Football Features

Spurs vs Ajax: tactics, formations & line ups explained

By Squawka News

Published: 17:00, 29 April 2019

Spurs host Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night – and all the signs point towards an entertaining game.

The north Londoners looked dead and buried during the group stages, only to produce a dramatic fightback to progress to the latter rounds, where they have beaten Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, the Amsterdammers have developed into the darling of the continent’s neutral fans, having seen off heavyweights such as Real Madrid and Juventus en route to the last four.

Ahead of the mouthwatering match up, Statman Dave has tackled all of the major talking points…


Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been seen as underdogs in previous rounds – and fighting against the tide has suited Spurs to a tee.

Being written off and labelled outsiders has united the club and helped them produce unexpected results.

However, all that is going to change against the Eredivisie leaders. Spurs are now expected to progress and this shift in mentality is a dangerous one to navigate.

Do Spurs go gung-ho or sit back and try to absorb the visitors’ pressure? Pochettino must find an answer.

Meanwhile, Ajax will not stray from their passing philosophy and will spring no surprises in N17.


Ajax’s 4-2-1-3 formation relies on the passing and vision of both Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt to build from the back.

The Dutch youngsters have won a host of admirers this season and will be required to keep their heads in what may prove to be a nervy encounter.

Wide man Hakim Ziyech will be hoping to give his opposite number a torrid time while Dusan Tadic has freedom to roam at the tip of attack.

Pochettino could opt to field a 4-2-3-1 system, which would allow Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen an opportunity to influence the game in the final third.

But a lack of options in holding midfield means the duo could struggle to receive the level of service required to hurt Erik ten Hag’s side.

A 3-4-3 featuring former Ajax defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld would provide extra solidity and give the likes of Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose a chance to get in behind Ajax’s midfield trident.

Line ups

Harry Kane is injured and Heung-Min Son is suspended, which means Spurs are likely to field an unfamiliar attacking spearhead.

Fernando Llorente is expected to be used off the bench due to his lack of pace but Lucas Moura may well be the man charged with leading the line.

The Brazilian has been a solid rather than spectacular performer this term and he needs to produce the goods in front of goal.

Moussa Sissoko faces a late fitness test but Harry Winks, Erik Lamela and Serge Aurier are out.

Noussair Mazraoui is set to be ruled out with an ankle injury but the visitors have an almost clean bill of health, having had a week off from Eredivisie action.

The Premier League side would certainly have embraced such a luxury given their injury problems.

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