This Wednesday night, Atletico Madrid of Spain will take on France’s Olympique Marseille in the final of the 2017-2018 Europa League to decide which one of these two teams will claim the trophy and succeed Manchester United as the current Europa League holders.
In this article, we will answer all your key questions about the game, the two teams, the two managers and finally we will bring you our tips on who we think will win the game, how the game will be won and which player we feel is the best value First Goalscorer bet.
Of course, we’ll be using Coral Sport as our bookmaker of choice. Coral offer a wealth of great bets on all top football games and they also have a fantastic new player 400% matched bet offer of bet £5 and receive £20 worth of free bets when you sign up. Alternatively, you can take Coral’s regularly offered special starter bonus offers that the company makes available for a short time whenever there is a top-class football match taking place.
Let’s now get on with taking a look at the final and in this article, we are going to answer some of the key questions punters may have about the game. Starting with the basics.
- Where will the final take place?
The final will take place at Olympique Lyonnais new stadium, the Groupama Stadium. This newly built ground was finished in 2016 for the start of Euro 2016 and has a capacity of 59,186. It is the first time the stadium will host a major UEFA final.
- Is it live on television?
Yes, the match is being shown live in the UK on BT Sport with kick off taking place at 7.45pm on Wednesday 16th May.
- Who is the referee?
Dutchman Bjorn Kuipers will referee the game and on Wednesday he has previously refereed the 2013 Europa League Final (Benfica v Chelsea) an dthe 2014 Champions League Final (Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid).
- What is the key information on Atletico Madrid
Atletico will be without the injured Filipe Luis although Sime Vrsaljko will return to the squad after missing the second leg of the semi-final with Arsenal through injury. Manager Diego Simeone however won’t be on the bench as he serves the second game of a four-match ban, imposed by UEFA following his dismissal to the stands in that fiery semi-final first leg game against Arsenal.
The key men for Atletico will be their outstanding back four, which will see Uruguayan duo Diego Godin and Jose Maria Giminez pair in central defence with Lucas Hernandes deputising at left back for the injured Luis and either Vrsaljko or Thomas Partey as right full back. Other notable players include the midfielder Saul Niguez, a scorer of key goals for the team and the dynamic attacking duo of Antonio Griezmann and Diego Costa who will likely lead a very strong looking Atletico attack.
The team tend to play a rather simplistic 4-3-3 formation but often the wider strikers drop back into midfield to help out defensively.
Probable Atletico Madrid Starting XI (4-3-3) – Oblak, Partey, Giminez, Godin, Hernandes, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Griezmann, Costa, Correa
- What is the key information on Olympique Marseille?
Marseille will have their manager Rudi Garcia on the bench and being located just 195 miles south of the venue, they should also have the lion’s share of the support with them in Lyon on Wednesday. The French side have played much better at home than away in the Europa League this season, but will playing in Lyon give them a slight home advantage?
Marseille’s key men are both attacking players and they are the mercurial midfielder Dmitri Payet and the freescoring Florent Thauvin. Payet has been the inspiration for Marseille’s progress thus far in the tournament both as a creative influence on the team and also as a key goalscorer at times. Thauvin doesn’t possess Payet’s flair with the ball, but he has notched over 20 goals this season for Marseille and if they are to score against Atletico’s very strong defence, it is likely these two players will be the key.
More likely to decide Marseille’s fate however is the fact that their defence has looked vulnerable in the Europa League this season, especially on the road. Atletico have some outstanding strikers that will really test Marseille and I feel that this may well be the crucial battle in deciding which of the two teams come out on top. If Marseille’s defence can keep Costa and co quiet, then the French team have a chance.
Like Atletico, Marseille also play with a 4-3-3 formation, although their two wide attackers can and do drop back into midfield at times to help out defensively, although Payet tends to preserve his energy for going forward.
Probable Marseille Starting XI (4-3-3) – Pele, Kamara, Rolando, Rami, Amavi, Gustavo, Thauvin, Ocampos, Payet, Mitroglu, Germain
- How do you think the game will go?
Although there are some spectacularly talented attacking players on the pitch for this game, I see this as a match where I think the fate of each team lies with their defence. If Atletico’s back four produce their usual standard of performance, I can’t see Marseille having too much joy against them to be honest.
In contrast, Marseille’s back four haven’t been the strongest in the competition, especially outside of Marseille and I think Atletico’s attack have more than enough quality to grab at least one goal, maybe two against them and I just don’t see how Marseille could counteract that with goals in reply against this Atletico defence.
My gut feeling is that we will see an edgy opening 10 minutes or so as both teams feel each other out and that Atletico will take the lead later on in the first half and then in the second half, as time wears on and Marseille push on to try and get an equaliser, I can see Atletico breaking away to grab a second to claim the win.
- So, what are your tips for the game?
My tips for the game are as follows, all odds provided from Coral Sport:
- Match Result – Atletico Madrid to win to nil – 29/20 with Coral Sport
- First Goalscorer – Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid) – 4/1 with Coral Sport
- Correct Score – Atletico Madrid 2-0 Marseille – 6/1 with Coral Sport
Whatever the outcome, it should be a very enjoyable game between two sides that fully deserve their place in the final and as a neutral, I am hoping it will be a spectacle of football.