Home Sports Football Europa League Europa League Preview – Solid United to edge past classy Ajax
Europa League Preview – Solid United to edge past classy Ajax

Europa League Preview – Solid United to edge past classy Ajax


Manchester United may have only finished sixth in the Premier League this season, but they have enough quality to see off Ajax in the Europa League final.

Jose Mourinho’s side picked up 24 points fewer than champions Chelsea although the former Blues boss has insisted for several weeks that he is focused on winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season’s Champions League as a result.

Ajax have won many plaudits for their attacking play this season, but the fact remains that they finished behind Feyenoord in the Eredivisie and the Rotterdam-based side were indebted to the 36-year-old Dirk Kuyt for some key goals.

Ajax also flattered to deceive in their Europa League semi-final against Lyon when they almost contrived to throw away a 4-1 first-leg lead before eventually edging home 5-4 on aggregate.

The semi-final was typical of Peter Bosz’s team as they have won all seven of their matches in the competition at the Amsterdam ArenA, but have been less impressive on their travels and have lost games at Schalke and FC Copenhagen.

Ajax may not be quite good enough to beat United although in Davy Klaassen they have a player who has enjoyed a fine season and is good value at 33/4 to score the first goal in Stockholm on Wednesday.

United have been unspectacular in Europe this season and have recorded narrow victories against the likes of Celta Vigo, Anderlecht, FC Rostov and Saint-Etienne in the knockout stages.

However, they should have too much class for a young Ajax team that could freeze on the big stage.

Marouane Fellaini is sure to have a key role to play against the inexperienced Ajax side and the Belgian is 7/2 to score at any time in the final while United are 5/1 to edge to a 1-0 victory.

Goals could be at a premium as they so often are in European finals so taking odds of 19/10 on less than 1.5 in the match would appear to be prudent.

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Mark Race Having worked in the media for nearly 30 years, Mark knows his sport inside out and at all levels. An avid football fan, Mark also has serious knowledge of the tennis world and is quick to point out value bets in a number of other sports.