Reigning Europa League champions Chelsea will look to claim top spot in Group H of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening as they tussle with Ajax at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.
Frank Lampard’s troops sit third in their group ahead of the match following a win and loss apiece in the opening two matches. Meanwhile, last season’s semi-finalists have enjoyed a perfect start to this campaign by notching back-to-back 3-0 victories and now sit top of the group. As a result, that has seen Erik ten Hag’s men installed as favourites to qualify as group winners with odds of 4/9 with Betfair. Meanwhile, the Blues are slightly behind at 13/5.
One aspect that Chelsea could potentially find slightly difficult is breaching Ajax’s stubborn defence. Despite losing star centre-back, Matthijs De Ligt to Juventus in the summer, the Amsterdam outfit come into the match having notched four consecutive clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League including qualifiers. They can be backed at a price of 7/2 with Betfred to win to nil this time around which could potentially be a smart bet.
Having said that, Chelsea come into the match with an excellent record against Dutch teams in European competitions. Having played four matches against teams from the Netherlands in their history, the Blues are undefeated. Their most recent victory came against Feyenoord back in the 1999/2000 season. Chelsea sit at 2/1 with Paddy Power to notch victory this time around, with a draw available at 5/2. Elsewhere, Ajax are slight favourites at 13/10.
One man that the West Londoners will have to keep an eye on as they travel to Amsterdam is Quincy Promes. The Dutchman has already scored two goals in the Champions League proper so far this season and sits at 13/2 with William Hill to score the opening goal. For Chelsea, Tammy Abraham has been in tremendous form the Blues this season and took his goalscoring into the Champions League by netting in the win against Lille. The Englishman can be backed at a price of 7/2 to net the opener.
Lampard could have a few injury problems for the match. Defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are both ruled out alongside long-term absentees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel. Meanwhile, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Cesar Azpilicueta are slight doubts. In better news, Emerson Palmieri could make his return to action.
ten Hag has a fully fit squad to choose from and could boast a fully-fit Hakim Ziyech after the Moroccan made his return from injury in mid-week.