It’s time for the final of the UEFA EUROPA League pitting Ajax against the might of Manchester United.
Ajax barely scraped into this round of the competition with a 1-goal advantage in the Semi Final round against a talented Lyon outfit. Similarly, the round before was a 1-goal advantage to Ajax against Schalke 04. What does this mean? The Dutch boys can play like world-beaters at home but struggle on the road.
Manchester United come into the final after a narrow 1-goal margin of victory against lowly Celta Vigo. A lot more was expected from the English giants but to be fair this has been the style for the duration of their season. Similar to Ajax, Manchester United scraped through the previous round with a 1-goal advantage over Anderlecht.
These two teams are both lucky to be here. Manchester United has made no secret that every bit of their focus is on this game. They’ve played like peasants in the EPL recently. They looked woeful against Arsenal and Tottenham in combination with a victory over Crystal Palace on the last day of the season. Mourinho is a clever cookie and has his team 100% ready for this one.
Manchester United love to bring the game to their preferred pace. They hardly leave themselves exposed. Similarly, I think Ajax will be mindful of this and try and shore up their often-leaky defence. The atmosphere will be tight in this one being a final and all, so I don’t see as much expansive play from Ajax.
Ajax is a Dutch club and what do Dutch clubs prove time and time again? That they crumble when the lights shine brightest. If Mourinho and United are ever to prove they had a master plan for a season this is the time to do it.
Look for United to eek out a nail-biting win. Manchester United 1-0 on the back of a Marcus Rashford special.
Best Bet: Manchester United by 1
Value Pick: Under 1.5 Goals
Correct Score: Man Utd 1-0
First Goal Scorer: Marcus Rashford
By Nik Hatzi