2018 Europa League Final: Marseille v Atletico Madrid Odds and Betting Preview
160 clubs across the length and breadth of Europe have taken part in the 2017/18 Europa League and that number was reduced to 48 following the Group Stage qualification process. 24 teams advanced to the knock-out stages, along with eight clubs who finished in third place from the Champions League Group Phase to form the last 32 of the secondary UEFA competition.
Now we are down to the final two – Olympic Marseille and Atletico Madrid will take to the Parc Olympic Lyonnais pitch on Wednesday evening – kick-off: 19:45. Marseille has the slight advantage that comes with less travelling to the game, along with relatively familiar surroundings, but they face a difficult task in overhauling Diego Simeone’s side who have huge experience in major European finals in recent seasons.
Path To The Final
Marseille entered the knock-out stage with a 3-1 aggregate win over Braga. Spanish opponents Athletic Bilbao followed for Rudi Garcia’s men, but the Basque outfit were cast aside as Marseille eased to a 5-2 aggregate victory.
Red Bull Leipzig were the opponents at the last eight stage, as the German side took a 1-0 lead to the south of France for the second-leg. Marseille overwhelmed their opponents with a 5-2 win on the night to qualify for the Semi-Finals against Salzburg. After a 2-0 home win, Salzburg battled back to level the tie on home soil, as extra-time ensued. Portuguese defender, Rolando came on as a late substitute and popped in the decisive goal to give Marseille their first major European final appearance in 14 years.
Atletico Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage and kicked-off their Europa League campaign with a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win over FC Copenhagen in the last 32. Lokomotiv Moscow were next, and the Russian side were swept away with an 8-1 win over two legs.
Portuguese giants, Sporting Lisbon were Atleti’s Quarter-Final opponents as Simeone’s men took a 2-0 lead into the second leg. Sporting grabbed one back through Fredy Montero, but Atleti held firm for a 2-1 victory overall.
Arsenal stood in the way of a Europa League final appearance, and things looked bleak for Madrid as Sime Vrsaljko was shown a red card after just 10 minutes of the first leg. The Gunners couldn’t capitalise on that advantage until Alexandre Lacazette broke the deadlock on the hour mark. Atleti showed their undoubted resolve as Antoine Griezmann hit the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining to level the tie. Diego Costa scored the decisive goal in the return leg and Atleti now have their fifth European final in the last eight years.
Atletico Madrid are the bookmakers’ strong favourites to win the Europa League, with Betfred offering the best industry price at the time of writing of 7/10. That price isn’t expected to last long as several firms already offer just 8/13 on a third Europa League triumph for the Spanish giants.
Marathonbet are once again involved with some of the best available Match Odds, as the Draw can be backed with the layer at 139/50. A win for the French side can also be taken with Marathonbet at the top price of 109/20.
In my view, Atletico Madrid are the worthy favourites for this contest. They have countless amounts of experience at the very highest level of European club football. Atleti are a very dogged, defensively strong outfit. Diego Simeone has his team thoroughly organised, and they should have too much for Marseille, even on French soil. Marseille has their match winners in Dimitri Payet and Florent Thauvin, but it may not be enough on this occasion
Individual Goal Scorers
Highly touted for a big-money move away from the Wanda Metropolitano this summer, French striker, Antoine Griezmann is the bookmakers’ favourite to open the scoring on Wednesday evening. Griezmann is a best priced 33/10 with Unibet to score first. The 27-year-old has hit four goals in seven Europa League appearances this season, and he is likely to be very popular for punters in this market.
My choice however, is with former Chelsea striker, Diego Costa to score first at 23/5 with Sport Pesa. Costa left London under a cloud to return to his former club, but he can end the season on a high by scoring here to give his team another European success. Costa has scored two from four appearances in the Europa League so far this term, and if Simeone decides to start the Spanish striker, he rates as a good bet at the odds.
Marseille has injury concerns leading up to this game with their Greek striker, Kostas Mitroglou battling an Achilles tendon injury. The powerful forward has missed Marseille’s last three games, and he must be rated very doubtful to play. If he does show a miraculous recovery, Mitroglou is a 9/1 chance with Unibet and 888Sport to bag the first goal.
Mitroglou’s likely replacement is to be Valere Germain – who can be backed at 11/1 with Betfred and BetBright. Germain is in good form for Marseille as the French striker has scored in his last two Ligue 1 appearances and has hit seven from 16 in the Europa League.
Others to consider include former West Ham midfielder, Dimitri Payet at 14/1 with Betfred and BetBright, while Atleti schemers, Koke and Saul Niguez should not be discounted at 12/1 and 18/1 respectively – both prices are generally available.
Other Side Bets
Goals in this game are likely to be at a premium. Simeone will set his team out to be primarily obdurate but have attacking intent when the opportunity arises. My thoughts are that Marseille will have a difficult task in breaking down the Madrid back-line, which brings into play the UNDER 2.5 Goals bet. Sun Bets currently offer the top price of 8/11 on this eventuality – in what is deemed as a solid short-priced selection.
Our next punt is for Atletico Madrid to win the game without conceding a goal. Atleti has conceded just 20 goals in La Liga this season – better than title winners Barcelona – and the offer of 153/100 from Marathonbet is too good to refuse so take it.
The Correct Score offering is a routine 2-0 win for Atletico Madrid at 13/2 with Unibet and 888Sport. I believe this will be a comfortable night’s work for Simeone’s team, as the Red and White army will look forward to Champions League football again next season.