Lille vs. Ajax – Europa League, February 18, 2021
Lille and Ajax meet for a tasty Europa League clash on Thursday, February 18, as both sides currently find themselves top of their respective domestic tables.
LOSC is leading PSG by just a single point in Ligue 1, while Ajax sits six points clear of PSV in the Eredivisie. Needless to say, this Round of 32 first leg should be a competitive battle.
After assessing the bookmakers’ odds, I will share my Lille vs. Ajax prediction and betting pick.
Lille vs. Ajax Odds
As you can see, the top online betting sites can’t seem to separate these two teams. Lille (2.60) has the home-field advantage on Thursday, yet Ajax (2.60) is expected to challenge the hosts.
The Dutch side has a strong recent record against Les Dogues, and the sportsbooks have clearly taken that into account when pricing up this matchup.
I assess both teams’ chances below.
Lille vs. Ajax Preview
At this stage in the season, Lille is usually miles behind PSG in the Ligue 1 table. But as things stand, Christophe Galtier’s men currently find themselves ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Les Dogues have only lost two of their 25 league games this term, claiming 16 wins and seven draws in the process. They may only lead PSG by one point, but given the Parisians’ recent domination, they can be extremely proud of their efforts.
LOSC also lost just one of their six group games in the Europa League, with a memorable 0-3 victory over AC Milan coming back in November. The French side also did the double over Sparta Prague en route to qualifying for the knockout phase.
Yusuf Yazici has bagged 13 goals and four assists in 27 outings this term, including six goals in six Europa League appearances. The Turkish forward netted two hat-tricks earlier in the campaign, so he will be hoping to pick up where he left off in the group stage.
On top of that, Lille’s backline has also been super tight this season, making the team a threat at both ends of the pitch.
On the flip side, Ajax started the 2020/21 campaign in the Champions League. But despite securing back-to-back wins over Midtjylland, the Dutch side struggled against the stronger teams in their group.
After suffered two defeats to Liverpool and taking just one point from two games against Atalanta, Erik ten Hag’s men ended up finishing third in Group D – four points outside the qualification places.
However, it goes without saying that Ajax stands a far better chance of securing silverware in the Europa League, so the Amsterdam outfit will be confident of going deep into the competition.
A recent ten-match unbeaten streak – eight wins, two draws – has seen Ajax open up a healthy lead at the top of the Eredivisie standings. Not only have ten Hag’s men netted 25 goals during that period, but they have also kept four clean sheets.
The Dutchmen can take confidence from the fact that they sealed two wins over Lille in last season’s Champions League. Having said that, Lille is a completely different animal this time around.
Lille vs. Ajax Pick
Lille to Win2.60
As the bookies’ odds suggest, this is destined to be a tight game between two evenly-matched teams. But in my eyes, Lille has the upper hand here.
The French side will be brimming with confidence following a hugely successful domestic run, and playing on home soil will give Galtier’s men an edge on Thursday.