Aston Villa vs Ajax Match Analysis & Prediction

Aston Villa

14/03/2024 11:00 pm

Ajax

After cancelling each other out last week, Europa Conference League heavyweights Aston Villa and Ajax meet for the second leg of their last-16 tie on Thursday night.

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Having come through Group E as winner and avoided a potentially hazardous playoff, Aston Villa began their first campaign into the spring stage of a UEFA competition since 2009 last Thursday.

For the third time in 25 European matches, Villa failed to find the net, as Ezri Konsa and Ajax defender Tristan Gooijer were both sent off for second bookings towards the end of a close-fought game that sets the stage for this week’s return in Birmingham.

Hoping to receive a morale boost ahead of the Dutch giants’ arrival, Unai Emery was sorely disappointed at the weekend, when his side went into a crucial match against Tottenham Hotspur aiming to move eight points clear in the race for Champions League qualification.

Instead, Villa suffered a bitter 4-0 defeat on home turf, conceding all four goals after the break as captain John McGinn saw red in more than one sense. They still sit fourth in the Premier League standings, but such a loss will surely have stung.

Clean sheets are at a premium for the Lions at the moment, but until their recent downturn, Villa Park had been a real fortress – and as Ajax failed to win any away games en route to elimination at the Europa League’s group stage, Emery’s side may still expect to progress.

A renowned specialist in continental competition, Emery has yet to taste success in the Conference League, but a spot in May’s final will move one step closer if he can engineer a win over one of Europe’s traditional powers.

While Villa lifted the European Cup in 1982, Ajax have been crowned champions of the continent four times to date – but their current predicament sits in stark contrast to those long-gone glory days.

Not only are Ajax occupying fifth place in the Eredivisie, with time running out to make up ground lost during a disastrous start to the season, but they recently had to rely on luck to come through a playoff tie with Bodo/Glimt that secured their spot in the last 16 of the Conference League.

Interim manager John van’t Schip has certainly steadied the ship, but following back-to-back clean sheets, his young team were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by Fortuna Sittard on Sunday, when Brian Brobbey’s late equaliser rescued a point at Johan Cruijff Arena.

As Ajax have scored three or more goals in four of their European matches this season, they can clealy pose a threat on their day – but it remains to be seen how such an inexperienced squad would handle a top Premier League team in full flight.

Aston Villa vs. Ajax Head to head

These two teams have only previously met on just two occasions, Villa securing one win while they drew once.

  • 23/10/2008
    Aston Villa
    2
    Ajax
    1
    Europa League
  • 07/03/2024
    Ajax
    0
    Aston Villa
    0
    Europa Conference League
  • 14/03/2024
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
  • 14/03/2024
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
    N/A
  • 14/03/2024
    Aston Villa
    N/A
    Ajax
    N/A
    Europa Conference League

Aston Villa Team News

Although John McGinn will be available on Thursday before beginning a domestic suspension, Aston Villa defender Konsa must serve a one-game ban following his dismissal in Amsterdam.

Emery remains without long-term absentees Emi Buendia, Boubacar Kamara and Tyrone Mings, while Jhon Duran is still sidelined by a hamstring injury and Jacob Ramsey may not recover in time to feature.

Aston Villa's Last 5 Matches

  • 17/02/2024
    Fulham
    1
    Aston Villa
    2
    Premier League
  • 24/02/2024
    Aston Villa
    4
    Nottingham Forest
    2
    Premier League
  • 02/03/2024
    Luton Town
    2
    Aston Villa
    3
    Premier League
  • 07/03/2024
    Ajax
    0
    Aston Villa
    0
    Europa Conference League
  • 10/03/2024
    Aston Villa
    0
    Tottenham Hotspur
    4
    Premier League

Ajax Team News

Ajax can call upon Devyne Rensch at Villa Park, after the full-back served a suspension on Sunday, but Gooijer is ruled out by his late red card last week.

Josip Sutalo returned to action at the weekend and should start in the defence, alongside young centre-back Ahmetcan Kaplan, who excelled in the first leg.

Ajax's Last 5 Matches

  • 22/02/2024
    Bodo/Glimt
    1
    Ajax
    2 E
    Europa Conference League
  • 25/02/2024
    AZ
    2
    Ajax
    0
    Eredivisie
  • 03/03/2024
    Ajax
    2
    Utrecht
    0
    Eredivisie
  • 07/03/2024
    Ajax
    0
    Aston Villa
    0
    Europa Conference League
  • 10/03/2024
    Ajax
    2
    Fortuna Sittard
    2
    Eredivisie

Aston Villa vs. Ajax: Odds and Predictions

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