Both these sides have been involved in some of the most incredible games in this year’s Champions League competition and we’re all waiting in anticipation of this clash.
Ajax are of course the surprise package this year. They’ve conquered Madrid at the Bernabeau, Juventus in Turin and now they’ll be eyeing up a victory in London to set themselves up for a fairy tale final against either Liverpool or Barcelona. Often when an underdog goes on such a run, there is always the sense that it has to come to an end soon. Look at some of the famous FA Cup runs for example or even look at the likes of Slavia Prague in The Europa League. But with this Ajax side there isn’t that same impending disappointment; this isn’t a side who’ve road their luck, it’s a group of exceptionally talented young players who have every bit of grit and determination to match. The Dutch side are priced at 2.88 to win the game which is indicative of how far they’ve come, had this been a group stage match I could only imagine how high that price would’ve been.
Tottenham got through the most dramatic of semi-finals against Manchester City after VAR ruled out an injury time goal from Raheem Sterling that would’ve sent The Citizens through. It was a break that Tottenham deserved over the course of the two legs, as they were superb. They stayed regimented and compact in the home game and kept out what would’ve been a vital City away goal and then, in Manchester they showed their quality in attack and their character throughout the team to battle back several times when they looked on the verge of crashing out. The hosts are slender favourites to win this leg at a price of 2.5.
Ajax have no fresh injury concerns and will be at full strength for their trip to London. The dynamic attack of Ziyech, Neres and Tadic has been at the forefront of their success. Ziyech could be crucial here; his ability to move in to central positions and augment the midfield will allow Ajax to build up their attacks in triangles as they do so well whilst simultaneously making it harder for Spurs to break them down. Mathijs De Ligt has starred for the Dutch giants, the 19 year old captain has displayed all the quality of a world class central defender and a level of maturity much beyond his years. Dusan Tadic is the primary threat for Ajax, the former Southampton man has had a hand in a ridiculous 51 goals this season in all competitions and his performance in Madrid will go down as one of the finest individual displays in Champions League history.
Tottenham will wish they had the luxury of a fully available squad but the reality is that they’re in serious trouble. Heung Min-Son has been incredible for them, especially in the absence of Harry Kane but a yellow card against City means he is suspended for this first leg. Fernando Llorente will lead the line and means Spurs will have to adopt a very different game plan from the one that deployed in the last round as Son’s high energy style and pace isn’t matched by the Spaniard. It’s unclear who will play in midfield for Spurs; Sissoko and Winks will be assessed as late as possible. It’s likely that Christian Eriksen will play in a deeper position with Lucas Moura starting alongside Dele Alli as the main avenues of support for Llorente. Serge Aurier is also absent for this one so Kieran Tripper will definitely be included, he’ll have a lot to do as he goes up against David Neres.
I think Tottenham’s injury and suspension issues are going to be incredibly detrimental to their success in this first leg and I think that’s reflected in how close the two sides are in terms of their odds. Ajax have already shown what they’re capable of in their last two away trips and I can see them making it three in a row here. They’ve won four in a row on the road and have been beaten just once in their last 15 outings. They’ll field the same side that has got them to this point and I think Tottenham’s slightly makeshift side is going to struggle to cope. Afterall, Ajax have hit well over 100 goals this season and have an availability of goals right across the pitch.
The absence of Heung Min-Son cannot be understated. He’s been vital this season especially when Harry Kane has been unavailable, his performances over both legs against City were exceptional and they simply wouldn’t be here without him. Llorente has his own qualities and does provide a different form of threat but he’s not the same calibre of player as Son. You’ve still got to fancy Tottenham to get on the scoresheet as they know they can’t afford to leave it until the second leg to get going; given how dangerous this Ajax side is.
Ajax win and BTTS @ 5.0
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.85
Ajax draw no bet @ 1.95