- Fresh off a signature win at Bilbao, Valencia (+150) appear to have hit their stride under new manager Celades
- Dutch Eredivisie co-leaders Ajax (+178) look to replicate last year’s exceptionally deep Champions League knockout run
- The two meet at Valencia’s historic La Mestalla stadium Wednesday on UEFA Champions League Matchday 2
It’s been a wildly entertaining six months around both Valencia and Ajax, who will collide on Matchday 2 of UEFA Champions League play.
Ajax are fresh off stunning the world in last year’s Champions League campaign, which saw them reach the semifinal stage — something no Dutch club had done since PSV in 2004-05 — before bowing out to Spurs on away goals. Absent from last year’s team, however, are cornerstones Frenkie de Jong (sold to Barcelona) and Matthijs de Ligt (sold to Juventus).
At Valencia, a middling start and boardroom turmoil meant the end of respected manager Marcelino’s tenure on September 11; since then, new boss Celades has had a pair of signature road wins (1-0 at Chelsea, 1-0 at Bilbao) balanced out by a pair of disappointing home draws (1-1 vs. Leganes, 3-3 vs. Getafe).
Valencia vs. Ajax Odds
|Valencia||pk (-118)||+150||O 2.5 (-109)|
|Ajax||pk (+102)||+178||U 2.5 (-107)|
*Odds taken 09/30/19
With both squads coming off Matchday 1 wins and being known for their attacking flair, expect an entertaining affair with plenty of chances as the two clubs look to take an early stranglehold in Group H.
With the only H2H play between Ajax and Valencia dating back to the 2002-03 Champions League group stage — a pair of 1-1 draws — it’s hardly worth factoring into your plays in 2019, as it was a vastly different era.
Valencia vs Ajax Stats
|1-0-0||UCL Record (2019-20)||1-0-0|
|2-3-2||Domestic League Record (2019-20)||6-2-0|
|W D D W L||Last 5||W W D W W|
|3rd, Group H||2018-19 UCL Finish||Semifinalists|
|4th||2018-19 Domestic League Finish||1st|
|Maxi Gomez/Dani Parejo (3)||Current Top Scorer||Quincy Promes/Dusan Tadic (5)|
Valencia were reigning Spanish champions under Rafa Benitez, while the Dutch Eredivisie was significantly stronger at that time than now; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now winding down his career in Los Angeles, is the only active player remaining from those meetings.
Though props for players to score were not available at time of writing, the usual suspects for both squads ought to be the smart plays if props are your thing.
Quincy Promes has netted five times in eight matches since joining Ajax from Sevilla, including the first-half winner against Lille on UCL Matchday 1.
Leading the line for Valencia will likely be Maxi Gomez, who scored twice in the club’s 3-3 draw with Getafe last Wednesday and was subbed off against Bilbao after 68 minutes on the weekend.
Best Bets: Draw (+220) or Over 2.5 (-109)
As evidenced by the tight moneyline, nobody is quite sure what to make of this Group H meeting; home field gives Valencia a slight advantage, but on paper it’s difficult to find much of a difference between the two squads.
One thing their respective form points to is an ability to score; whether it’s Hakim Ziyech or the aforementioned Promes for Wednesday’s visitors, or the duo of Maxi Gomez and Dani Parejo for the hosts, there will be plenty of potential goals on the pitch.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.