Three key talking points from Chelsea’s draw with Ajax


Chelsea vs Ajax

Chelsea played host to Ajax on Tuesday evening, as they looked to cement a place atop of Group H.

The two sides headed into the tie joint-top of their group, with six points from three outings.

But Chelsea knew that if they lost to Ajax and Valencia beat Lille in the remaining Group H tie, then the Premier League outfit would have slipped out of the qualification spots.

Chelsea’s last Champions League tie was also against Ajax, and was arguably their most impressive display under the guidance of Frank Lampard.

Chelsea’s starting line-up vs Ajax was pretty standard, with Marcos Alonso for Emerson the only change from this past weekend.

Here are three key talking points from the clash.

Promes & Ziyech terrorise Chelsea

Ajax didn’t create too much in the reverse fixture vs Chelsea last month.

However, the Dutch champions hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge.

Two players who epitomised Ajax’s fantastic attacking threat on Tuesday were Quincy Promes and Hakim Ziyech.

It would be Promes’ free-kick that Tammy Abraham touched into his own net less than three minutes into the tie.

Promes would then regain Ajax their lead in the 20th minute.

The scintillating attacker got in behind Cesar Azpilicueta to head in a superb cross from Hakim Ziyech to make it 2-1.

Ziyech then attempted an audacious free-kick in the 35th minute to give Ajax a 3-1 lead.

The goal was awarded as a Kepa Arrizabalaga own goal, but Ziyech should still be given a lot of credit for his effort.

Ziyech would also provide the assist for Ajax’s 4th of the evening.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: Quincy Promes of AFC Ajax celebrates with Hakim Ziyech after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and AFC Ajax at Stamford Bridge on November 05, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s fighting spirit

While Chelsea’s first-half display was far from great, they really should be credited for their superb fighting spirit.

Chelsea started the second-half the much better of the two sides, and looked as though they may edge their way back into the game.

However, Donny van de Beek then made it 4-1 in the 55th minute.

Despite having had a three-goal deficit to overturn, Chelsea’s young squad kept going, and put on a very mature display, which was eventually rewarded in the 63rd minute when Cesar Azpilicueta made it 4-2.

Then, after seeing two Ajax players shown red cards in quick succession, Chelsea managed to draw the game level thanks to a second Jorginho penalty, and a 74th-minute Reece James strike.

While most teams would have rolled over and given up at 4-1 down, Lampard’s side kept pressing, kept attacking and should be given huge plaudits for their efforts.

Reece James also became Chelsea’s youngest-ever goalscorer in the Champions League with his equaliser.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: Reece James of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 4-4 during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and AFC Ajax at Stamford Bridge on November 5, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Mason Mount injured

But Chelsea did experience one blow during their exemplary second-half display. That was losing one of their top midfielders to injury.

Since Frank Lampard took the reins at Chelsea, Mason Mount has been an integral member of their senior squad.

The midfield maestro has had a solid start to the 2019/20 campaign, which has seen him score four and assist two in 11 Premier League ties.

However, Mount took a nasty-looking knock in the second 45 vs Ajax, and had to be withdrawn.

Chelsea’s next tie sees them face Crystal Palace on Saturday, and with Jorginho suspended for the clash, they are no doubt hopeful that Mount’s injury isn’t too serious.

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