Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax predictions, preview & expected XIs
Tottenham Hotspur host Ajax in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday night, in one of the biggest fixtures in the Premier League side’s recent history.
Spurs will go into the match knowing they are potentially 180 minutes away from a first Champions League final but a proven Ajax side stand in their way of European glory.
Read on for Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.
When is Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax?
Competition: Champions League
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 30 April
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Where can I watch live?
UK residents can watch Tottenham Hotspur’s game against Ajax on BT Sport 2, channel 414 on Sky and channel 528 for Virgin Media users. BT Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at sport.bt.com and via their BT Sport app.
These two sides have faced each other twice in their history when they battled it out in the first round of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981.
Spurs won both fixtures – 3-1 on Dutch soil before a 3-0 win at home – and will be hoping for a similar result this week.
Tottenham wins: 2 Draws: 0 Ajax wins: 0
What a European season these two sides are having. It looked as though Tottenham were going to fall out of Europe in a blink of an eye after picking up just one point out of nine in their opening three games of the group stages.
However, late wins against PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan – followed by a draw away to Barcelona – secured their progression where they Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in the round-of-16.
A 4-0 aggregate scoreline set up a quarter-final against fellow Premier League side Manchester City, where an entertaining second leg ended in Tottenham’s favour, winning on away goals.
For Ajax, they just keep on surprising people who continue to underestimate them. Finishing runners up to Bayern Munich in Group E – five points ahead of Benfica – the Dutch side then faced reigning champions Real Madrid. An emphatic 4-1 victory away to the Spanish outfit saw them matched with Juventus in the quarters.
Once again, Ajax shocked and impressed, defeating the Italians to set up this tie.
Both are full of confidence, knowing they have arguably over-achieved by reaching this stage. One thing is for certain, there are no real favourites in this semi-final.
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Who will lead the line in Son and Kane’s absence?
The fact that Spurs have got to the Champions League semi-finals is impressive enough, but with the absence of both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at various points of the campaign, they should be rightly proud of their achievements.
Kane picked up an injury in Spurs’ 1-0 first leg victory against Manchester City, with the England international out now until the end of the current season.
In his stead Son has often been the man to take control of Tottenham’s attacking prowess, scoring three goals across the two quarter-final matches against the Citizens.
However, Son will not be able to continue his scoring streak in Europe after picking up a yellow card against City, ruling him out of this fixture.
With both Kane and Son absent from duty, perhaps it is finally time for Fernando Llorente – who controversially scored the vital goal against Pep Guardiola’s side in the quarter-finals – to step up and lead the line for Tottenham?
The former Swansea City striker has two goals in Europe this season and may need to add to that to get Spurs into their first Champions League final in their history.
Can Ajax record add to their impressive English record?
The Dutch side have already proven this campaign that they are more than capable of beating anyone who stands in their way.
Across the years, Ajax have shown that they are more than capable of getting results against sides from England.
The last time they came up against an English foe was against Manchester City in 2012, where they beat them 3-1 and draw 1-1 in the group stages of the Champions League.
In total, Ajax have played in 23 matches against English sides, winning eight, drawing seven and losing eight.
What they wouldn’t give for two more wins…
Can Spurs rediscover their mojo in time?
Unfortunately for Spurs, they don’t go into this match full of high spirits having lost their first match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against West Ham United on Saturday.
In what was a lacklustre performance, manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that his side are getting tired as the season comes to a close.
The Spurs boss said: “Sometimes these performances or results can happen. It’s not easy. It was tough today. It’s difficult to beat an opponent in the Premier League.
“They were fresh, we were tired but now it’s about moving on.
“It’s tough to prepare for a semi final against a very good team like Ajax. It’s going to be difficult, of course but our mentality is the most important thing.
“We need to move on, we need to forget about now and start thinking about Tuesday”
Spurs will need to dig deep to find the energy levels that has got them this far if they are to get past an Ajax side who seem full of endless energy so far this campaign.
And the Dutch side will only be boosted by having a free weekend to prepare, after the Eredivisie moved an entire round of fixtures to benefit Ajax.
As stated above, both Kane and Son are out of this fixture due to injury and suspension respectively. Serge Aurier and Erik Lamela will miss out with hamstring injuries, alongside Eric Dier who is out with a hip problem. Moussa Sissoko may also still be absent.
Meanwhile, Ajax star Nicolas Tagliafico is a doubt after picking up a knock against Vitesse with Carel Eiting and Hassane Bande also unlikely to play.
1. Flat back four for Spurs
Against West Ham, Spurs made a number of defensive changes including resting both Kieran Trippier and Jan Vertonghen who were replaced by Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez.
It is expected the two defenders will return to the starting eleven – especially after the poor display against the Hammers – with Pochettino starting with a back four, rather than using wing-backs.
Predicted Spurs XI (4-3-2-1): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dier, Alli; Eriksen, Moura; Llorente.
2. Tadic is a centre-forward
The former Saints man has had an incredible season in front of goal for Ajax, directly contributing to 55 goals in 51 games in all competitions, scoring 34 goals and assisting 21 times.
More of a playmaker or a man found on the wing, the 30-year-old could find himself leading the line at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Wednesday as Ajax go hunting for that all important away goal.
Predicted Ajax XI (4-2-3-1): Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Mazraoui; Schone, De Jong; Ziyech, Van de Beek, Neres; Tadic
3. No striking option for Spurs
With Kane absent from duty and Son having to watch from the sidelines as he serves his one-match ban, the most interesting topic of discussion regards who will get the goals for Spurs.
Although Llorente is a proven centre-forward, there are still doubts over whether he can deliver the goods, with Pochettino debating whether to start Lucas Moura in an attacking position and use attacking full-backs to serve as support in the Tottenham attack.
Both Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli will need to have big nights for Spurs if they are to get another of value from the match.
Evening Standard‘s predicted Spurs XI (4-3-2-1): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Dier, Rose; Eriksen, Dele; Lucas.
Tottenham Hotspur know that they have to get a good result to take with them into the second leg. Their record at home in the Champions League is pretty good, they haven’t conceded a home goal in their past three matches, so they have proven they can keep it tight at the back. Spurs will get a win, but Ajax may break that clean sheet record to make things interesting in the second leg. Tottenham 2-1 Ajax