Another mouth watering Group G encounter takes place tomorrow when Real Madrid host Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. A couple of years back, this would be the match to watch. Real Madrid and Ajax are two of Europe’s most successful clubs however, over the years, they have been reduced to just spectators in this tournament.That however, is definitely set to change for one of them.
With a new coach and host of players to boot, Real are strong favourites to win the tournament this year. The arrival of Mourinho and some of the world’s best talent this summer has changed the fortunes of the club drastically.
Drawn against Milan for the second consecutive season, Real will not be taking any chances on Wednesday as any slip=up could prove fatal to their title hopes. Winning by a single goal against Osasuna on the weekend, Mourinho will want to assert his authority as being the right man for the job.
If history is anything to go by, then Ajax should easily win this match. The Dutch side has a 67% success rate against Los Blancos. Their last 6 meetings has resulted in 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. Their last meeting was 15 years ago when Ajax won with an aggregate score of 3-0.
Of course times have changed and Real Madrid has gotten stronger while Ajax has become weaker.
The leaders of the Dutch Eredivisie however are prepared to put their best foot forward and cause one of the biggest surprises tomorrow. With Martin Jol as their coach, Ajax have one of the best tacticians in the world. The same can be said of Mourinho who last lost a league home game 8 years ago!
Team news and Probable Line Ups
Mourinho will use a 4-2-1-3 formation with Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Khedira, Alonso, Oezil, Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain making the cut.
Mourinho can opt to start Di maria with Benzema coming on as a substitute. Still furnishing his winning formula, fans can expect a lot of technical changes from the ‘special one’
Martin Jol is likely to counter Mourinho’s formation with a 4-2-3-1 arrangement. Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Anita, De Zeeuw, Enoh, De Jong, Emmanuelson, Suarez and Hamdaoiu are expected to start.
A realistic result for the Dutch would be a draw and hence the inclusion of the two defense minded players De Zeuuw and Enoh.
Final scores: Real3 Ajax 1. Mourinho will want to make sure Real top the group and is likely to charge his troops to play attacking football right from the start.
Photo credit: from blanco.mateos