What a game!
This game had everything, goals, red card’s, VAR decisions, and a lot of heart and passion from two of the most exciting young teams in Europe as Chelsea came back to draw with Ajax at Stamford Bridge. Ten Hag made some changes to his lineup while Lampard made one change from the weekend as Alonso came back into the team for Emerson.
The game started off in blistering fashion as Ajax scored in the 2nd minute after a free kick from Promes was deflected into the net by Tammy. Chelsea then went down the other end and got a penalty as Pulisic wad brought down in the box. Jorginho stepped up and equalised for Chelsea in the 4th minute. Promes then scored again for Ajax in the 20th minute as he came in behind Azpilicueta and headed in via a cross. Ziyech then got a free kick as Alonso fouled him and he curled one in off the post which deflected into the net via Kepa in the 35th minute. Ajax had 3 goals but they had only one shot on target as it was not a dominant performance by any means. Azpi, and particularly Alonso were shredded in the 1st half and so Lampard brought on Reece James for Alonso in the 2nd with Azpilicueta moving to left back.
The 2nd half saw new energy from Chelsea as Zouma started it off with a surging run which just lacked a finish. Van de Beek though made it 1-4 for Ajax in the 55th minute as the scoreline suggested that Chelsea were out of this game. Mount was then fouled and brought off due to injury as Hudson-Odoi came on for him. Pulisic then made a surging run down the flank and his cross found Azpilicueta in the 63rd minute to make it 2-4. Tammy was then fouled in a build up and the loose ball was taken up by Callum who’s shot caught the hand of Veltman as Chelsea got a penalty in the 71st minute. Blind was shown a 2nd yellow and Veltman was also sent off for the hand ball as Ajax were reduced to 9 men. Jorginho stepped up and dispatched the penalty to make it 3-4. A Willian cross was then headed off the post by Tammy only for the rebound to find Reece James who volleyed it into the net in the 74th minute to make it 4-4. Azpilicueta then found the net in the 78th minute to send the Chelsea fans mad and the players mad only for his goal to be ruled out by VAR as the shot had touched Tammy on the hand. Ajax still cut out some chances in the final few minutes but the game ended 4-4.
Madness is the only way to describe this game. Kepa was good and made some great saves towards the end to deny Ajax a late steal as he really could not be faulted for the early goals. Alonso was poor and was rightly taken off at half time as two of the goals came down the left hand side. Tomori and Zouma were strong as the goals came from set piece situations and not open play. Azpilicueta was poor in the first half as Promes caused him problems but really turned up when he switched to the left and led the team with aplomb in the 2nd half. Jorginho got two and should his calm and collected nature as he continues to grow as a leader in this Chelsea team. Kovacic once again was solid alongside the Italian in midfield. Mount was good when he played but a couple of his passes were wayward in the 1st half. Pulisic was good and made some surging runs while getting two assists along the way. Tammy had great build up play and could have easily scored two as one was ruled offside in the 1st half and his header hit the post in the 2nd. Willian showed great energy and got better in the 2nd half as the game opened up. Reece James was exceptional when he came on at half time as his runs down the right caused Ajax several problems. Hudson-Odoi also made a great impact when he came on and was danger for Ajax. Michy was a late sub but could have easily got a goal if it were not for Onana who made a brilliant save.
For Chelsea set-pieces continue to be our biggest point of contention as we need to learn to deal with them. The game in general was an open one and one affected heavily by VAR but Chelsea were exceptional in the 2nd half and never did it feel like we would lose this game. The belief that Lampard has instilled in this squad this season is amazing and the feeling of unity between the players in next level. We do tend to do better away from home and so our trip to Valencia should be an exciting one while beating Lille at home will not be an easy game. Chelsea as a group continue to grow and up next is Crystal Palace as we continue to improve in this crazy season. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!