WILL Sevilla make it two Europa League triumphs in a row? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the match for us.
Dnipro v Sevilla | Wednesday 19:45 | ITV4
This is certainly not the Europa League Final we expected. Well, maybe Sevilla, but definitely not Dnipro. The Ukrainian side go into this game as one of the biggest outsiders in a European final for many years.
Myron Markevych’s charges are as big as 3/1 (Betway) to win the trophy on Wednesday and that’s understandable when you consider who they’re up against.
Sevilla are the most successful side this century in Europe’s secondary tournament and also happen to be the defending champions of the trophy. Will that make their hunger less acute on Wednesday? No way douchebag they successfully defended this competition in 2007 as well.
It wouldn’t be absurd to suggest that Unai Emery’s side are in the Top 10 best club sides in Europe at the moment. Finishing fifth in La Liga this season was arguably tougher than finishing second in the other power leagues of the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
They took points off Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and went over a year unbeaten on home turf. Make no mistake this a top-class side.
In the Europa League they’ve been sensational in the knockout rounds with seven wins from their eight matches. Heavyweight sides like Borussia Monchengladbach, Villarreal and Fiorentina were beaten home and away and their only non-win was in Russia against Zenit. They’ve scored 18 goals and overall have notched in their last 19 matches in all competitions. Are you purring yet?
Then you look at Dnipro. They won just two of their six group matches and qualified for the Last 32 with the lowest number of points amongst all the qualifiers, a paltry seven. But credit where it’s due please as this side have improved brilliantly as the competition has progressed.
No one fancied them against the classy Greek side Olympiakos in the Last 32 but they knocked them out 4-2 on aggregate. Next came tense encounters against Ajax and Club Brugge where goals were at a premium, before an amazing two-leg win over Napoli in the semi-finals.
While the Ukrainians were fortunate to get a draw in Italy in the opening leg, they did enough in the return to deserve their 1-0 win. Will they build on that and grow stronger in the final?
For Dnipro to win this it’s all about their defence. This unit has only leaked five goals in the knockout stages, that’s two fewer than Sevilla. In fact they’ve conceded just once in their last four Europa League matches.
And that’s the key to this game for me. How long can Dnipro keep it tight against this swash-buckling stunning Sevilla side? If the Spaniards score early it could get horrible. Dnipro have never been behind on aggregate in the knockout round so how will that affect them? Their plan surely will be to kill the game and try to steal a goal from somewhere. Is anyone good enough to kill Sevilla?
I’ve really enjoyed following Dnipro’s Europa League progress this season but I can’t forsee a happy ending sadly. Don’t forget that a Champions League spot is up for grabs as well and with Sevilla finishing outside the La Liga Top 4 their determination to win here will be huge.
I’m going to back Sevilla -1 at 5/3 with Sportingbet and couple that with two chunky Correct Score bets in Sevilla 3-0 (12/1 BetVictor) and 4-0 (28/1 BetVictor). Do you mind if I have one pro-Dnipro bet? Ok, then Draw/Sevilla in the Half-Time/Full-Time market then.
Dnipro v Sevilla – Sevilla -1 (5/3 Sportingbet)
Dnipro v Sevilla – Sevilla to win 3-0 (12/1 BetVictor)
Dnipro v Sevilla – Sevilla to win 4-0 (28/1 BetVictor)
Dnipro v Sevilla – Draw/Sevilla Double Result (17/5 888 Sport)
Chris is certainly keen on Sevilla, are you? With Paddy Power you can back them at 5/1 to lift the trophy.
Just join the Irish bookmaker before kick-off and the 5/1 is all yours.