Ajax - Marseille predictions and free betting tips [21/09/2023]
On Thursday, 21st September, within the first round of the Europa League group stage, Ajax will host Marseille on their home turf. The Dutch have already passed the final qualification round, where they beat Ludogorets, whereas the hosts failed to qualify for the Champions League (CL) and now aim towards the second highest esteemed European cup.
Ajax: Gorter; Gaaei, Sutalo, Hato, Sosa; Van Den Boomen, Taylor; Borges, Mikautadze, Bergwijn; Brobbey.
Marseille: Lopez; Clauss, Mbemba, Balerdi, Lodi; Mughe, Kondogbia, Veretout, Correa; Ndiaye, Aubameyang.
The match will take place in Amsterdam at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Amsterdam's Ajax failed to qualify for the Champions League, finishing third below PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord in the previous campaign. The times of absolute domination of the capital club in the championship are over, replaced by turbulent times. The pre-season was unsuccessful with defeats from Anderlecht (0-3), Augsburg (1-3), and Borussia Dortmund (1-3) in friendly matches. The hosts kicked off the national championship with a fantastic victory over Heracles (4-1), but it was followed by two draws with Excelsior (2-2) and Sittard (0-0). However, the Dutch defeated Ludogorets with an aggregate score of 4-2 and made it to the group stage of the Europa League. This weekend, Ajax stumbled again in the national championship, losing for the second time in a row, with the same scoreline to Twente (3-1). In the first half, Brobbi scored one goal, but eleven minutes later, Naci Unuvar reinstated Twente's lead.
Having finished third in Ligue 1 last season, securing 73 points in 38 matches, qualification for the Champions League was within their grasp. Nevertheless, the guests failed to make it through the qualifiers, losing to Panathinaikos on penalties at the Velodrome. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the "port" team ahead with a 2-0 score, but Fotis Ioannidis compensated the white-green team's lag. Perhaps, the coaching change was to blame, or maybe it was the time required for newcomers to adapt. Whatever the case, Marseille started the season pretty averagely, even though they are yet to experience a defeat in Ligue 1. The white-blue team's results are clearly unworthy of title contenders (1-1 with Nantes, 2-2 with Metz and 0-0 with Toulouse over the weekend). On their home ground, Marseille does not drop points, having achieved 2 victories (2-0 against Brest, 2-1 against Reims), but the match with Toulouse last weekend ended up a goalless draw.
These teams have faced each other 5 times, of which Ajax won 3 times, and there was just one victory for Marseille. Their last duel happened in a friendly match in 2016, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Prediction for the Ajax - Marseille Match
In any other situation, the hosts would look like clear favourites of this match on their home ground. However, the heavy schedule of the Dutch team, their quite average start to the season, and a lack of coordination among the newcomers suggest that Marseille might have an advantage. The sky-blues remain unbeaten in the championship, although they don’t impress with their performance. Nevertheless, I will dare to bet on the guests not losing.
The White-Reds are quite unreliable in defence at the start of the current campaign, so Marseille, led by Aubameyang, is more than capable of scoring more than 1 time.
As rightful hosts, Ajax will take the initiative and try to crack the opponent's defence as quickly as possible. I'm betting on their individual total of corners in the first half to be over 2.5.
I will bet on the exact score 1:2 in favour of Marseille.