On Thursday night, Aston Villa will play Ajax in the opening leg of their round-of-16 encounter in the Europa Conference League.

Ajax x Aston Villa

Ajax advanced because of last month’s thrilling encounter with Bodo/Glimt, while Villa advanced because they won Group E before Christmas.

Top 3 marketsBest odds at bookmakers
Both teams to score: ­čąů1.19 at Bet9ja
Both teams to score : ­čąů1.48 at 1xbet
Ollie Watkins to score anytime: Ôťů2.30 at Sportybet

Ajax and Aston Villa: Previous Games 

In 2008, these clubs met in the Group Stage of the Europa League; Aston Villa hosted and won the match. For the first time, they’re competing against one another in Amsterdam.

See our Olympique Marseille x Villareal prediction

Probable Ajax Lineup

Ramaj; Gooijer, Rensch, Kaplan, Hato, Sosa; Hlynsson, Henderson, Mannsverk, Taylor; Brobbey

Probable Aston Villa Lineup

Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno; Bailey, McGinn, Luiz, Tielemans; Diaby; Watkins

Betting tips: Ajax x Aston Villa

Check out our predictions of the day for Ajax vs. Aston Villa

Prediction 1: Ajax x Aston Villa / Draw or Aston Villa

In light of Ajax’s first clean sheet of the season over the weekend, Villa will need to play more cautiously against their opponents, whose recent form suggests a turnaround. But we’re rooting for Villa to show Amsterdam they’re a more united team and take home at least a point.

Prediction 2: Ajax x Aston Villa / Both teams to score

Both sides have scored in each of Aston Villa’s last five matches, and Villa lost both their home and away games against AZ Alkmaar in the group stage of the UEFA Conference League.

In contrast, eight of Ajax’s ten 2024 games have seen goals from both sides. We will go with both teams to score in this one.

Prediction 3: Ajax x Aston Villa / Ollie Watkins to score anytime

Aston Villa has been a goal-scoring machine this season, tallying 59 in 27 league games and 12 in six Europa Conference League group games.

As the Spaniard sought to add to his four European crowns, Unai Emery had a history of dominating Europe. Regardless, Ollie Watkins has only appeared in three of their eight games up to this point (not including qualifications).

With two goals against AZ Alkmaar and a hat trick in qualifying’s 0-5 victory over Hibernian, the 28-year-old proved invaluable.

With 16 goals, Watkins is currently the league’s second-leading scorer and is in pursuit of the Premier League Golden Boot. His recent three-game scoring streak included two braces away at Fulham and Luton for a total of five goals.

Ollie Watkins will be confident in his chances to add to his outstanding goal total against an Ajax team that has maintained just one clean sheet in their previous seventeen matches.