The biggest game of the season for both teams, as Marseille and Atletico Madrid will lock horns in the UEFA Europa League Final this Wednesday, May 16th, 2018, at Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France. The two-times Europa League winners Atletico Madrid are huge -300 favorites to lift the trophy, but the one-time Champions League winner Marseille certainly has something to say here, looking for the first Europa League title, so let’s see what can the bettors and soccer fans expect from this Final.
ODDS TO WIN UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
Atletico Madrid -300
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL – Marseille vs. Atletico Madrid
3-Way: 1: Marseille +500; X: +260 Draw; 2: Atletico Madrid -163 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread +1: Marseille -140; Atletico Madrid +125
Total +2.5: Over +115; Under -140
The Olympians are playing in a good form throughout the season without any big drops in their performance, but it seems like winning the UEFA Europa League trophy is their only ticket for the Champions League next season. After a 3-3 draw against Guingamp on the road in the previous round, Marseille is still in the fourth spot of the French Ligue 1 table that leads to the Europa League next year, and with one round more to go, the Olympians need a miracle to overtake Monaco or Lyon who are both ahead of them. Marseille is unbeaten in the previous seven Ligue 1 encounters, recording four wins and three draws in the process with a 17:9 goal difference.
In 14 games in the UEFA Europa League this season, the Olympians have recorded seven victories, two draws, and five losses with a goal difference of 20:12 which is 2.28 goals per contest on average, while five out of these 14 tilts had more than two goals in the total. Marseille has overcome Salzburg 3-2 on aggregate in the Semi-Finals after a 2-1 defeat in the second leg in Austria, bagging the crucial goal in the extra-time. In the Quarter-Finals they’ve eliminated RB Leipzig 5-3 on aggregate, smashing the Red Bulls 5-2 in the second leg at home, while in the Round of 16, the Olympians have beaten Athletic Bilbao winning both games of the matchup, 3-1 at home and 2-1 at San Mames.
The 25-year old winger Florian Thauvin is the team’s leading scorer with 26 goals in 52 appearances this season, three of them in 11 Europa League matches, while the striker Valere Germain is behind him with 18 goals in 53 games thus far. The playmaker Dimitri Payet is the team’s top assist-maker with 24 dishes in 46 apps, also adding ten goals to his name, and Payet should be a key player for the Olympians in this Final. The manager Rudi Garcia can count on all important first-team players, and only the striker Konstantinos Mitroglou (12 goals in 28 apps this season) is doubtful due to Achilles tendon problems.
Under Diego Simeone, Atleti won the UEFA Europa League title in 2011/2012, their second in the history, and this season, Simeone and his boys justified the odds reaching the Europa League Final in a pretty convincing way. However, Diego Simeone will have to watch the clash against Marseille from the stands due to a UEFA touchline ban after a red card in the first leg of the Semi-Finals against Arsenal, so his assistant coaches will lead the side. Atleti have already clinched the Champions League spot for the next season through the Spanish La Liga, sitting at the second spot of the table at the moment.
In eight games in the UEFA Europa League this season, Atletico Madrid has recorded five wins, two stalemates, and one defeat with a goal difference of 17:4 which is 2.62 goals per contest on average, while three out of these eight encounters had at least three goals on the scoreboard. Atleti have beaten Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate in the previous round, winning the second leg at home 1-0, while in the Quarter-Finals they’ve had a lot of problems with Portuguese side Sporting, winning the matchup 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 loss in the second leg in Portugal.
The 27-year old forward Antoine Griezmann is leading his team with 27 goals in 46 appearances this season, while he’s also the team’s top assist-maker with 14 dishes for his teammates. The striker Diego Costa has bagged seven goals in 20 games thus far, and this attacking duo will be the main threat for the Olympians’ defense. Besides the experienced full-back Juanfran who’s still doubtful due to a hamstring injury, all other players are ready for the Final, so we should see Diego Simeone’s best eleven.
Betting Trends and Match Prediction
- Marseille has a 5-3-2 record in their last ten games overall
- Marseille has a 2-0-2 record with a goal difference of 8:5 in the last four Europa League matches
- Marseille kept the clean sheet only once in the previous eight games in all competitions
- Atletico Madrid has a 4-3-3 record in their last ten matches overall
- Atletico Madrid has a 2-1-1 record with a goal difference of 4:2 in the last four Europa League games
- Only one out of Atleti’s previous nine games in all competitions saw both teams scoring
The bookies favor Atletico Madrid for a reason, as Atleti are a more experienced team than the Olympians, while they are well-known for their great tactical approach in decisive matches. Atleti’s defense is often unbeatable, and Marseille will need a lot of knowledge and hard work to find the back of the net, while the bookmakers set the market on both teams to score here at +110.
I expect to see a cautious approach on both sides, particularly at the start of the game, and if no one manages to break the deadlock in the first half, this clash should be ended in the under. Likewise, if Atletico Madrid gets the opening goal, the Olympians will find themselves in a big trouble, but with Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin in the team, everything is possible, as both these guys can make the difference with an individual effort.
MY PICK: Atletico Madrid AH -1 (+125)
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