Aston Villa vs Ajax: Preview and Prediction

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa can make it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa Conference League with a win over Ajax in the second leg.

With the scores level heading into the second leg, both Aston Villa and Ajax have an equal chance of making it to the next round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Villa have been excellent this term, and a win here will be a huge boost for Unai Emery’s men. Meanwhile, Ajax have not had the best of seasons. They have bounced back over the past few months, and moving one step closer to the Conference League title will be considered a huge result for them.

The Johan Cruyff Arena played host to the first leg, which ended 0-0 with both sides having a player sent off. The home team dominated the ball, but they could not create enough chances. Both Ajax and Aston Villa only had one shot each on target.

For either of them to go through, they will have to ensure they do a much better job in the final third of the pitch. Villa are heading into this one on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. They will have to put up an improved performance to go through to the next round.

Meanwhile, Ajax are heading into the second leg on the back of a 2-2 draw against Fortuna Sittard. Despite dominating the proceedings, they could not take away all three points. If they want to get better for Emery’s team in their own backyard, they will have to do much better. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics

Aston Villa

Ezri Konsa will be serving a suspension alongside Nicolo Zaniolo after being sent off in the first leg. Emery will be without the services of Emiliano Buendia, Boubacar Kamara, Jhon Duran and Tyrone Mings. Meanwhile, Jacob Ramsey might not be able to make it back in time for this fixture.

The home team will go ahead with the 4-4-2 formation, where Emiliano Martinez will be in goal. Matty Cash and Alex Moreno will be the full-backs for them. The duo will look to help out the centre-back pairing of Pau Torres and Diego Carlos.

In the centre of the park, John McGinn and Youri Tielemans will feature out wide, while Douglas Luiz will pair up with 20-year-old Tim Iroegbunam in a more central role. The midfield will look to ensure they do not allow Ajax to dominate the proceedings. Moussa Diaby will start alongside Ollie Watkins as the two forwards. Diaby will look to drift wide at every possible opportunity, while Watkins will feature in a more central role.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Martinez; Cash, Carlos, Torres, Moreno; McGinn, Luiz, Iroegbunam, Tielemans; Diaby, Watkins

Aston Villa vs Ajax Predicted XI


Ezri Konsa wasn’t the only one who got sent off in the first leg, as even Tristan Gooijer was dismissed and is now suspended for this one. However, Ajax do have a boost as Devyne Rensch is back after serving a suspension. The visitors will be without the services of Steven Bergwijn and Steven Berghuis.

Ajax will go ahead with the 3-4-2-1 formation, with Diant Ramaj taking charge in goal. In the heart of the defence, Jorrel Hato will start alongside Josip Sutalo and Ahmetcan Kapla. Devyne Rensch and Borna Sosa will feature as the wing-backs. The duo will provide width to their attacks and will also look to help out their back three.

Liverpool legend Jordan Henderson will start alongside Sivert Mannsverk in the centre of the park. They will look to control the tempo of the game. Kristian Hlynsson and Kenneth Taylor will feature as two attacking midfielders just behind Brian Brobbey, who will be leading the line for them.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Ramaj; Sutalo, Kaplan, Hato; Rensch, Mannsverk, Henderson, Sosa; Hlynsson, Taylor; Brobbey

Aston Villa vs Ajax Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Aston Villa are winless in their last two matches heading into this fixture.
  • The first leg between the two teams ended 0-0 with a player on both sides being sent off.
  • Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are currently fourth in the Premier League on the back of an exceptional season so far.
  • Ajax have not had the best of the seasons, as they are fifth in the Dutch league and the only silverware they can win this season is the UEFA Europa Conference League.
  • The Dutch giants have won two, drawn two and lost one out of their last five games in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Moussa Diaby

Embed from Getty Images

Diaby has done a decent job since joining Aston Villa last summer. He has featured in a total of 39 matches for Unai Emery’s team and has contributed towards 13 goals. While those are decent returns and Villa as a team have been superb, they still expect more from the 24-year-old winger. The English club will hope he brings his A game to the table against Ajax and helps them make it to the quarter-finals.


Aston Villa 2-1 Ajax

While it promises to be a closely-fought encounter just like the first leg, Aston Villa are expected to assert their dominance at home against Ajax. The recent form of both the clubs has been quite similar.

But overall, Aston Villa have had a much better campaign, and they will be confident about their chances. The influential Moussa Diaby may just tip the scales in their favour, and that is why The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 2-1 triumph for the home team.

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