Ajax vs Brighton. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Ajax will host Brighton as part of the program of the 4th round of the UEFA Europa League group stage. Will the hosts be able to continue their good stretch?

AFC Ajax will host Brighton & Hove Albion FC in the UEFA Europa League Group B 4th round match at the Johan Cruijff Arena. The fixture will take place on Thursday, November 9, beginning at 23:15 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Ajax News & Current Form: 

After Ajax won their 36th league title in the 2021-2022 season, Erik ten Hag left the team. Many claim that ten Hag left the team in good shape. But the fact remains that the Red and Whites at that time won their third consecutive league title and were aiming to win a fourth, which, by the way, has happened only once in the club’s history. 

The replacement for the coach was Alfred Schreuder, by the way, his appointment was approved by the current manager of Manchester United FC, because Alfred at one time was an assistant at his staff. Not long before that, Schreuder led Brugge KV to the Belgian championship in the season 2021-2022. 

In his farewell interview with the club’s media ten Hag said: 

“Our team has progressed well and has become a serious force on the European stage. Schreuder has a huge advantage over the other candidates: he knows the team well. He has been here from the beginning and he knows what to expect from these players. The foundations have already been laid and he is the right person to develop this club further.”

However, Schreuder’s first season can only be described as a failure. Ajax finished third in the Eredivisie standings, the lowest place in the league since the 2008-2009 season. And that’s even despite a great start to the season, when the club won 6 of their opening 6 games for the first time since the 1997-1998 season. 

Schreuder expectedly did not make it to the end of the season and was fired in the January of 2023 after 7 consecutive matches without winning in the championship. At that time the Sons of the Gods were already on the 5th line in the standings. And it’s hard to disagree with the management of the Amsterdam club, this series was the longest winless streak for Ajax since 1965.

Moreover, the club dropped out of the UEFA Champions League already after the group stage, they lost 4 matches out of 6. It was in this UCL draw that the Dutch club suffered the club’s biggest defeat since 1964, it was a match against SSC Napoli, which ended with a score of 6:1.

Schreuder was replaced by John Heitinga, who was coaching the Amsterdam club’s youth team at the time. But even he was only a temporary detail – he only worked until the end of the season, raising the team from 5th place to 3rd. 

In the 2022-2023 season, Ajax conceded 38 goals in the Eredivisie – more than in the disappointing 2008-2009 season and twice as many as in the previous season under ten Hag (18). In addition, the players only took 630 shots on goal for the season, the lowest number in the last few years, only the 2015-2016 season (523 shots) and the shortened covid 2019-2020 season (549 shots) were worse. 

The club from Amsterdam finished that season 13 points behind Feyenoord Rotterdam – the biggest gap from first place since the 2014-2015 season (17 points). Moreover, third place meant Ajax remained without the Champions League for the first time in 13 years. This seemed to be the end of the team that ten Hag had called a serious force in Europe. 

The current season started just as badly, to put it bluntly the Amsterdam club is simply flying into the abyss. At the end of October, the club had a series of four defeats in the league, as a result of which they dropped into the relegation zone for the first time since the beginning of the Eredivisie in 1954. 

Moreover, this is the worst ever start for Ajax in the league, the team scored only 5 points in the first 7 matches, and they lost the match with Feyenoord last month with a score of (0:4), it was the biggest home defeat for the club in the top division, and the team had only 0.3 xG per game. Afterwards, Ajax fans smashed the home team’s stadium in protest. 

Ajax will go into the game having defeated SC Heerenveen 4:1 at home in the Dutch league at the weekend. After opening the scoring in the 25th minute, the Sons of Gods doubled their lead just before the break.

However, Heerenveen still had time to get back into the game and managed to score one goal in the added time of the first half. In the second half, the hosts brought the score to a smashing one.

Recently appointed coach of AFC Ajax – John Van’t Schip

Also the wards of John Van’t Schip beat FC Volendam 2:0 at home, ending a series of poor performances, which led to the resignation of Maurice Steijn. This result allowed the team to leave the relegation zone – now the club is in 11th place in the championship.

As for the Europa League, Ajax failed to win the last four matches in this tournament. During this time there were defeats in matches with PFC Ludogorets (0:1) and Brighton (0:1), as well as draws with Olympique de Marseille (3:3) and AEK FC (1:1). As a result, with 2 points they are in third place in the standings. The team scored four goals, but conceded four goals. The gap from the leading AEK is two points.

The top scorer of the team from Amsterdam is Mohammed Kudus. The player has four goals in three games, in second place is Steven Bergwijn with four goals in ten games, and the top three is completed by Brian Brobbey with three goals in 11 games.

Ahmetcan Kaplan, Geronimo Rulli, Sivert Mannsverk, Steven Berghuis and Amourricho van Axel Dongenwill not be able to help Ajax in the upcoming meeting. All players are injured, and are unlikely to recover for the match against Brighton.

Even the rivals are worried about the club. After the 5:2 defeat to PSV Eindhoven, striker Luuk de Jong intervened: “I’m focusing on PSV, but for the good of Dutch soccer I hope Ajax will come back and fight for the top spots again.”

Brighton News & Current Form: 

In this season of the English Premier League the Seagulls also performed averagely. According to the results of eleven rounds the team has in its asset 18 points and occupies the seventh place in the standings. Brighton managed to hit the opponents’ goal 24 times and conceded 20 times on their own, it should be noted that the team can not win in the EPL for five meetings.

In addition, Roberto De Zerbi’s wards have already fallen out of the English League Cup. In the first match of this tournament, the Blue and Whites lost to Chelsea FC (0:1) and can now focus on the EPL, Europa League and the main Emirates FA Cup.

Brighton’s last matches ended in a draw with Everton FC (1:1) and Fulham FC (1:1), and before that lost to Manchester City (1:2), shared points with Liverpool FC (2:2) and suffered a major defeat from Aston Villa FC (1:6). Only before that, the team was able to break the resistance of AFC Bournemouth (3:1).

The team from the municipality of Brighton & Hove started in the Europa League with a defeat from Greek AEK (2:3), followed by a draw with Marseille (2:2) and a victory over Ajax. Thus, Albion now has in its asset four points and shares the second-third place in the standings with AEK.

The team led by Roberto De Zerbi is one of the most interesting projects in European football today. Brighton play open soccer and mostly hold effective matches, where the players score themselves, but also allow the opponent to distinguish themselves.

After the arrival of the Italian, the English club became the second in terms of possession after City (61.6% and 63.8%) and the third in efficiency (82 goals for Brighton, 88 for City and 90 for Arsenal FC). This is despite the fact that the main problem of the likable Brighton under Graham Potter was thought to be poor luck in attack.

The top scorer of Brighton with 6 goals scored – Joao Pedro

De Zerbi is an AC Milan pupil, he was a youth star, he was even called the Little Genius. But Roberto-footballer had only three matches in Serie A, and for Napoli, the rest – the lower Italian leagues and the championship of Romania. 

Footballers who have worked with the coach, note that the Italian is very serious about all details, there is no day when he does not want to work, even when sick, and requires full concentration. Players can joke around before training, after, but not during. Focus on ball control, on passing, on speed, on positioning. 

De Zerbi himself notes that without such fanaticism he would have a hard time: “If you work in soccer without passion, you will not last long. Fans quickly realize whether you work with passion or not.”  

Sometimes emotions lead to problems. De Zerbi accumulated two red cards and four yellow cards last season. At the same time, Brighton players have never been sent off under the Italian.

In the EPL, Roberto started with two draws and three defeats. He flared up in the third game against Brentford FC (0:2), when he attacked his colleague Thomas Frank. The coach stood up for Seagulls defender Joel Veltman, who was prevented by the opposing coach from picking up the ball for a touchline throw-in. 

“I don’t like it when the opposing coach touches my player or talks to my player because I never talk to players from the other team,” De Zerbi explained after the match.

“I used to be even worse! I understand that you have to stay more relaxed in order to keep up. But sometimes it skids and I go back in time.” 

De Zerbi  is sometimes conflicted within the team as well. Case in point: a public spat with Leandro Trossard last winter, who was the team’s top scorer at the time. The Italian gaffer didn’t like the fact that the Belgian left training after learning he wouldn’t play in the next match. 

Trossard’s agent said that the coach had not spoken to the midfielder for a month before that, “There was a quarrel between Leandro and another player in training over nothing. Since then, the coach hasn’t spoken to Trossard, which clearly doesn’t help the atmosphere.”

The outcome of the conflict was that Brighton let one of the leaders go to Arsenal. Six months later, they sold goalkeeper Robert Sanchez to Chelsea, who also lost the trust of the coach and fell out of the starting lineup.

Ajax form guide: L-L-L-L-W-W

Brighton form guide: D-D-L-W-D-D

Ajax vs Brighton Head-To-Head Record:

  • October 26, 2023: Brighton 2 – 0 Ajax (UEFA Europa League).

Ajax vs Brighton Predicted XI:

Ajax’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Ramaj; Rensch, Sutalo, Hato, Sosa; Taylor, Tahirovic, Van den Boomen; Berghuis, Brobbey, Bergwijn.

Brighton’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Steele; Veltman, Van Hecke, Dunk, Milner; Fati, Gross, Gilmour, Mitoma; Pedro, Ferguson.

Statistical preview of the match Ajax vs Brighton:

  • First XI average age of Ajax is 24.3 years, Brighton’s First XI average age is 27.5 years.
  • The total value of the Dutch club squad is 185 mln euros, while Albion’s value is 468 mln euros.
  • Nikola Dabanovic has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served five games this season, showing an average of 3.8 Yellow Cards and also whistles 20.20 fouls per game. 
  • Ajax conceded an average of 2.40 goals per game in their last 5 games and scored an average of 2.20 goals per game.
  • Brighton conceded an average of 1.20 goals per game in their last 5 games and scored an average of 1.40 goals per game.
  • Ajax are serving an average of 5.95 corners per game, while Brighton are serving 6.06. 
  • The hosts collect an average of 1.7 yellow cards per game, while the visitors collect 2.69. 
  • Brighton have won only three of their last ten matches in all competitions.
  • Ajax’s last five home matches have ended with a total of more than 2.5 goals.
  • The English club can not win away for five consecutive matches.
  • In 15 of the last 17 matches involving Brighton, both teams have differentiated themselves.

What has been said before the match:

Coach of the Sons of Gods John van ‘t Schip after the game with Heerenveen:

“In the first half, we didn’t get it under control. The distances became larger and the defense got stuck. In the second half, we closed up a bit more aggressively, which automatically made things go better. The match had its ups and downs, but I think we ultimately deserved the win.”

Josip Šutalo had a very solid game today. He played with a lot of confidence, and that gives him a boost. Individually, he did well one-on-one and on the ball. “We need to take it match by match, but ultimately the target is to end up as high as possible. Hopefully the top four leave some points on the table, and we take a lot of points. We hope to rise in the ranking step by step.”

Roberto De Zerbi, head gaffer of the Seagulls, ahead of the Europa League game in Amsterdam:

“We play another very important game on Thursday in Amsterdam stadium and we want to win. It is very important, that game. But we want to compete in the Premier League as well and we have to. We have to be stronger than last season. This season is different and I think we are fighting in a good way.”

“Ajax are very different because they changed the coach. I watched the game against Heerenveen on Sunday. They played a good game and won an important game. They scored four goals, they are different.”

“But for us, nothing changes because we have to win the game. We are here to prepare for a great game tomorrow. We need another three points in the table to qualify for the next step.”

“But they have to play better, they have to push more and more. They have to run for 90 minutes, because they are playing for Brighton, they are not a big player yet. To reach the highest level they have to work. I have explained that clearly to them.”

Ajax vs Brighton Prediction:

One and a half years ago, nobody would have thought that Brighton would find themselves favorites going into this Eurocup match at the monstrous Johan Cruijff Arena. Things are desperately bad for Ajax, they have conceded more than one goal in seven of their last ten games, now finding themselves in the bottom half of the Eredivisie table. Brighton, in turn, look like a very stable team with a much more cohesive and balanced squad, although the English have their own problems.

The new coach led Ajax to сlaim two victories in a row, and at least they won’t be in such a hopeless mood when they take on Brighton. Probably, Ajax is сoming back to senses and it’s only a question of the time when they will manage to revitalize successfully. It’s also worth considering that the team has squad problems. The players are in poor physical condition – the season is approaching the middle, and the Dutch still seem to have serious psychological problems.

As for Brighton, this is clearly a higher level team as of now. This is not the first season they demonstrate, probably, one of the most entertaining football in England. However, now they are in a slump (4 game winless streak in the EPL), and it is probably due to a difficult schedule, which this team was hardly ready for. Personnel-wise, everything is not at its best, the Seagulls can’t boast of the depth of the squad like top clubs: the closest reserve is modest. Three players who would play a defining role are now out of De Zerbi’s reach. Estupiñán, March and Welbeck are injured, which affects the team’s results, in particular.

Brighton have conceded in 14 out of 15 games this season, and now in this game there will be a high probability that Ajax will play as actively as possible in front of their stands to try to turn the tide, to improve the tournament position, to please the fans. The sons of the Gods have an obvious moral uplift. The match for the Dutch represents a chance to save the season – take three points and move to a clean second place in Group B, which will significantly increase the chances of the playoffs. And who knows, under certain circumstances and with a bit of luck, they could even take a swing at the trophy. 

At the same time, this is a great chance for the Blue and Whites to secure leadership if they win, as Marseille and AEK have a head-to-head match. The match has an uncompromising nature, both rivals will try to take the victory, at least to play actively, attacking. Thus, we will see a match packed with goalscoring moments, where the Seagulls will be closer to clinch 3 points.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Both teams will score and Brighton will not lose – Yes.

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