In Review

Champions League: Ajax vs. Chelsea preview, predictions, team news, group H standings, TV and live stream details

Two in-form teams meet at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam

Ajax vs. Chelsea

Frank Lampard takes his Chelsea team to Amsterdam on Wednesday for a vital group H clash against last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax. 

The Dutch club may have lost defender Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie de Jong, to Juventus and Barcelona respectively, but they still have a very talented squad. 

Unbeaten this season in the Eredivisie, Ajax are top of the Dutch league with eight wins and two draws from their ten matches. In Europe Erik ten Hag’s side have kicked off their group H campaign with two wins from two. 

Like Ajax, Chelsea are also in fine form having won their past five matches in all competitions. 

Chelsea boss Lampard respects the threat that Ajax offer but is confident that his own team can cause problems for the Dutch.

“We have confidence in ourselves, but it’s a tough match,” said Lampard. “I watched them play last year and I know their team has changed slightly. 

“I’m very aware of the new threats they have. They’ve won their two Champions League games convincingly.” 

TV and live stream details

The group H clash will be live on BT Sport 3. Coverage starts at 5.15pm and the match kicks off at 5.55pm (BST). The broadcaster will also show a live stream of the game at sport.bt.com.

Lille host Valencia in the other group H fixture (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4).

Team news and possible starting XIs

Ajax team news

Except for the fitness concerns of Hassane Bandé, Ajax do not have any other injury or suspension worries for Wednesday’s clash at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Chelsea team news

Blues boss Frank Lampard will be without a number of players for the trip to Amsterdam. 

Midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N’Golo Kante and Ross Barkley are out while defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger will also miss the clash. 

Chelsea have taken a 19-man squad to Holland. Left-back Emerson Palmieri is included, as is winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Lampard confirmed that Hudson-Odoi could be ready to make his first Champions League start.  

“I think he is,” said Lampard. “So are some other players and there comes my problem but it’s a competitive squad.”  

How the teams could line up according to Uefa.com
  • Ajax possible starting XI: Onana; Dest, Veltman, Blind, Tagliafico; Martínez, Van de Beek, Álvarez; Ziyech, Tadić, Promes 
  • Out: Bandé (fitness)
  • Chelsea possible starting XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori; James, Kovačić, Jorginho, Alonso; Willian, Abraham, Mount 
  • Out: Rüdiger (knee), Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Kanté (groin), Barkley (ankle), Christensen (hamstring)

Pundit predictions 

Chris Smith, Squawka: Ajax 1 Chelsea 1

“This is an extremely mouth-watering clash between two teams that are in red-hot form and cannot afford to slip up in this tight Champions League group. Defeat would be especially damaging to Chelsea, so expect Lampard’s team to bunker in and play on the break, although a point might not be a terrible result on the road.”

Sean Wilson, SportsMole: Ajax 2 Chelsea 1

“Ajax are unbeaten in all competitions and have brushed aside their first two Champions League opponents, so it’s hard to go against last year’s semi-finalists, particularly at home. Chelsea have struggled a little on the European stage this season and could be undone by a well-oiled outfit on this occasion.”

Joe Rutter, The Stats Zone

“Ajax have not conceded in their last four European games but that run may well end against an improving Chelsea side who have only failed to score in one of their last 12 games in all competitions. Both teams are characterised by youth and flair, which should make for an open contest.”

Kevin Palmer, Irish Independent

“One of the most attractive Champions League fixtures of the week sees last season’s semi-finalists take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in Amsterdam, with Ajax continuing to defy their doubters with impressive performances at the start of this season. Despite the departures of star men Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Kasper Dolberg last summer, Ajax are still proving themselves to be a force at home and in the Champions League, with their convincing wins against Lille and Valencia putting Erik ten Hag’s side in pole position in group H ahead of back-to-back games against Chelsea. Verdict: A score draw in an entertaining encounter.”

Charlie Nicholas, Sky Sports: Ajax 2 Chelsea 2

“People are quite rightly complimenting Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi. At this age, they will go through a quiet spell, but does Frank Lampard keep them in during this or take them out for the Champions League? Ajax will look to have a lot of possession whereas Chelsea normally get that. They are a good counter-attack team but Ajax will cause them problems.” 

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