Barcelona vs Ajax by Isaiah
In the last game before tonight Barca did not had a good performance against Sevilla, but they managed to take all three points in the last action of the game (94th minute) with a goal from Alexis Sanchez and ultimately won 3-2. With this result Barca retained the absolute in the Spanish league with 4/4 wins, but they puzzled again with their performance, while they showed much defensive gaps and difficulties.
Gerardo Martino stated that he wants his players to transfer the ball from defense to attack quicker and talked with all players for 40 minutes at Monday training, seeking solutions to be a more compact team until now, and it is easier to correct things after a win, despite a defeat. Pedro is back to the main eleven, as he was rested to the game against Sevilla, while Jordi Alba will sit out due to injury. Adriano will take his place.
Cesc Fabregas is expected to take the place of Xavi with Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta on his side, while in attack and on the side of Messi and Neymar, will start Alexis Sanchez or Pedro, instead of Cristian Tello. Probable lineup: Valdés - Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano - Fàbregas, Busquets, Iniesta - Alexis ( or Pedro), Messi, Neymar.
After two consecutive away draws, Ajax returned to winning ways, beating Zwolle with the score of 2:1. Zwolle has the right to shout for an unfair result, as they had a dissalowed goal in the first half, and a clear penalty shortly afterwards that was not given, while they threaten Ajax a lot. Ajax generally had lot of luck on their side, and even with this win they showed that they are struggling at the start of the season and they are weakened during the transfer window, where they lost defender Alderweireld to Atletico and midfielder Eriksen to Tottenham.
After this match they have to play the derby with Eindhoven in next weekend. To the group that they have been draw with Milan and Celtic, i do not think that they can push for first position, and a more realistic target can be to capture the third place and continue the European effort in the Europa League. There are no squad problems for Ajax.
I think that Barcelona can have a very easy game today against a very young side like Ajax. Ajax is surely weakened in comparison with last season and they are struggling to get results in Dutch league, while Barcelona needs a convicing result.