• Analysis

Match Preview: Chelsea vs AFC Ajax

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Chelsea welcomes Ajax to Stamford Bridge for their UEFA Champions League encounter tonight at 21:00 (CET).

Group H leaders, Chelsea and AFC Ajax square off in the Champions League fourth round this evening.

Both former European champions are set for a vital encounter in London, as they share the top of the table with six points on their account, two more than nearest challengers for one of the two spots which guarantee a place in the Round of 16, Valencia.

A Michy Batshuayi strike was the difference between the sides, when they faced each other at the Johan Cruyff Arena two weeks ago.

It was the first, and still only defeat for the Jews from their 19 outings across all competitions this season.

They are now heading into the Stamford Bridge clash on the back of a successful weekend which saw Chelsea defeat Watford 2-1 at the Vicarage Road and Ajax register a 4-2 win at Zwolle on Friday evening.

Team news

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard confirmed that French midfielder N’Golo Kante is set to return from injury for tonight’s clash with the Dutch champions.

Midfielder Ross Barkley and defender Andreas Christensen are also back in training after spells on the sidelines last month, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger remain out for the Blues.

New signings Lisandro Martinez and Edson Alvarez are doubtful for the visitors, as they were both forced off in the 4-2 win over Zwolle four days ago.

Donny van de Beek also limped off at the MAC³PARK Stadium last Friday, but is expected to recover in time for the Champions League clash with last season’s Europa League winners.

Stats

Chelsea have a 100 per cent-win record in UEFA Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, beating Feyenoord twice in the 1999/2000 season and Ajax on MD3 this season.

Ajax have never lost an away UEFA Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019.

Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.

The London club have scored three goals or more in five of their last 11 European matches. Their tally of 36 goals in last season’s UEFA Europa League was one short of the competition record set by Porto in 2010/11.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two.

Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).

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