Ajax vs Aston Villa Predictions

Ajax vs Aston Villa predictions as Aston Villa look to continue their push in Europe. Aston Villa face Ajax in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie on Thursday evening. Read on for our free betting tips and predictions for this Europa Conference League encounter.

Aston Villa

Europa Conference League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg | Mar 7, 2024 at 5.45pm UK at Johan Cruijff Arena

Ajax vs Aston Villa Predictions

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Tactical Tussle in Amsterdam: Villa and Ajax Set for an Intense Showdown

Key Stats

– Aston Villa have won three consecutive league matches, scoring nine goals in the process.

– Ajax’s recent victory marked their first clean sheet in 16 matches, a much-needed boost ahead of the Europa Conference League clash.

– Both teams have shown prowess in attack but have struggled defensively, setting the stage for a match where both teams are likely to score.

As Aston Villa prepare to lock horns with Ajax in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie, the anticipation builds for what promises to be a riveting encounter. Aston Villa, having topped Group E, and Ajax, having edged past Bodo/Glimt in a nail-biting playoff, are set to battle it out with aspirations of progressing further in the competition. This analysis delves deep into the teams’ current forms, strategies, and key players, ultimately unveiling predictions that encapsulate the essence of this clash.

Unai Emery’s Tactical Prowess vs John Van’t Schip’s Strategic Flexibility

Under Unai Emery, Aston Villa began the season with an eye on Premier League glory but have since recalibrated their ambitions towards European success and Champions League qualification. The team’s recent Premier League triumphs have showcased their resolve, despite a defensive frailty that has seen them keep a solitary clean sheet in seven outings. Emery’s adept handling of the group stage, particularly the victories over AZ Alkmaar, hints at a well-oiled machine capable of adjusting to the European stage’s demands.


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Conversely, Ajax, guided by John Van’t Schip, presents an enigmatic challenge. The Dutch side’s inconsistency has been evident, with a troubling lack of clean sheets juxtaposed against moments of brilliance, such as their recent victory over FC Utrecht. This unpredictability, a double-edged sword, renders Ajax a formidable foe capable of upsetting the odds.

The Crucial Battlefields and Dueling Titans

The encounter’s outcome may well hinge on the midfield battleground, where control and creativity will be paramount. Aston Villa’s expected lineup, featuring the industrious John McGinn and the technical Douglas Luiz, suggests a blend of grit and flair. Ajax’s midfield, possibly anchored by Jordan Henderson, promises a mix of experience and dynamism, setting the stage for a compelling tussle.

Particular attention will be paid to the duels on the wings, where Moussa Diaby’s pace and trickery for Villa could clash with Ajax’s defensive resolve, particularly the young but talented Devyne Rensch. Such matchups could very well tip the scales in this finely balanced affair.

The Lineups and Their Implications

Aston Villa are poised to deploy a blend of attacking prowess and midfield solidity, with Ollie Watkins leading the line, supported by Diaby’s flair. The potential inclusion of Pau Torres and Lucas Digne could shore up their defensive concerns, offering a more robust backline against Ajax’s attacking threats.

Ajax’s selection dilemma, particularly the choice to persist with the 5-4-1 formation, introduces a tactical intrigue. The possible reintroduction of attack-minded talents like Carlos Forbs and Chuba Akpom could signal a more offensive approach, seeking to exploit Villa’s defensive vulnerabilities.

Predictions and Strategic Insights

1. Match Outcome: Aston Villa to Win with Both Teams Scoring

Considering the recent performances of both teams, Aston Villa are positioned as the favourites to secure a win in this match-up. The Villains have demonstrated a robust offensive capability, netting nine goals in their last three matches, underscoring their lethal attacking prowess. Their success in the Europa Conference League, highlighted by wins against a strong AZ Alkmaar side, further solidifies their credentials.

Despite their attacking strengths, Villa’s defensive record suggests a vulnerability, having managed just one clean sheet in their last seven outings. This detail, coupled with Ajax’s tendency to find the net—evidenced by both teams scoring in eight of Ajax’s 10 games in 2024—suggests a scenario where Villa could outscore Ajax while conceding at least once. This prediction leans on Villa’s recent winning momentum and Ajax’s consistent goal-scoring form, albeit in the face of defensive frailties.

2. Correct Score Prediction: Ajax 1-2 Aston Villa

A 1-2 victory for Aston Villa encapsulates the expected dynamics of this encounter. This scoreline is rooted in the analysis of both teams’ recent forms and their respective defensive and offensive records. Aston Villa’s attack has been prolific, and their performance in Europe—coupled with their Premier League exploits—indicates their capability to score multiple goals against formidable opponents.

On the other hand, Ajax, despite their struggles, have managed to score in most of their recent fixtures, showcasing their ability to breach defences. Given Villa’s occasionally shaky defence, conceding at least one goal seems plausible. Thus, a 1-2 scoreline reflects a balanced expectation of Villa’s attacking strength overcoming Ajax, with both teams contributing to the score sheet.

3. Goalscorer Prediction: Ollie Watkins to Score Anytime

Ollie Watkins emerges as the prime candidate to find the back of the net in this encounter. With 16 goals in the Premier League season, Watkins has been the linchpin of Aston Villa’s attacking unit, showcasing his ability to convert chances consistently. His form, coupled with Ajax’s defensive vulnerabilities—highlighted by their long stretch without a clean sheet—presents a conducive environment for Watkins to add to his tally.

His speed, positioning, and clinical finishing will be key assets against an Ajax defence that has shown susceptibility, especially in high-stakes European fixtures. Watkins’ knack for crucial goals in important matches further bolsters the rationale behind expecting him to score at least once in this game.

4. Corner Prediction: More Corners for Aston Villa, Total Corners Over 9.5

Analysing the playing styles and recent performances of both teams suggests that Aston Villa are likely to win more corners in this fixture. Villa’s attacking approach, characterised by width and crosses, naturally leads to a higher number of corner situations. Additionally, their propensity to engage in direct play and force defensive actions from opponents aligns with the expectation of earning more corners.

Expecting the total number of corners to exceed 9.5 is based on the game’s anticipated openness, with both sides pressing for goals. Ajax’s aggressive play and Villa’s counter-attacks could result in numerous corner situations, thus pushing the total corners count. This prediction aligns with the tactical setups and attacking philosophies of both teams, suggesting a match rich in set-piece opportunities.

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Steve Harrington
Steve Harrington is a sportswriter whose heart beats for football. With a passion that began in the grassroots, he's witnessed the magic of the game from local pitches to grand stadiums. Over the past 7 years, Steve has lent his expertise to several online publications, chronicling the ever-evolving world of football. Beyond his professional pursuits, he holds a special affection for Burnley Football Club, cherishing every triumph and tribulation. Steve believes in the power of storytelling and its ability to bring the beautiful game closer to its ardent fans.