Tottenham vs Ajax Preview
It is the battle of the underdogs when Tottenham face Ajax in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Tuesday night.
Both the teams have toppled favorites en route to the top four and will be buzzing to make it to the final in Madrid. Tottenham started their campaign with Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven in their group. After a shaky start, Mauricio Pochettino’s men showed great resolve to progress at the expense of Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven.
This was followed by an exciting Round of 16 match-ups against Borussia Dortmund, who were favorites to win the tie. However, Spurs progressed without conceding a single goal. One of the tournament favorites, Manchester City, were their opponents in the quarters.
The tie turned out to be a classic with the London side progressing on away goals and some help from VAR (Video Assistant Referees). Spurs battled squad depth, injuries and playing second legs away from home to reach the final four for the first time in 57 years.
Their opponents, Ajax, have already earned the moniker of ‘giant killers’ due to their exploits in the tournament. The Dutch side finished second in their group behind Bayern Munich and drew defending champions Real Madrid in the first knockout round.
Playing with freedom and sticking to the legendary Ajax philosophy, they overturned a 2-1 home loss in the first leg to win 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu and progress. Their top drawer performance earned them a quarterfinal clash against one of the tournament favorites Juventus.
Once again, they overpowered the might of Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo with a 2-1 win in the second leg in Turin. Erik ten Hag continues to do an outstanding job with a right mix of youth and experience in his side as Ajax are playing in the semifinals in the competition for the first time since 1997.
Now, the two underdogs are facing off for a place in the final where they will face one of Liverpool or Barcelona.
Injuries and Suspensions
Spurs are expected to be without Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela, Serge Aurier and Harry Winks. Jan Vertonghen is expected to be fit while Son Heung-min will be a big miss as he serves a one-match suspension.
Ajax have no significant injury or suspension concerns with Erik ten Hag having the majority of the squad at his disposal. The ones who are missing the game are Noussair Mazraoui, Carel Eiting, and Hassane Bande, all out injured.
Tottenham vs Ajax Prediction
While Spurs are doing well in Europe, their general form is mixed with the latest loss coming at the hands of West Ham at their new stadium. They have won only 5 of their last 13 games, a worrying record.
On the other hand, Ajax are in red-hot form, winning 13 of their last 15 games. Further, the Dutch side have been in free-scoring form this season, with 160 goals across all competitions. Thirty-two of those goals came in the Champions League at a healthy average of 3.2 goals per game.
However, Tottenham will hold an edge over their visitors at home and will look to win the match to carry an advantage into the second leg. The lack of their main forwards is a definite worry, especially against an opponent like Ajax, who look to score in every game.
The Dutch side have scored 24 goals in their last eight away games across all competitions, winning 7 of them. On top of that, the Eredivisie have postponed the weekend games to give Erik ten Hag’s side a better chance of progressing. Thus Pochettino’s men have a real job on their hands, and both teams could share the spoils.
Both Teams to Score- Yes @ 1.67 at William Hill
Predicted Tottenham XI: Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Trippier, Wanyama, Eriksen, Rose; Alli, Moura, Llorente
Predicted Ajax XI: Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico; Schone, De Jong; Ziyech, Van de Beek, Neres; Tadic
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