Ajax Over 1.5 team goals at 1.87 with Pinnacle - 2 units (min 1.77)
- Roma were very much 2nd best in the 1st leg in Amsterdam, (won 2-1). The Italians allowed Ajax many quality chances inside their box (3.12 xG) and were fortunate to be let off the hook. Pau Lopez (Roma) was outstanding on the night, making 9 saves.
- At the weekend, they were arguably 2nd best, too, as they hosted Bologna. The Giallorossi played out an even contest. Bologna put up an xG total of 1.31, got off 11 attempts (2/3 big chances)
- Roma are particularly poor against higher quality opposition, and that was seen in the 1st leg with Ajax.
- In Roma's last 10 with top 6 sides (Serie A), they have won just once (W1 D5 L4) and have conceded 2 goals on average per game.
- Ajax, at least in terms of their ELO rankings, are probably similar strength to the likes of Napoli/AC Milan (both top 6 in Italy).
- Roma will be without 3 defensive first-team players, with Smalling, Kumbulla, and Spinazzola missing.
- Smalling has only 17 appearances for Roma this season. With him on the pitch, their team xGA average is at its best (1.05)
- Expected XI: Lopez, Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Diawara, Veretout, Calafiori, Pellegrini, Pedro, Dzeko
- Ajax's xG p90 in Europe as a whole this season has been excellent (2.06). When we consider they played Liverpool, Lille, and Atalanta twice; that looks even more impressive to me.
- Only in one game did they fail to produce much, and that was against Atalanta. Atalanta set up in a 5-3-2 defensive shape in that game and did enough to frustrate Ajax. It worked.
- Ajax are likely to have Klassen, Gravenberch, Antony, Tadic, and Neres on the pitch from the start. These 5 players (+1500 mins) have been Ajax's main goal contributors (Goals + Assists) this season, so I don't anticipate any problems in the attacking third.
- At the back they should still be vulnerable which means they'll likely need to be very aggressive to have a chance of qualifying.
- Under Ten Haag, Ajax have only been beaten twice in 2-legged European ties. Once against Spurs and once against Getafe. Only in one Euro KO game have Ajax failed to score, that came away to Getafe last season
Final word: Roma simply put are not good enough defensively to contain this Ajax side for 90 mins. Expect a highly charged game with plenty of chances at either end.