These teams should put on a show with the draw being a lively runner when they face in the Champions League on Tuesday, says Jamie Pacheco...
"These two teams looked pretty evenly matched when they last played so the draw at 4.03/1, the biggest of the three prices, is the more attractive option on the match odds market."
Chelsea v Ajax
Tuesday November 5, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 2
Lampard's Chelsea in a good place
So much for the concerns that Frank Lampard wasn't quite ready to manage at this level. After a sticky start to the season, he's got the team playing as he wants, figured out what his best XI is and he's looking like a man who has already stamped his identity on this group of players.
They may have lost in midweek in the EFL Cup at home to Manchester United but Chelsea won seven in a row before that in all competitions and secured a win at Watford on to show there was no lost momentum.
As far as this competition goes, they secured a priceless win away in Amsterdam a fortnight ago to be in a strong position to make the Last 16. Defeat here and they'll be under the cosh, while a draw means it's two from three with Ajax and Valencia threatening to deny Lampard a first-ever second round appearance in this competition as manager.
There are now new injury concerns but one or both of N'Golo Kante or Ross Barkley may return after the pair of have been being sidelined for a few weeks.
Huge game for Ajax
Ajax will really be kicking themselves after losing that match to Chelsea couple of weeks ago to a very late goal.
They had slightly more possession and were desperate unlucky not to have gone 1-0 up after Quincy Promes' goal was ruled off or offside by VAR, a marginal call that could have gone the other way. Unlucky for us as well because he'd been tipped up to score.
At least that defeat had no bearing on their domestic results; they won 4-0 and 4-2 since that loss and will see this as arguably their most important game of the season so far. A win here and they're really back in business.
Draw price not to be sniffed at
On the one hand Ajax have never lost an away match in England in the Champions League in four outings and have remarkably won their last five away matches in this competition. On the other hand, Chelsea have an 100% win record against Dutch sides, twice beating Feyenoord back in 1999/2000 and then of course adding that win over Ajax from earlier in the month to the equation.
It's 2.01/1 the home win and 3.8514/5 the Ajax victory. These two teams looked pretty evenly matched when they last played so the draw at 4.03/1, the biggest of the three prices, is the more attractive option on the match odds market. It's worth taking despite the absence of a draw in each of the Blues' last 12 games because it's also a result that neither team would consider disastrous.
But with Chelsea's tendency to have matches with late goals, you'd be well advised to lay it off at odds-on using the Exchange if you have the chance should it be all-square with 10 minutes or so to go.
The Sportsbook odds-compilers have taken the same view in thinking that the low-scoring 1-0 last time out was a scoreline out of line with what these two teams normally come up.
Ajax matches have been high-scoring all season in the league, while as I pointed out last Wednesday, Lampard's Chelsea are fast becoming the Premier League's great entertainers with goals at both ends almost a certainty these days whenever they're in action.
That's why they've gone just 6/10 about over 2.5 goals; both teams scoring is hardly generous either given it's just a 1/2 shot. Both bets will probably win but then again, that's obviously not how betting works.
With prices on goals too tight for our liking, our strategy is going to be to hope they come and that at least one of our two picks gets one of them.
Tammy Abraham is an obvious player to start at 2.01/1. He's got one in three in the competition and scored a fine goal at Watford but in a tough match, those are the sort of odds one would expect about the likes of a Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero or Robert Lewandowski, not a player quite new to this level. So we'll give it a miss.
Mason Mount is always in with a shout and is 11/4 this time round. But at the same price I'd rather go with the red-hot Christian Pulisic. He followed up a hat-trick a week and a half ago with a well-taken goal at Watford and he looks set for a decent run in the side. His confidence will be high and those three goals at Burnley could well be the turning point of his season.
For Ajax, Dusan Tadic and old Klaas Jan Huntelaar are favourites at 21/10 but the latter is highly unlikely to start while the former is actually on a bit of a barren spell with just one in his last 10 games in all competitions.
Promes isn't a bad price at 10/3 but at bigger odds you can go with Brazilian David Neres (9/2). Just 22, he has an outstanding scoring record of scoring in the Eredivisie, with 31 goals from 81 appearances, 21 of those as a substitute.
He hasn't always started this season but after a brace on Saturday and a goal at Feyenoord the week before should certainly be in the starting XI for this one. That looks a generous price about a proven goalscorer in what we hope will be a high-scoring match. Either Neres or Pulisic coming good will return a decent profit; if both scored it will be a really big payday.