Two weeks ago, we saw Chelsea take on Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on matchday three at the Johan Cruyff Arena, where Chelsea were able to get a late goal and win the match 0-1 much to the surprise of many. Last year’s semi-finalists were coming to Stamford Bridge on a mission to retaliate, and claim the top spot of Group E.

All was going to plan for the Dutch side, up 1-3 by half-time, and scoring a fourth in the 55th minute. However, that fell apart after two successive red cards to Erik ten Hag’s team which saw them understandably crumble against Frank Lampard’s side who had a two-man advantage. The match finished 4-4, allowing Chelsea to keep the top spot in the group solely on goal difference.

This tactical analysis will use analysis to look at the tactics both teams employed to see why Ajax were so dominant in the first half, and how they were able to neutralize Chelsea until the two red cards.


UEFA Champions League 2019/20: Chelsea vs Ajax - tactical analysis tactics
Lineups [via Wyscout].
Lampard lined up his side in a 4-3-3 formation, very similar to the one named in Amsterdam. Kepa Arrizabalaga started once again in goal, with a back four of César Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, and Marcos Alonso in front of him. While Lampard claimed earlier that Chelsea’s best and most consistent midfielder, N’Golo Kanté, was back from injury, he seemed to still be cautious about his playing time.

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