Champions League: Charlie Nicholas predicts Chelsea vs Ajax, Liverpool vs Genk, others

Champions League: Charlie Nicholas predicts Chelsea vs Ajax, Liverpool vs Genk, others

Former Arsenal star, Charlie Nicholas has predicted some of this midweek’s UEFA Champions League fixtures.

Chelsea will take on Ajax at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, while Atalanta will tackle Manchester City on Wednesday in Italy.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Nicholas gave his predictions thus;

Chelsea vs Ajax: “We’ve seen a lot of what Ajax have done recently. They sold three or four key men in the summer and it makes them weaker, but it does not change their style or the manager’s philosophy. Chelsea wining there was a sensational result, but there is not much between the two sides.

“I still feel there are a few hiccups along the way. You cannot bully Ajax with the ball, but you can without it. Chelsea will want to get the technical edge over Ajax so we have a great game in prospect here. You can still see weaknesses in both teams, but it will be another fantastic result for Frank Lampard.”

Liverpool vs Genk: “I watched the Liverpool game at the weekend. It was a cracking game and end-to-end with drama too. Liverpool are not at their best. People might suggest that once they get going, they will be ruthless, but they are getting away with it currently. The Napoli and Manchester United matches were reality checks, but they could have been two or three down by the time they rescued things at Aston Villa.

“Liverpool have a dramatic amount of games coming up. Mohamed Salah was really average at the weekend, as was Roberto Firmino, so Jurgen Klopp may leave a couple out and change it up. The full-backs will stay the same and you have to leave Sadio Mane in, but Fabinho could also come back in.

“It is normally Firmino who he rests, but I would leave him in with Mane and leave Salah out. He may not like it but it needs to happen. Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will come in and I think it will be a fairly comfortable night nevertheless for Liverpool.”

Atalanta vs Man City: “Atalanta got battered after taking the lead at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is not overly happy with his side. He said the possession and patience was good but he wasn’t happy after the victory against Southampton.

“This was partly due to the way Southampton played. City’s defence is all over the place. John Stones is not in control at the moment and it has been a major step back for him. Fernandinho is not a centre-half, but Nicolas Otamendi is back so it should help.

“Pep will want to get this done and dusted as quickly as possible with the Liverpool game on Sunday. Both respective sides will want to get their games over with so they can make preparations for Sunday’s massive clash. Atalanta will attack and this will open the game up for City. It will be tricky to navigate but they will get there.”


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