Kick-off: 1755, 09/12/2020
Stadium: Johan Cruyff Arena
TV: BT Sport
Ajax have to beat Atalanta in Amsterdam to qualify from Champions League Group D alongside Liverpool and are fancied to achieve that feat.
The Dutch giants have performed consistently well during this pool and deserved more from their two 1-0 defeats versus the table-topping Reds.
La Dea have fluctuated between magnificent and decidedly moderate both in this competition and Serie A.
That makes 6/5 for a home win the percentage pick for our first Ajax vs Atalanta prediction.
A Look At Ajax’s Betting Odds
Ajax missed a number of good opportunities when beaten at home by Liverpool on Matchday 2 and it was a similar scenario at Anfield last week.
Former Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen was guilty of wasting a clear-cut chance on his return to Merseyside, while David Neres hit the woodwork and Caoimhin Kelleher denied Klaas-Jan Huntelaar among several fine saves.
It was definitely noticeable that Jurgen Klopp went straight to Kelleher to congratulate him after the final whistle.
At the other end, Andre Onana made a rare mistake to let in Curtis Jones for the deciding goal on 58 minutes.
“I saw two equal teams out there, but the difference was in the details,” commented Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.
The Dutch outfit had previously claimed back-to-back victories over Midtjylland and led 2-0 when visiting Atalanta before having to settle for a share of the spoils.
Despite losing some star names since reaching the semi-finals two seasons ago, this is still a well-balanced team with a talented spine.
Other than losing to Liverpool at this venue, when again considered very unlucky, they had won six other home matches before a forgivable defeat by FC Twente on Saturday, when understandably distracted.
It is slightly worrying that Ajax have kept just one clean sheet in their past nine Champions League games.
However, we’re happy to go with 11/5 for a home win and both teams to score from the Ajax vs Atalanta odds.
A Look At Atalanta’s Betting Odds
Atalanta came within a whisker of reaching last season’s semi-finals in their maiden Champions League campaign, beating Valencia 8-4 on aggregate and leading PSG until conceding twice late on.
There have again been flashes of brilliance this term, including a 2-0 victory at Liverpool and a 4-0 romp away to Midtjylland.
However, La Dea’s only other win in their last 11 games was a narrow 2-1 success when visiting Serie A basement dwellers Crotone.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are ninth in Italy’s top flight after picking up just five points from six games, losing 4-1 at Napoli, 3-1 when hosting Sampdoria and 2-0 versus Verona on home turf.
Last week’s 1-1 draw with Midtjylland at Stadio di Bergamo was a lacklustre effort and could have been even worse, with Cristian Romero’s equaliser only coming in the 79th minute.
“We created a lot but struggled in the final third,” the defender said. “We now have to face Ajax and everything is open.
“We need to do what we know best, forward-thinking and attacking, and we need a great performance.”
La Dea just don’t look as comfortable this term, though, so 5/2 for Dusan Tadic to score in a home win is our final Ajax vs Atalanta prediction.
The former Southampton playmaker has netted 10 times in 16 games for his club this season.
Last Champions League result:
Liverpool 1-0 AJAX
ATALANTA 1-1 Midtjylland – Cristian Romero
Head-to-head: Atalanta 2-2 Ajax
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