Chelsea are almost ensured of a place in the next stage; as long as they are not comprehensively thrashed by the talented Dutch side.
The Group Stage of the NextGen Series reaches its conclusion tonight when Chelsea face off against last year’s runners up Ajax in Holland. While technically Chelsea are not yet guaranteed a spot in the next round it would certainly take something quite extraordinary to see them failing to progress; in fact they would have to lose by a massive 12 goal margin to miss out on the next round.
In respect to all eventualities if such a magnanimous thrashing were to take place then it would be to the benefit of Marseille who would qualify in Chelsea’s place.
In reality this game has little impact on qualification for the next stage other than arranging the positions in Group Three. Currently Chelsea are qualifying as a best-placed third team with Ajax as runners-up in the Group. However Ajax will not be satisfied with playing second fiddle to CSKA Moscow in the standings and a victory against Chelsea will take them to the top of the Group.
Chelsea on the other hand will be inspired by recent performances by other English sides in the competition such as Spurs’ thrashing of Barca, Liverpool toppling the champions Inter and Villa demolishing the impressive Sporting Lisbon. If they can take three points away from De Toekomst they will leapfrog Ajax into second place.
That would be a great achievement considering Ajax were considered pre-tournament favourites and would be a real indication of the weakening of the Dutch side since top talent such as Viktor Fischer and Davy Klaassen made the step up to the first team.
The last meeting between the two came in December and ended in a 0-0 draw at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground and such a result again would see nothing change in terms of Group Three’s standings.
The game kicks off at 19.00 CET and the draw for the next round will be announced immediately after the game.
Here is some build up on Twitter ahead of the fixture…
Adam Nditi (@Adam_Nditi) January 29, 2013
“@lew_baker: Up start this morning going holland for the ajax game tomorrow wish me luck”goodluck im comming to watch— Patrick van aanholt (@PvanAanholt_) January 28, 2013
image: © Ben Sutherland