Ajax vs Aston Villa Prediction: Stalemate in Amsterdam?

 | March 06 | 

3 mins read

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Two former European Cup champions will take to the Johan Cruyff Arena on Thursday evening (KO, 17:45), as Ajax host Aston Villa in the first leg of their Europa Conference League round of 16 tie. The Dutch giants were consigned to a place in European football's third-tier competition after finishing behind Brighton and Marseille in their Europa League group, and must now face a side impressing in the Premier League.

Below we have previewed the clash, which is live on TNT Sports, and offered our Ajax vs Aston Villa predictions with some betting tips to consider.

Ajax vs Aston Villa Betting Tips

  • Draw @ 16/5
  • Ollie Watkins to score anytime @ 23/20

Ajax head into this one on the back of a 2-0 win over Utrecht - the first time they had won a game inside 90 minutes since January 27. It's been a shocking season by their standards and there is a lot riding on this competition for them.

The mood couldn't be any different at Villa, who have enjoyed a remarkable Premier League campaign under the tutelage of Unai Emery, and are favourites (5/2) to lift the Europa Conference League trophy in Athens on May 29.

Team News

John van't Schip will be without Josip Sutalo on Thursday after the Croatian defender's red card in the second leg of their play-off tie with Bodo/Glimt last month. Sutalo joins injured duo Steven Berghuis and Steven Bergwijn on the sidelines.

Jordan Henderson is expected to lead the side as he makes his first competitive club appearance against English opposition since his Liverpool exit last summer.

Villa are still missing injured trio Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia and Boubacar Kamara, and there are doubts over Jacob Ramsey who was substituted midway through Saturday's 3-2 win at Luton Town.

Diego Carlos and Jhon Duran have returned to training following spells out injured but it would be a surprise if either is involved on Thursday.

Pau Torres has been suffering himself recently and was an unused substitute against the Hatters; the Spaniard could be kept on the bench again with a big game on the weekend looming.

Moussa Diaby and Lucas Digne could earn starts after they combined for Saturday's winning goal.

Match Odds

The fall from grace of Ajax and the rise of Villa has been reflected in the pre-match odds, with the hosts 7/2, or a 22.2 per cent chance, to win the first leg, and the visitors 4/6 (60 per cent) to take a lead to Birmingham.

The draw is available at 16/5, both teams to score is 8/15 and over 2.5 goals is 1/2.

Draw @ 16/5

Villa are a much better side than Ajax, so if either club is to win on Thursday, I'd opt for the English team. However, at home, it's probably a bigger game for the Amsterdam club who, realistically, won't finish in the Eredivisie top three.

The visitors still have a few key players out and have a huge game with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday which could pretty much confirm their spot in the top five of the Premier League.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Emery make a few changes late on and accept a draw, knowing that they can dismantle their opponents at Villa Park in the return leg.

Draw in Ajax vs Aston Villa at 16-5

Ollie Watkins to score anytime @ 23/20

With five goals spread across his last three games - and seven in his last seven - who would back against Ollie Watkins adding to his ever-growing goal tally?

The England international now has 21 for the season in claret and blue - five of which have come in the Europa Conference League - and he will be confident of getting his name on the scoresheet against a side that hasn't kept a clean sheet in any of their 10 European ties this season.

Ollie Watkins to score anytime in Ajax vs Aston Villa at 23-20

We will be Top Price or joint Top Price on Aston Villa to beat Ajax with selected bookmakers using oddschecker.com for the comparison (Available from 09:30 Thursday).

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here

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