Ajax vs. Manchester United: Red Devils Favourites for Europa League Final
The first piece of European club Silverware is up for grabs on Wednesday as Ajax and Manchester United face off in the Europa League final. The Dutch side finished second in their domestic Eredivisie and as such have already qualified for next season’s Champions League but for United, who finished outside of the top four in England, victory would take them into Europe’s elite competition for 2017/18.
So, there is extra incentive for Jose Mourinho’s men but is that enough to give them the trophy?
Manchester United are considered to be the stronger of the two teams and Jose Mourinho’s men start as odds on favourites at a best price of 6/7 with 188Bet. Victory for Ajax is quoted at 39/10 with MarathonBet while the draw can be taken at best odds of 66/25 with MarathonBet once again.
Those are the prices for the result in 90 minutes but what about the Lift the Trophy market which will also take into account any extra time or possible penalties. Naturally, those prices get shorter with United available at a top price of 1/2 with Winner Sports and Ajax quoted at a best of 25/12 with 188Bet.
The Dutch have a young, attack minded side and there is definitely a threat among their ranks but, if there is greater quality and depth to this Manchester United team, where are the goals going to come from?
Individual Goal Scorers
It’s a shame that injury to United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic robbed the Swede of the chance to face his old club Ajax in the final. Zlatan would have started as favourite to open the scoring but in his absence, Marcus Rashford leads the way at odds of 9/2 with Bet365 and Paddy Power.
Armenian International Henrikh Mkhitaryan follows at best odds of 11/2 with William Hill and SkyBet while Anthony Martial is quoted at 6/1 with SkyBet and BetFred.
The man to watch from an Ajax point of view is teenage striker Kasper Dolberg who is the Dutch side’s first option at 8/1 with 32Red and 888Sport. Danish international Dolberg is just 19 but has 23 goals for Ajax this season, including seven in European competition.
At the very least, that’s the sort of return that makes the player a strong punt in the anytime market at 3/1 with MarathonBet and that’s our top value tip amongst the scoring markets. Other options to score in 90 minutes include Wayne Rooney at 9/4 with BetFred and Paul Pogba, who was on the mark against Crystal Palace at the weekend, at a top price of 7/2 with 32Red.
Other Side Bets
European finals can either be open and attacking or, they can be dull, insipid affairs with neither team wanting to lose. Manchester United haven’t exactly been thrilling in the Europa League this season but Ajax are unlikely to sit back, meaning that this could have plenty of goals in it.
Both Teams to Score looks a very strong option at a shade above Even Money – 21/20 with Stan James and Ladbrokes – but for our final tip, we’re backing over 3.5 goals at a top price of 10/3 with 32Red. Remember that once again, those are prices for 90 minutes and do not take into account any extra time or penalties.
As for the result, Ajax had the better record domestically but the relative strengths of English and Dutch football are accurately reflected in these odds. Manchester United’s key players will also be nice and rested, having been left out by Mourinho in recent matches as the Premier League campaign wound down.
There is the extra incentive for United of Champions League qualification – a competition that Ajax are already confirmed for ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. This Dutch side is packed with emerging talent and, if the club can avoid selling their best assets, they could be a force in Europe in years to come. For now, it could be a little too early for Ajax to challenge United but it won’t be easy and Mourinho’s men may need extra time to claim the cup.