Europa League Final Preview and Tips for Football Punters
On Wednesday evening, Atletico Madrid of Spain will take on France’s Olympique Marseille in Lyon, France as the teams battle it out to follow Manchester United into the history books as the latest winners of the Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup).
It’s the first of two massive finals this week, the second of which comes at the weekend at Wembley as Chelsea and Manchester United face off in the FA Cup Final (which we will bring you a preview of later in the week), but this one will award one team the first big European prize of the season and ensure that the team lifting the trophy do not end the season without silverware.
To enjoy the best of the betting on both of these games, as well as the forthcoming Champions League Final and of course this summer’s World Cup, why not head on over to the football-friendly site Coral Sport? You don’t have to sign up using Coral Sports own bonus, you can use the great value and mobile-friendly Coral Vegas No Deposit Bonus to open a Coral account and that will still get you a chance to enjoy all the greatest sports betting you can find online.
So, once you have signed and you are ready to enjoy a flutter on the biggest game across Europe this week, let’s preview both the teams playing and bring you our tip on how we feel the game will play out.
Europa League Final Preview
- Kick Off – 7.45pm on Wednesday 16th May
- Venue – Groupama Stadium, Lyon
- Referee – Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)
In the event of a tie after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time will be played. Should the game still be tied, then the winner will be decided by penalty kicks.
How Each Team Reached the Final
Atletico began the season in the Champions League, finishing 3rd in their group to drop into the Europa League at the Round of 32 stage after Christmas.
- V Chelsea – Lost 1-2 at home, Drew 1-1 away
- V AS Roma – Won 2-0 at home, Drew 0-0 away
- V Qarabag – Drew 1-1 at home, Drew 0-0 away
- Round of 32 – V Copenhagen – Won 1-0 at home, Won 4-1 away
- Round of 16 – V Lokomotiv Moscow – Won 3-0 at home, Won 5-1 away
- Quarterfinals – V Sporting Lisbon – Won 2-0 at home, Lost 0-1 away
- Semifinals – V Arsenal – Won 1-0 at home, Drew 1-1 away
Atletico Madrid’s European Match Stats 2017-2018
- Played – 14
- Won – 7
- Drew – 5
- Lost – 2
- Goals Scored – 22
- Goals Against – 8
Marseille started their quest in the Europa League qualifying rounds, playing through two rounds before entering the Europa League Group Stage. They finished 2nd in their group to Salzburg to qualify for the Round of 32 post-Christmas.
Europa League Qualifiers
- V Oostende – Home won 4-2, Away drew 0-0
- V Domzale – Home won 3-0, Away drew 1-1
Europa League Group Stage
- V Konyaspor – Home won 1-0, Away drew 1-1
- V Red Bull Salzburg – Home drew 0-0, Away lost 0-1
- V Vitoria Guimares – Home won 2-1, Away lost 0-1
Europa League Knockout Stage
- Round of 32 – V Braga – Home won 3-0, Away lost 0-1
- Round of 16 – V Athletic Bilbao – Home won 3-1, Away won 2-1
- Quarterfinals – V Red Bull Leipzig – Home won 5-2, Away lost 0-1
- Semifinals – V Red Bull Salzburg – Home won 2-0, Away lost 1-2 (after extra time)
Marseille’s European Match Stats 2017-2018
- Played – 18
- Won – 9
- Drew – 4
- Lost – 5
- Goals Scored – 28
- Goals Against – 15
Punters Guide to the Stats
- Both teams have won all their home games in the Europa League so far this season.
- Marseille have lost five of their eight away games however, Atletico in comparison have lost just twice in Europe this season (at home to Chelsea and away to Sporting Lisbon).
- Atletico Madrid have already qualified for the Champions League next season by virtue of their league position in Spain (currently 2nd with one game remaining)
- Marseille have not yet qualified for the Champions League next season but could do so domestically at the weekend if results go their way. If they do not then they will qualify for the Europa League next season, unless they win this competition.
- Antonio Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) and Lucas Ocampos (Marseille) are both teams top scorers in this competition thus far this season with 4 goals apiece.
- Dmitri Payet (Marseille) has more assists in this season’s Europa League than any other player with seven to his name.
What will each team’s starting eleven be?
Atletico will be without their manager Diego Simeone, who will serve the second of a four match UEFA ban after being sent off in the semifinal 1st leg with Arsenal. Simeone will sit in the stands for this game with his assistant German Burgos in control on the bench. Filipe Luis will miss out due to injury which means that young French prospect Lucas Hernandes will deputise once again at left back.
Jan Oblak will certainly start in goal for Atletico and Diego Godin and Jose Giminez will be their central defensive pairing with Lucas Hernandes at left back. At right back Simeone can select either the returned from suspension Sime Vrsaljko, the veteran Juanfran or the versatile Thomas Partey, though my money would be on Vrsaljko returning to the team.
Simeone tends to play with three in midfield and I think that will likely see Gabi and Thomas Partey play anchoring roles, with Saul Niguez the more attack minded of the trio. Further forward, Antonio Griezmann and Angel Correa will likely flank Diego Costa in what is likely to be Simeone’s preferred 4-3-3 system.
Rudi Garcia will be on the bench for this one and he has a pretty strong and fit squad to pick from. There’s a decision over who to play in goal with Yohann Pele the man between the sticks for most of the Europa League campaign of late, but Steve Mandanda returned from injury at the weekend (but was sent off and gave away a penalty). So it will be interesting to see who Garcia elects to be between the sticks on Wednesday night.
Defence is a more settled position with Hiroki Sakai likely to play right back after returning from injury and Jordan Amavi will be handed the left back slot. Rolando, the hero of the semi-final against Salzburg, will line up in central defence alongside Adil Ramzi, who has played the most minutes of any player in the Europa League this season.
Luis Gustavo will anchor the midfield and give the defence a protective shield, with Lucas Ocampos and Florent Thauvin, Marseille’s top scorer, likely to play in central roles. Dmitri Payet will be given a freer role to float around the flanks with Kostas Mitroglu likely the main striker, unless Valere Germain’s improved form of late sees Garcia elect for the Frenchman. With Bouna Sarr a doubt, Maxime Lopez may get the final spot in the team in what is likely to be another flexible 4-3-3 formation.
Who are our tip for the Europa League Final?
So with all the above in mind, who do we think will win the Europa League?
In short, I think this is a game that isn’t going to be won by who dominates midfield. Instead, I think this match breaks down into two attack v defence scenarios. Marseille’s creative genius Payet and the goals of Thauvin are very strong but they come up against an Atletico Madrid which, in my opinion, is the best back line in world football at present.
As such, I think Atletico will likely keep Marseille from scoring, certainly for 90 minutes and maybe into extra time if required. However, personally, I don’t feel that this game will go beyond the 90-minute mark.
The reason for that is because I believe Atletico’s attack is very talented and has the ability to undo what has been a leaky Marseille defence, especially away from their home at the Stade Velodrome. I can see the likes of Griezmann and Costa, along with Niguez from midfield, causing Marseille real problems and as such, I feel that not only will Atletico win, but the best value bet here is Atletico Madrid to win to nil, which is 29/20 with Coral Sport.