Real Madrid will be looking to continue their recent good form after beating Manchester City last week when they take on Dutch champions Ajax at the Amserdam Arena on Wednesday night. Kick off 19:45.
Last weekend’s 5-1 thrashing of Deportiva La Coruna was Real Madrid’s third consecutive win in La Liga while a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo secured the win for Mourinho’s men against Manchester City in the opening round of fixtures last week. Ajax lost out in their opening fixture when they conceded an 87th minute goal against Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga champions.
Real Madrid’s recent ominous form does hide the fact that they have already lost twice in La Liga already, to local rivals Getafe and Sevilla. The recent history between the clubs will give Real Madrid a lot of confidence, for two seasons running they have beaten the Dutch club home and away racking up 12 goals in the four games.
Ajax sit third in the Eredivisie after an inconsistent start to their season, drawing two of their last five games in the league but their recent win against FC Twente will have buoyed their spirits and raised their confidence ahead of a difficult fixture.
Without injured Serbian winger Miralem Sulejmani, who hurt his ankle in training, Ajax coach Frank de Boer is likely to start with the same team that lost their opener 1-0 at Borussia Dortmund. That same XI also won by the odd goal at the weekend at home to Twente, when Christian Eriksen scored the winner. Eyong Enoh, Nicolai Boilesen and Kolvein Sigthorsson and Thulani Serero are also all out, while 21-year-old forward Danny Hoesen has been called up to the squad.
Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa are set to return to the Real Madrid starting line-up for the trip to the Dutch capital. Xabi Alonso came off the bench an hour into Real’s 5-1 win over Deportivo la Coruna at the weekend, while Arbeloa was an unused substitute. Michael Essien is also available again after suffering a foot injury.
One to watch:
Ajax – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is one of the rising stars in European football and was linked with a host of top tier clubs last summer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Last season Eriksen scored eight times in 44 games in all competitions but his tally of 21 assists shows his importance to the current Ajax team.
Real Madrid – Xabi Alonso
Cristiano Ronaldo is the clearly their biggest threat going forward but it is Alonso who pulls the strings in midfield, dictating their pace and tempo with his pin point passing.
Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid
Ajax: Vermeer, van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, de Jong, Poulsen, Eriksen, Sana, Babel, Boerrigter.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Alonso, Essien, Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Higuain.