A post for the upcoming 4 finals (minus the Champions League) was posted yesterday – and for today, my take on the Europa League final between Dutch Legends Ajax, and former Champions League winners Man Utd.
Both have had a tough route to the final – United fighting their way past Anderlecht, Celta Vigo and Rostov – with an easier tie against Saint Etienne in the round before. They have rested players during the run, but with their Champions League fight for 4th in the league faltering – it has become more important in the last month so their lineups have been getting stronger.
Ajax’ route to the final as mentioned has been a tough one – a high scoring tie with Lyon was their last game – with a tight games against Besiktas, Legia and Copenhagen and Schalke their path through the latter rounds – arguably a little tougher as Schalke, Besiktas, Lyon and Copenhagen are all very handy sides.
Injury and suspension could play a vital part – Ajax the more rested side having not played in a few weeks, and Man Utd pretty much forced to field a youth side on the weekend with only two days rest between games. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out, as are Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and potentially Fellaini, as well as Eric Bailly being suspended. Lyon are without Nick Viergever – and bar that there are doubts over Daley Sinkgraven and Lasse Schone.
In terms of the result – it is a toughie! United have gone out from 8/11 to 21/20 in the last day or so, while Ajax are around the 3/1 mark. Ajax have many talented youngsters – Bertrand Traore is on loan from Chelsea, and have been in impressive form – with 9 goals this term. Kasper Dolberg is the man to watch – 16 goals in all competitions including 4 in his last 4. Add in midfield talents such as Hakim Ziyech (a player I have admired for a while) pulling the strings, Sinkgraven, Riedeweld, Kluivert and a few more – the Dutch side have a side to be very wary of.
Man United obviously have talents of their own – chief amongst which is Marcus Rashford, but unlike Ajax, United’s side is full of experience and winners. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Andrea Herrera, David de Gea, Daley Blind to name a few – the biggest winner of all being Jose Mourinho, who has won 3/3 European finals, and many trophies spanning the last decade and a half.
Another factor is the fact that United need to win to get into the Champions League – Ajax already have a place in the qualifying rounds, so the onus in on Man Utd to win it – so with no pressure, Ajax can play a little more freely and with their pressing style of play, could make life difficult for the English side. However, get past that style of play and you have a very average back four.
For me, this is a very even final – both sides have their pro’s and con’s – so my top bet is BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals @ 6/4.
Picking a winner is tough – but with the necessity to win, and the experience of manager Jose Mourinho, I feel they will win so I stick with my Man Utd Win + BTTS @ 7/2.
The game kicks off at 1945 this evening – with it being broadcast all over the world on multiple channels!
Best of luck