Ajax vs Rangers
It’s been a perfect start for Ajax in the Eredivisie, the iconic Dutch side winning their opening five league games. Now they face a different challenge, welcoming Rangers to the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday.
So can the Glasgow team come to the home of total football – and teach the locals a thing or two? It’s getting on for 12 years since the Gers played in the Champions League; but the side have impressed in Europe recently. Rangers made it to the Europa League final last season – only for Eintracht Frankfurt to scupper Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s bid for glory via a penalty shootout.
In this campaign, Rangers have already seen off one Dutch side, beating PSV Eindhoven in qualifying to make the group stage. Facing off against Ajax is a tougher challenge, though. The hosts are clear favourites – though that’s not to say the visitors won’t put up a fight.
Former Rangers man Calvin Bassey will enjoy a reunion with his former club in Wednesday’s early kick-off. But the visitors may be more focused on Dusan Tadic. The Ajax captain is usually hugely influential, but has been “hopelessly out of form” according to player-turned-pundit Rafael van der Vaart. Good to know…
Tadic might not be shining – but Ajax have nonetheless scored 16 goals in their first five league games. The side haven’t even conceded a goal in their last three outings. Ajax’s Steven Bergwijn could be worth backing to score; the former Spurs man has six goals from his last four appearances. Bergwijn is 9/2 to score the opener.
For Rangers, Antonio Colak could be worth a look despite disappointing in the Old Firm clash as the weekend. Colak has scored seven goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions, and is 14/5 to score at any time here.
Napoli vs Liverpool
Can Luciano Spalletti’s side do a number on Liverpool at the Maradona stadium on Wednesday?
Napoli are unbeaten in Serie A after five matches – and have also taken three points from the Merseyside team twice in recent meetings, with Liverpool failing to score on each of their last two visits to Naples (in 2018 and ’19).
Adding to the sense that this could be a tough night for the visitors is Liverpool’s general lack of sparkle this season – even if Scott Parker might disagree with that assessment.
Aside from the Bournemouth blitz, Liverpool have not been at their best for much of the season. In fact, they haven’t won an away game in three attempts in the Prem. Mo Salah’s been quiet by his own high standards too.
Cue a hat-trick for the Egyptian King here? Well, anything is possible. But on the available evidence, and at 11/4 for the win, Napoli could be worth backing. And Khvicha Kvaratskhelia might be a good bet to find the net for the hosts, too. The 21-year-old only joined Napoli in the summer, but has already impressed, scoring on his debut; so far he’s netted four goals in five appearances for the club. And “Kvara” is 10/1 to score the opener on Wednesday.
Spurs vs Marseille
Spurs have shown a knack for getting the job done without being quite at their best this season. The north London side are unbeaten in the Prem, and are heavily fancied to get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.
Can Marseille surprise Antonio Conte’s side? The Ligue 1 side are in decent nick themselves, unbeaten so far this season with five wins in six matches.
That said, last time the French team were involved in this competition two seasons ago, Marseille lost five of their six CL matches – failing to score in any of those defeats.
Perhaps this campaign won’t be quite such a washout – but nonetheless, a fairly comfortable victory for the hosts still seems likely. Sure, Spurs struggled in the Europa Conference League last season, but Conte’s team will be rather more committed to this competition.
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