Chelsea have started the season in great form and have the opportunity to put themselves in a dominant position in their group on Tuesday night. Few expected Frank Lampard to manage the club to any success this season, but a top four finish and Champions League progression looks likely. They performed well against Ajax two weeks ago and were good value for their victory. The visitors made the semi-finals of the competition last season, providing a good early test for the Blues. The game at Stamford Bridge will have huge ramifications on the group.
The home side come into this match in great form, having consolidated their position in the top four over the weekend. Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United continue to drop points, which makes Chelsea’s achievements all the more impressive. The young players will be desperate to make their mark in the Champions League. Tammy Abraham has scored in the competition, but he certainly has more to contribute and that could come this week. Ajax will look to attack Chelsea and that should lead to an entertaining game.
Ajax will be looking to make an impact in this competition for a second successive year. They will be disappointed to have lost to Chelsea in the previous round of fixtures, especially without scoring a goal. They are rarely shut out without scoring a goal. Some of their best performances in the competition last season came away from home. They may even be a more dangerous outfit on the road, as they will have more space to exploit on the counter attack.
- Chelsea have kept only three clean sheets across all competitions this season.
- Ajax have scored four goals in both of their matches since their narrow 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
There was always going to be an opportunity for either Tammy Abraham or Michy Batshuayi to become the main man at Chelsea during the transfer ban. It has been the former that has taken the chance following the decision to give him the number nine shirt. That was an early show of faith from Lampard and the academy graduate has paid his manager back with lots of goals. There were early doubts after a missed penalty in the European Super Cup, but he was managed well and is now stronger for the experience. In the Premier League, he has managed to score ten goals already. However, his manager will be more pleased that he has contributed two assists in the last two matches, as he develops into a complete forward. The Champions League is an opportunity to show his quality on the biggest stage. Following a match-winning display with two goal contributions on Saturday, he will be full of confidence ahead of Tuesday night and ready to make an impact.
The Dutch international has returned to his homeland to reignite his career and the early indications are positive. Ajax were able to be more ambitious in the transfer market, thanks to their Champions League success and money generated through player sales. There is no doubting that Promes has improved their attacking options, as he provides pace and directness to the forward line. In the Eredivisie, he has managed to contribute eight goals and two assists. Meanwhile, he has already scored twice in the Champions League for his new club. Chelsea do struggle with teams that can counter attack effectively, as they can be open at times, especially at home. This should suit Ajax at Stamford Bridge, more so than it did in the first meeting of the two clubs. That could play to Promes’ strengths as he will be able to run freely and have more space to operate in. He is the danger man for Chelsea to worry about on Tuesday.
N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen could both be back to feature on Tuesday. Ross Barkley remains a week or two away from a return. Marcos Alonso could be brought back in if Lampard wants to manage Emerson Palmieri’s return. Antonio Rudiger’s return date remains unknown.
Ajax have a fully fit squad to pick from, with a full-strength team expected on Tuesday night. They started with a front four of Dusan Tadic, David Neres, Promes and Hakim Ziyech at the weekend. They may take a similarly offensive approach at Stamford Bridge.
This could be one of the best matches to watch during the week, as both teams play exciting attacking football. The first fixture was nervy, but it would be a surprise if there weren’t more goals on Tuesday night. Ajax enjoy playing away from home and the home fans won’t allow Chelsea to sit deep. An entertaining score draw would be a result that keeps both teams in touch with the knockout rounds.
Chelsea 2-2 Ajax