OUR man Adam Goodwin (@AGJornalism) previews the final in Lyon. Can Marseille be the first French team to ever win this competition or will Atletico prove too good on the night?
Marseille v Atletico Madrid | Wednesday 16th May 2018, 20:05 | BT Sport
Arsene Wenger wanted this game to be his Arsenal swansong, but it wasn’t to be, so we see French side Marseille come up against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. This match-up seems like the unstoppable force against the immovable object – who comes out on top?
Marseille have twice been runners-up in the UEFA Cup and won the first ever Champions League, but there’s been no European success within the last decade, so this is uncharted territory for a lot of these players.
Les Olympiens biggest assets are their forward players and they pride themselves on getting the ball forward quickly and utilising their wingers and attacking midfielders. Former Premier League stars Dimitri Payet and Florian Thavin are the key players for OM and have scored 36 goals between them this campaign.
In Marseille’s last eight away games in all competitions, they’ve scored 15 goals and have fired in 42 in 18 home games this season, an average of over two goals per game.
Despite their goalscoring exploits, they’ll need to show a significant improvement on their away form in the Europa League so far this campaign. They’ve won just one game away from the Orange Vélodrome in this competition, but Rudi Garcia will hope that the short trip across France to Lyon for the final will help cure their travel sickness.
We all know that Atletico Madrid pride themselves on their resilient and soldier-like defending, but they’ve conceded a goal in all four of their games away from home in the Europa League this campaign. They also tend be involved in very tight and cagey games as 13 of their 23 wins in La Liga have come by just a one-goal margin.
Everyone knows about Atletico’s impressive defensive performances and sometimes the ability of Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann can go unnoticed.
In what will probably be Griezmann’s penultimate game for Atletico as a move to Barcelona looks imminent, he’ll want to continue his remarkable goalscoring record for Los Colchoneros. He’s scored 110 goals in 206 games for Atletico since joining them from Real Sociedad and will want to add at least one more before he departs. After joining Atletico in January, Diego Costa has scored in two of his four Europa League games, including the winner in the semi-final against Arsenal.
It’s common knowledge that Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid love European competitions and thrive in knockout situations, having reached two Champions League finals and a semi-final since 2013/14. They won the first ever Europa League after it’s re-branding in 2010 and also lifted the trophy two years later in 2012 – can they make it three?
The betting angle
When you consider all the stats, I really like the look of the 2-1 Atletico Madrid win which is available at 17/2 with Betstars. Atletico know what they’re doing when it comes to these sorts of games and, whilst they are superb at the back, I do think a Marseille forward-line on absolute fire can grab a goal.
I’ll also have a small wager on the Florian Thauvin to score anytime and Atletico Madrid to win 2-1. Thauvin has scored 26 goals in all competitions this season and is in the form of his life.
He’s been linked with moves to some top European clubs and will have that in mind when playing in the final on Wednesday. The anytime scorecast is 22/1 with William Hill.
Marseille v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid 2-1 Marseille (17/2 BetStars)
Marseille v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid 2-1 Marseille/ Florian Thauvin anytime scorecast (22/1 William Hill)
World Cup 2018: The Ultimate Betting Guide
Our 130-page spectacular, World Cup 2018: The Ultimate Betting Guide, is available to buy NOW!
The interactive magazine includes previews, videos, stats and tips for all 32 teams, features on Outright Winners, Top Goalscorer, Refs & Cards, Dark Horses, Flops, Knock-out Betting and much more.
22 football experts contribute to our Ask the Experts feature and there’s over 5 hours of exclusive audio with 5 of the planet’s most respected reporters who discuss the chances of each nation with our very own Mark O’Haire.
And if that wasn’t enough there’s a free bet up for grabs with our partners Ladbrokes.