It was yet another memorable Michy Batshuayi away goal that got us the victory a fortnight ago in Amsterdam, and that means Chelsea have a fantastic chance to take firm control of our Champions League group with tonight’s reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge. Both teams come in on six points — Chelsea top due to the head-to-head tiebreaker — with three games to play (i.e. halfway through the group stage).
One oddity about the meeting will be the lack of away supporters, after UEFA banned Ajax from selling tickets for this game. Thanks to resales, there will probably still be plenty of non-Chelsea fans in the crowd, but there won’t be the usual raucous section as we’d expect on a European night.
Still, the occasion will be grand, just as the stakes.
Date / Time: Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 20:00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi — we last saw the highly experienced Italian official in last year’s Europa League final, which Chelsea won handily over Arsenal, 4-1.
Forecast: Cloudy and cool, with a bit of breeze and chance of rain
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); TNT (USA); SONY TEN 1 (India); SuperSport 5 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); WatchTNT, B/R Live, TUDNxtra (USA); SONY LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: The Blues are about as healthy as we’ve been all season, with N’Golo Kanté once again fit, and both Ross Barkley and Andreas Christensen possibly available as well. That leaves only Antonio Rüdiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as first-team players missing in action. There’s no timetable for either’s return, with Rüdiger seeing a specialist regarding his groin issue and Loftus-Cheek still recovering from the major Achilles rupture he suffered in May.
Despite Kanté’s frequent absences, Chelsea have won 8 of 9, with the only loss coming last midweek in the easily discarded League Cup competition. We will have one more match, Saturday against Crystal Palace, a noon kickoff, before the calendar year’s final international break arrives.
Jorginho will be suspended for that match, so he’ll likely keep his place as Chelsea play for the third time in just seven days. Lampard will undoubtedly want to stick with the hot hand(s) in his team, but we might see a few changes from 72 hours ago to keep legs fresh.
Ajax Amsterdam team news: Ajax followed up their loss to Chelsea by putting four past both Feyenoord and PEC Zwolle in the Eredivisie, maintaining a six-point lead over AZ at the top as they bid to defend their league title.
Ajax had a clean bill of health for the last match, but will be without Edson Alvarez, who suffered a concussion by way of a sharp elbow over the weekend. Fellow center back Lisandro Martínez also picked up a knock — prompting the arrival of Alvarez into the game in the first place — but he’s apparently okay to play.
Ajax coach Ten Hag billed Chelsea as one of the favorites for the Champions League, but he will absolutely be looking to spoil Chelsea’s night.