Ajax v Tottenham: Two players primed for big Amsterdam performances

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TOTTENHAM look to bounce back from their 1-0 first leg Champions League semi-final loss to Ajax when they travel to Amsterdam on Wednesday night. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his betting opinion on the encounter.

Ajax v Tottenham | Wednesday 8th May 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport

This is tantalisingly poised after a tight first leg at the new White Hart Lane, which saw Donny Van Der Beek’s strike prove the difference. Ajax were accomplished in their performance and kept a surprise clean sheet in a game that was low on quality given the magnitude of the clash.

The Amsterdam club dominated the first half an hour and took their chance as Spurs defenders were caught cold as they played Van Der Beek onside and failed to react quickly enough. From then on Spurs did have the majority of the ball but failed to create any serious goalscoring opportunities; their paltry Expected Goals (xG) total of 0.49 showed they failed to enter dangerous areas of the pitch.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men looked tired and their lack of squad depth is hurting them just at the wrong time – Spurs have lost five of their last six games now. However, there is some positive signs coming into this one. Heung Min-Son returns and Moussa Sissoko is fit – we saw how much of a difference the Frenchman made when he came off the bench last week.

What’s more, Spurs are simply not expected to progress here and with the pressure off it could benefit them psychologically. They really need their big players to step up going forward. Defensively, they’ve been decent in the main, but of late their goal output has dropped significantly. Poch needs much more from the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen in the final third to try and fill the void left by Harry Kane.

I’d expect the North London side to go back to a four-man defence to allow a greater threat in the attacking half of the pitch, especially with Davinson Sanchez unlikely to feature. Spurs have to be aggressive in their approach; they were far too timid on the ball in the first leg, it may be that they just try and bully Ajax physically but that’s easier said than done.

I was surprised to see how short Ajax were here, especially as it’s a game they don’t have to win. However, it’s hard to make too much of a case for Spurs given their poor recent record. I’m happy to swerve the goals angles as well because all of Spurs’ last five games have featured just the single goal.

The betting angles

Instead, I’m going to focus on two players with different bets on the pair. Firstly, I’ll take Heung Min-Son to have 2+ shots on target at 17/10 (Betfair). The South Korean will be eager to put the weekend’s red card behind him and on the break he is the main threat with his pace and clever movement.

Son averages 2.40 shots per-game this season in both the Premier League and the Champons League but he is landing 1.30 of those on-target in Europe. This bet came in comfortably at the Etihad in the last round, as well as the first leg of that tie. With the onus on Spurs to win, I’d imagine they’d do most of the pressing and with Kane out I’d imagine Son will take the mantle.

Secondly, I’m going to take the even-money from SkyBet on Moussa Sissoko to have 2+ tackles. Now, this might seem a bit of an obscure bet but initially I did expect it to be odds-on.

Sissoko has arguably being the most improved player at the club this season, and his effervescent energy has been a major factor in Spurs getting to this stage. He’s revelled in playing a more central role rather than out wide and as a midfielder in the middle of the park he’s naturally involved in more of the action.

The Frenchman managed three tackles against Man City in the first leg of the quarter-finals. He also managed three away at Dortmund and four at home to the Germans in the Last 16, in addition this bet landed against Barcelona away.

Sissoko’s tackle stats seemingly go up a large degree when he’s playing against the elite sides. He managed four tackles against Chelsea and two against Manchester United, as well as a hike to 1.90 tackle average on the continent. He will be up against tricky players in Hakim Ziyech, Dusan Tadic, Van Der Beek and David Neres all floating into that space.

This same bet is as short as 8/13 elsewhere which I think is closer to a true price, therefore the even-money quote looks more than backable.

Best Bets

Ajax v Tottenham – Heung Min-Son to have 2+ shots on-target (17/10 Betfair)

Ajax v Tottenham – Moussa Sissoko to have 2+ tackles (1/1 SkyBet)

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