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UEFA Champions League 2019/20: Ajax vs Chelsea - tactical analysis tactics

Chelsea Fight Back in Eight Goal Thriller at the Bridge

Was there anything missing from the Chelsea vs Ajax clash on Tuesday night? It had it all. The excitement wasn’t just confined to goals, even though we had eight of them including three from Chelsea to fight back after being 4-1 and pick up what could turn out to be a vital point. We also had cards, two red cards for Ajax to be precise, with two penalties, two own goals and more VAR controversy thrown in for good measure. What a night it was at Stamford Bridge.

First Half Goals Put Ajax in Control

Pre-match odds provided by Zulabet were positioning Chelsea as a slight favourite. We only had to wait two minutes for the first goal of the night. Ajax had an early free-kick which was whipped into the box, only for Tammy Abraham to get a flick on it, which ended up in the back of the Chelsea net. A couple of minutes later and Chelsea were level thanks to a Jorginho penalty.

Five minutes in and two goals, one an own goal and one a penalty, we should have known then what type of night we were in for.

A Quincy Promes header followed by another own goal, this time by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga gave the visitors a 3-1 lead at half time and also gave the game a bizarre stat line. Ajax had one shot on goal in the first half but left the field with a 3-1 lead.

Four More Goals, Two Red Cards and a VAR Appearance

We sometimes see games with a thrilling first 45 minutes fade away in the second half but if anything, the drama went up a notch last night. 10 minutes into the half and Ajax found themselves with a fourth, and at this point, anything other than them taking three points home seemed a little far-fetched.

Cesar Azpilicueta pulled one back for The Blues to give them a little hope and make the game 4-2, and it is at this point where the game really turned on its head with a disastrous few seconds for Ajax.

Daley Blind, already booked in the first half, hit Tammy Abraham hard with a challenge and looked in trouble, although the referee allowed Chelsea to play on as they had the ball. This eventually fell to Callum Hudson-Odoi who had a shot blocked by the arm of Joel Veltman, also booked in the first half and Blind’s centre half partner.

The referee put together all three to give Chelsea a huge advantage, giving them a penalty for the handball, sending Veltman off for the handball and then going back to Blind and sending him off for the challenge on Abraham. Moments later it was 4-3, Chelsea were playing against nine men and it was game on.

Recce James was the hero late on, scoring to bring the scores level with 16 minutes to go and from that point, Chelsea really should have won it. Of course, we can no longer have a game of football bringing us excitement without VAR getting involved and it did right at the end. Lampard’s 11 men thought they had won it with a second from Azpilicueta only for the referee to rule the goal out for handball on Tammy Abraham after VAR intervened.

A wild night at Stamford Bridge, one that many won’t forget for a very long time and a point each was probably a fair reflection of the game overall.