will look to take firm control of the group when they face Chelsea in Amsterdam.
Don’t miss this Champions League match from the Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, the Netherlands at 12:55 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on TNT.
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Ajax aren’t the only team somewhat rebuilding after selling off superstars this offseason, as Chelsea are in a similar spot. The Blues sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid in a fait accompli, putting pressure on the club to find production without their star midfielder. Chelsea have succeeded on that front, as Tammy Abraham has been a gem of a find.
Abraham is tied with Sergio Aguero as the top scorer in the Premier League with eight goals. He has given Chelsea a spark that it lacked last year as the Blues struggled to find a quality finisher, and their 18 goals are the third-most in the league. That has led Chelsea to a 4-2-2 record in domestic action with the club’s lone losses coming against fellow Big Six clubs Manchester United and Liverpool.
In Champions League play, Chelsea have one win and one loss. The Blues were stunned at home by Valencia after a late Rodrigo goal, but they responded with a road win over Lille in France thanks to a late goal from Willian.
The Eredivisie looks set to be a two-horse race once again as Ajax and PSV Eindhoven are both 7-2-0. Both clubs have yet to lose, and both clubs also have a goal differential of +20 or more.
We have seen some great play from Ajax in the Champions League too as the club has hammered both Lille and Valencia. Ajax jumped on Lille early in Amsterdam to easily earn three points, and they crushed Valencia in Spain too. That has led to the oddsmakers making Chelsea a decent favorite per the three-way betting odds here.
There are some significant injuries for Chelsea at the moment. The Blues have eight players on their injury report, and they will be without the services of Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Marco van Ginkel, Antonio Rudiger, and N’Golo Kante. Emerson, Mateo Kovacic, and Reece James are all probable to be available though.
Ajax have been without midfielder Zakaria Labyad for the last few weeks, and he is questionable to play on Wednesday. The more concerning absence stands to be Dusan Tadic though. He picked up a knock in his last game, and he might not be available.
Matchup to Watch
Chelsea have had some problems in the back. Although the Blues have a fantastic goalkeeper in Kepa, the back line has been suspect, and they have been shredded on multiple occasions. They have allowed 14 goals in the Premier League through eight matches, and Ajax have the tools to punish. The Dutch club plays a free-flowing style that will give them chances against this back line.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
I like the spot with Ajax here. They have a great advantage at home, and their play has been exquisite this season. The club starts out strong, putting pressure on midfielders to make good decisions with the ball, forcing mistakes from lesser clubs. Chelsea will concede multiple goals in a tough road loss.
Champions League Prediction: Ajax 2, Chelsea 1
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