Europa League Final Tips: Man Utd v Ajax

Stockholm plays host to the Europa League Final. Manchester United and Ajax clash with the winner to gain automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League. The two clubs have taken very different paths to get here and it shapes as a real clash of styles. United have the experience, both on the field and in the coaching booth, but Ajax bring youth and energy to winner takes all arena. The Wolf gives us his insights and best bets.

Match (AEDT) Champions League Tips
Man Utd v Ajax
(Thur 4:45am)
Best: Over 2.5 goals ($2.15)
Value: 1st Half Over 1.5 goals ($3.25)
Correct Score: Draw 2-2 ($19.00)

Europa League Final Preview

Man Utd v Ajax – (Thur 4:45am)
As an organisation UEFA have made few good decisions in recent years but the one to give the Europa League winner automatic qualification in the Champions League is perhaps their best one to date. As a result we now see top quality sides take this competition seriously. In the past sides that had come into the competition via the Champions League group stage played second string sides in what was almost an attempt to get knocked out. Nowadays with league’s becoming more competitive it presents teams that are struggling locally an additional pathway to Europe’s premier competition. This is precisely the case with Manchester United – a club with unheralded success including 3 European Cups and and abundance of English league honours. Their indifferent form in the Premier League meant that Jose Mourinho had no option but to shift his side’s focus to the Europa League and it could pay off…

United registered their first win in 5 games at the weekend at home to Crystal Palace and did so playing a second string side. Ajax are also coming off a win away to Willem but it wasn’t enough for them to clinch the Eredivisie. A second place finish in the league places them in the qualifying rounds for the Champions League but they can secure a spot in the group stage with a win here. For Mourinho’s side the equation is simple – they must win following a 6th place finish in the EPL. For the Red Devils this game is worth more than just money. The club has fallen into European football wilderness since the departure of Alex Ferguson and it is hard to see them attracting top notch talent if they again fail to qualify for the UCL.

Mourinho has been criticised for his defensive tactics this season and we saw his side come under extreme pressure in the second leg against Celta Vigo after failing to put the game away. They have scored just 7 goals in their last 6 Europa matches and one of those came in extra time. Ajax on the other hand have managed to find the net on multiple occasions in 4 of their last 5 European fixtures and have a potent front three. Traore, Dolberg and Younes have been brilliant for the Dutch side with a combined 14 goals and 7 assists in the competition. United on the other hand will be without Zlatan who leads the team in goals and assists (5 goals, 4 assists). They will also need to replace Bailly who is suspended following his send off in the semi.

Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Rashford and Lingard will carry the attacking burden for United but The Wolf says the flow of this game will depend on one Mourinho selection in particular РFellaini. If Mourinho plays the Belgian international we could see a dour affair but if recent Europa League finals are anything to go by we will not see him at any point in this game. There have been 3 or more goals in 4 of the last 5 finals and with Ajax playing a very attacking style we should see this trend continue. We have seen 7 of the last 17 finals go to extra time and The Wolf is predicting high drama in this one. Ajax have used 28 players in the competition this season with an average age of just 22! If you think they will go to Stockholm and defend Рthink again says The Wolf. He cannot get enough on the Overs and is shocked to see the price on offer!
Best: Over 2.5 goals ($2.15)
Value: 1st Half Over 1.5 goals ($3.25)
Correct Score: Draw 2-2 ($19.00)