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Champions League preview: Ajax vs Chelsea

Ajax are scheduled to tackle Chelsea in Wednesday’s Champions League meeting at the Amsterdam Arena. The Dutch champions have made an impressive beginning to their European campaign and they have accumulated the perfect tally of six points from the opening two group stage games. In comparison, the Blues have managed just one victory in the same period and they are currently third behind Ajax and Valencia, though the latter are only ahead of them on the head-to-head record.

League Form:

Similarly to their European campaign, Ajax are unbeaten through the opening 10 games of their league season and they are presently holding a three-point advantage over PSV Eindhoven. Chelsea, meanwhile, made the worst possible start with a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United but that appears a distant memory, considering they have found the consistency to their game thereafter. They are presently on a three-match winning league run and sit in the fourth spot on the Premier League table.

Players to watch out for:

Hakim Ziyech – Ajax: The Moroccan has already contributed five goals and six assists for Ajax this term. The 26-year-old produced a stunning wonder goal from the right flank during the previous European meeting against Valencia and he is undoubtedly enjoying the prime of his career. The former Twente man will come face-to-face with Marcos Alonso on Wednesday night and the latter is bound to face a testing challenge, considering he is susceptible to defensive errors. Ziyech has the tendency to shoot from long range as witnessed at the Mestalla and the Blues defence will need to keep a close watch on the attacker, if they are to come up with a positive result.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea: The left-sided winger only returned to first-team action after a long-term injury last month but he has quickly adapted to the style of play under Frank Lampard. Moreover, he has contributed a goal or an assist in each of his five appearances this season and he will no doubt have a spring in his step ahead of what should be his maiden Champions League start. Hudson-Odoi’s dribbling and directness remains his strong attributes but he is also not shy of unleashing a shot from outside the box. Elsewhere, the teenager likes to put in crosses for his teammates and he has coordinated impressively with Willian in the opposite flank this term.

Predicted Score:

Chelsea have played an attacking brand of football under Lampard and they are unlikely to change their philosophy against Ajax. With the likes of Tammy Abraham and Hudson-Odoi in a purple patch, they should fancy their prospects of finding the net but there still remains the vulnerability in their defence. Hence, a high-scoring draw seems an ideal result.

Ajax 2-2 Chelsea

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