Utrecht VS Ajax Prediction
“Stadion Galgenwaard” in the city of Utrecht is set to host one of the very intriguing games from round 19 of the Dutch Eredivisie, where early on Sunday Utrecht takes on Ajax Amsterdam. Both clubs began the new 2017 with victories on the road but if Utrecht has an opportunity to return at home, Ajax must chase another victory away from home. Anything else could be fateful for visitors from Amsterdam, who are in shadow of their fierce rivals Feyenoord.
Eredivisie: FC Utrecht vs Ajax 22.01.2017 – Match Preview
FC Utrecht are undefeated in their last six home matches after suffering three consecutive losses in opening weeks of the season. All solid efforts are placing Utrecht on the sixth position and Erik ten Hag’s men are unbeaten in 12 competitive fixtures. Actually last defeat of Utrecht remains early in October and it came exactly against their current opponents Ajax. If we have to be even more detailed game was on 2 October 2016 when Utrecht lost 3-2 at the “Amsterdam ArenA” in Dutch capital Amsterdam. Left-back of Utrecht Kevin Conboy opened the score and his goal even secured a half-time lead for the visitors. Second half started with an own goal for Ramon Leeuwin, which has been followed by two more goals from Ajax’s midfielders Lasse Schöne and Hakim Ziyech. Utrecht’s defender Mark van der Maarel returned one goal only seconds after he came on the pitch, but that happened too late (90+).
More than three months later Utrecht can boast with 8 wins and 4 draws in its last 12 fixtures (including The Dutch Cup games), placing them on just three points from a fifth-placed AZ Alkmaar. Fifth was their position at the end of season 2015-16 and we are sure club from Utrecht has some aspirations for reaching the UEFA Europa League. Last season Utrecht lost to Heracles in the final European playoff, which may arouse even higher determination.
Ajax will be keen to achieve its first double over Utrecht after that during season 2007-08, otherwise gap between squad led by Peter Bosz and leaders Feyenoord can even increase. Feyenoord will host to Willem II on Saturday night, so if club from Rotterdam wins, The Amsterdammers may find themselves in a must win situation. Potential success of Feyenoord will make distance of both rivals 8 points, so everything else than victory in Utrecht can be lethal for Ajax’s title ambitions. Of course, there are still lot of rounds till the end of the 2016-17 campaign, but we are sure “de Godenzonen” do not want to find themselves in such a situation.
Ajax closed 2016 with a draw against PSV in Amsterdam, which was quite a devastating outcome for both clubs. Indeed, a draw in that game was the perfect score for Feyenoord, but after all PSV can be partially pleased with a point. That’s because PSV were losing until final part of the match, when Ajax failed to provide solid defending and Siem de Jong used an opportunity to level the score.
Team News, Squads and Missing Players
The new 2017 started with a journey to Zwolle, where Ajax won 1-3 over one of the struggling Eredivisie sides. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne gave Ajax the lead, while Hakim Ziyech scored twice and this once again highlights huge importance of all midfielders in the club from Amsterdam. Except Schöne and Ziyech, captain Davy Klaassen is third one from Ajax’s central midfield trio and they should all be on fire against Utrecht.
Peter Bosz cannot rely on two of the injured youngsters (generally team of Ajax is based mostly on young footballers, so…) – Pelle Clement and Vaclav Cerny. Third young footballer to miss another round for Ajax is attacker Bertrand Traoré who represents Burkina Faso at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Erik ten Hag will hope to slip Ajax and Utrecht’s manager will probably choose same starting XI as he did against Sparta Rotterdam (1-2) last weekend. The 46-year-old Dutch manager has its own selection issues related with absence of an injured quartet – Jeff Hardeveld, Edson Braafheid, Giovanni Troupée and Rico Strieder.
Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Despite some missing players, Utrecht’s attacking strength is ready for action and that seems the best way to oppose Ajax. Truly, guests from Amsterdam are not a club which is known with excellent defensive mentality. Even if they have conceded only 14 goals in 18 Eredivisie rounds, Utrecht are surely one of the sides capable to score against Ajax, like they already did in Amsterdam.
Ajax have only won two of their last six away matches and Peter Bosz perfectly realizes his squad won’t have a restful weekend in Utrecht. Moreover, Ajax have won just once from their previous 8 games in Utrecht, draws are three in that number, while FC Utrecht can boast with 4 wins. One of them is a remarkable 6-4 from 6 November 2011, when Ajax were leading 2-3 on HT, but Utrecht showed a superb attacking display in second half of the match.
We find all preconditions to expect another clash where Utrecht and Ajax are both likely to score, so our betting prediction suggests “Both teams to score – Yes“.
Venue: “Stadion Galgenwaard”, Utrecht.
Referee: Björn Kuipers.
Possible Lineups of FC Utrecht and Ajax
FC Utrecht: David Jensen – Robin van der Meer, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Mark van der Maarel – Yassin Ayoub, Wout Brama, Sofyan Amrabat – Nacer Barazite – Sebastien Haller, Richairo Zivkovic. (4-3-1-2)
AFC Ajax: André Onana – Joël Veltman, Davinson Sánchez, Nick Viergever, Daley Sinkgraven – Hakim Ziyech, Lasse Schöne, Davy Klaassen – Anwar El Ghazi, Amin Younes, Kasper Dolberg. (4-3-3)