Chelsea 4 - Ajax 4 - Group Stage
UEFA Champions League
Despite Martinez’s early withdrawal during Friday’s 4-2 win at Zwolle, Ten Hag names the same lineup that maintained their unbeaten start to their domestic campaign. Ziyech is tasked as the trequartista to supply the ammunition for the in-form Neres and Promes, while goalkeeper Amana, as well as Martinez, are each a booking away from a one-match ban.
Lampard makes only one change from the side that won at Watford over the weekend, with Alonso favoured at left-back over Emerson. Kante and Christensen have also been deemed fit enough to be named among the substitutes. In a surprise move, Olivier Giroud is out of the matchday squad altogether, leaving Batshuayi and Hudson-Odoi as the Blues’ only attacking options off the bench.
Chelsea are the third English side in Champions League history to come from three goals behind to avoid defeat and the first since Liverpool in May 2005 (3-3 v AC Milan).
Chelsea have conceded 4+ goals in a single Champions League game for only the third time in their history and first time since drawing 4-4 at home to Liverpool in April 2009.
Ajax have scored 4+ goals in a game against an English team in all European competition for only the second time (also 5-1 vs Liverpool in December 1966 at home in the European Cup).
For the neutral, this was a game that had everything. Mesmerising play from both sides, player dismissals, penalties, a comeback from a large deficit, and the only thing missing was a winner. But in the end, both Chelsea and Ajax will feel that they should have emerged from this fixture with a win, despite the latter having had both of their centre-backs sent off in quick succession. Lampard’s Blues will feel aggrieved that Azpilicueta’s 78th-minute strike was disallowed thanks to VAR, but he will undoubtedly be pleased at his side’s reaction after starting the second half with intent and purpose. As for Ten Hag, he will see this as an opportunity lost after leading 4-1, with the turning point being Blind’s and Veltman’s red cards, and he and his charges will head back to Amsterdam the less happier of the two sides. With Valencia’s 4-1 win over Lille, the LaLiga side are now equal on points with Chelsea and Ajax on seven, leaving Group H wide open for the coveted top two spots.
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