The 2016/17 Europa League final will take place in the Friends Arena, Sweden on the 24th May. The match will be contested by Ajax Amsterdam of the Eredivisie and Manchester United of the English Premier League.
Having finished second in their domestic league, Ajax know they have a place in the Champions League next season. However, their league placing only gives them a place in the third qualifying round, whereas winning the Europa League would send them into the group stages.
Manchester United do not have their league place to fall back on, having finished sixth in the Premier League this season. If they want to return to the top table of European football, they must win this match.
Ajax vs. Manchester United
Europa League – Wednesday 24st May 2017 – 7:45pm
Best Odd of: 15/4 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 5/2 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 10/11 Ladbrokes
Ajax ended the season somewhat disappointingly, having lost 3 of their last 6 games in all competitions. Despite defeating Willem II on the final day of their domestic campaign, it wasn’t enough to finish top of the Eredivisie.
In the Europa League, Ajax finished top of their group, winning 4 and drawing 2 of their 6 games. In the knockout stages, Ajax were involved in four very close ties, winning each of them by a single goal on aggregate.
Interestingly, Ajax won all 4 of their home games but failed to win a single game on the road, drawing 1 and losing 3 of them.
Manchester United Form
Jose Mourinho’s team ended their domestic season with a whimper, winning only 1 of their last 6 games in the Premier League. Their last 4 fixtures saw Mourinho make numerous changes to his team, as he chose to focus on this competition.
The group stages of the Europa League were tough for Manchester United and they lost 2 games before finishing second behind Fenerbahce.
In the knockout stages, Manchester United became very hard to beat and did not lose a game of the 8 they played. However, they were held to draws by Rostov, Anderlecht and Celta Vigo, results which will give some encouragement to Ajax.
Ajax will be without the suspended defender Nick Viergever. This could mean a place in the centre of defence for 17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt. That’s the only real problem area for Peter Bosz, who is hoping Daley Sinkgraven will be fit to take his place at left-back.
Manchester United also have concerns at the back, with Eric Bailly suspended and both Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling injured. That could mean a start in central defence for Phil Jones alongside Daley Blind. Paul Pogba is fit to take his place in midfield and Marcus Rashford will start in attack.
Top Betting Tips
Given their stature and money spent in the transfer market, Manchester United come into this match as the favourites to win, priced at 5/6 with Ladbrokes. Ajax are the outsiders, available at 7/2 with BetVictor.
Manchester United have proven very difficult to beat in the Europa League knockout stages and remained undefeated throughout. Mourinho is keen to see his team defend well first and this has seen 6 of their last 7 Europa League games end with under 2.5 goals. You can get 13/5 with Ladbrokes for Manchester United to win and under 2.5 goals.
From the Round of 32 onwards, 4 of Manchester United’s 5 wins have been by just a single goal. You can get 5/2 with Ladbrokes for Manchester United to win by 1 goal.