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Ajax v Aston Villa – Preview, Predictions, and Best Bets

Ajax host Aston Villa in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday in Amsterdam.

Conference League

Ajax host Aston Villa in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday in Amsterdam. The hosts have begun to turn around their poor season, but they face a Villa side with four away wins in the last six. Goals are likely in this match with Ajax’s last four matches in competition producing 18 goals.

Ajax Form

Ajax made a terrible start to this season, eventually firing coach Maurice Steijn after four successive losses in the league. John Van’t Schip took over as caretaker coach and positively affected their Eredivisie form with twelve wins and four draws in his first 16 league matches in charge.

The recent form has seen a dip. Ajax lost 3-2 at Heerenveen before a 2-2 home draw in the Europa League vs Bodo/Glimt. After a 2-2 home league draw vs NEC, they won 2-1 at Bodo/Glimt to progress 4-3 on aggregate. A 2-0 loss at AZ and then a 2-0 win over Utrecht sees the Dutch giants sit fifth in the table.

Ajax Team News

Jordan Henderson is expected to return to the XI after being an unused substitute in the last match. Speedy winger Steven Bergwijn is doubtful and will need a late fitness test.

Three other players are also at risk of missing this match because of knocks. Left winger Amourricho van Axel Dongen, left back Gaston Avila and midfielder Mika Godts are all currently on the treatment table. Central defender Josip Sutalo is ruled out due to injury.

Ajax Motivation

This is a must-win match for Ajax because they know how difficult the second leg will be. They will go all out to win this clash and have a lead to take to Villa Park.

In a miserable season, this competition gives a chance to rescue their season. They will play a back five when defending but will look to take the game to Emery’s charges.

Aston Villa Form

Having had a run of just one loss in 17 matches earlier in the season, Villa are now struggling for consistency. A run of four losses in nine matches followed with three victories in that streak. A 3-1 home loss to Newcastle was a surprise but Villa bounced back to win 5-0 at Sheffield United.

Successive home losses followed as their form at Villa Park surprisingly began to be a problem. They lost 3-1 to Chelsea in the FA Cup and 2-1 to Man Utd in those home defeats. Emery’s side have well and truly bounced back in recent weeks. A 2-1 win at Fulham preceded a 4-2 home win over Nottingham Forest and a 3-2 victory at Luton.

Aston Villa Team News

Unai Emery is without Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings due to long-term injuries. A serious knee injury has ruled out Boubacar Kamara and both Diego Carlos and forward Jhon Duran will play no part here.

Pau Torres should be recalled after playing no minutes at Luton. Jacob Ramsey went off injured in that win and could be replaced by Moussa Diaby or Nicolo Zaniolo.

Aston Villa Motivation

Villa have treated this competition very seriously so far. They will believe they can win this trophy as well as finish in the top four or five in the Premier League.

They would be happy to draw this first leg and take Ajax to Villa Park next week and finish the job.

Key Stats

Ajax have drawn 3 of their last 4 home matches

Ajax’s last 4 European matches have produced 18 goals (11 goals, 7 conceded)

Villa have lost just once in 11 away matches (4 wins in the last 6)

Aston Villa have scored 20 goals in their last 11 away fixtures

Villa’s 4 away matches in the Europa Conference League have seen 17 goals (12 scored, 5 conceded)


Based on recent stats, this match should produce plenty of goals. Villa are strong enough to leave Amsterdam with a draw at least.

Best Bet: Aston Vila win/draw double chance + Over 2.5 goals at 1.90
Alternative Bet: Over 3.5 goals at 2.25
Value Bet: Draw at 3.90

James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter:

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