Saturday, October 21, 2017

Prediction: Ajax vs Manchester United

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 1/1


Bookmaker: bet365

Two of world’s most famous clubs will square off in this year’s Europa League final at Friends Arena in Solna as they both hope to salvage the season having failed to impress on domestic stage. With Ajax and Man Utd each winning two of their last four meetings, we definitely expect a close encounter on Wednesday evening.

Ajax

With 8 European trophies to their name, Ajax are rightly regarded as one of Europe’s most decorated clubs, but this is the first time they find themselves in the Europa League final, that is after the 1992 UEFA Cup triumph. The Amsterdammers exceeded expectations to book a ticket for the high-profile encounter at Friends Arena, as Legia Warsaw, Kobenhavn, Schalke and Lyon took the fall. Meanwhile, Peter Bosz’s side narrowly missed out on the Eredivisie trophy, but the league campaign is now done and dusted, and time has come to focus on the Europa League final. Ajax head into the Man Utd game high on spirits after winning three of their last four games, and they’ve got all key men available for selection. The Amsterdammers will again be relying on their exciting attack that scored 24 goals on the road to the final, although 15 conceded goals are enough to suggest an improvement at the back is required if Ajax are to stand any chance of lifting the coveted trophy. A total of seven players have scored 5 goals or more this season, including stopper Davinson Sanchez, with Kasper Dolberg, Bertrand Traore and Davy Klaassen leading the goalscoring charts.

Team News

Head coach Peter Bosz will have nearly fully fit squad to select from, with only Daley Sinkgraven sidelined through injury, although Nick Viergever is banned for the final.

Manchester United

This has been another less than impressive season for Manchester United, but the Red Devils could turn it into a success if they manage to lift the Europa League trophy. That way they would not only finish the campaign with two major trophies to their name, but also secure lucrative Champions League qualification. Jose Mourinho and his players have clearly been focused on the Europa League fixtures over the last few weeks as the Portuguese manager fielded severely weakened sides in the Premiership and it remains to be seen whether such an approach will yield results. There have been plenty of selection worries for the Special One in recent weeks and even star player Paul Pogba is believed to be battling a hamstring problem, so it is clear his squad will not be in the best of shapes for the highly anticipated encounter. Matching the intensity of youthful Ajax side could also prove difficult, so it goes without saying that the Red Devils will not have an easy job at Friends Arena in Solna.

Team News

Eric Bailly misses the final through suspension, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw are out injured.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Ajax and Man Utd have two wins each in their four meetings so far
  • The Red Devils are unbeaten in last 10 EL fixtures (W7 D3)
  • Ajax failed to win any of last six EL games on the road (D3 L3)
  • Both teams scored in five of those six matches
  • Man Utd have never won Europa League (UEFA Cup) trophy

Conclusion

With both sides struggling at the back, but more than capable of hurting opposition defenders, we expect this to be one of the most exciting Europa League finals in recent years. The two sides are pretty evenly matched at the moment, but chances are we will see goals galore at Friends Arena.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: bet365

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