The Europa League Final will be decided at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden this Wednesday, May 24th when Manchester United of the English Premier League will square off against Ajax of the Dutch Eredivisie. Man United booked their ticket to the Final by beating Celta Vigo of Spain 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinals while Ajax downed French Ligue 1 club Lyon 5-4. The Europa League is the only major European competition that Man United hasn’t won. United last played on Sunday when they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at home in their Premier League season finale. Ajax last played on May 14th when they beat Willem II 3-1 away in their final Dutch season outing.
Manchester United vs AFC Ajax – bet365 Soccer Betting Line:
- bet365 currently lists Man United as the favorites to win the 90-minute game at 4/5 with Ajax 15/4 and a draw at 12/5
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Manchester United vs AFC Ajax – Head to Head:
- These teams have met four times before in competitive games with each team winning two and losing two and Manchester United outscoring Ajax 5-3. They met in the first round of the 1976/77 UEFA Cup with Ajax winning 1-0 at home and Man United winning 2-0 at home. They also met in the round-of-32 in the 2011/12 Europa League with Man United winning 2-0 in Amsterdam and Ajax winning 2-1 at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Manchester United – A Closer Look:
Man United has to win this game if they hope to earn a berth in the Champions League next season. They didn’t qualify through the English Premier League since they finished in sixth place and only the top four qualify for the tournament. Man United finished their domestic season with 69 points from 18 wins, 15 draws and five losses with 54 goals for and 29 against. United finished the group stage of this year’s Europa League as runners-up in Group A.
They had four wins and two losses for 12 points while scoring 12 goals and allowing four against. United is currently unbeaten in their last 10 European contests ith seven victories and three draws. They beat St. Etienne 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 32, Rostov 2-1 in the round-of-16, Anderlecht 3-2 in the quarterfinals and Celta Vigo 2-1 in the final four. United has nine wins, three draws and two defeats in this year’s tournament while scoring 23 goals and conceding eight.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan lead the way offensively with five goals each. However, Ibrahimovic will miss the Final due to injury. United has two wins, three draws and two losses in their last seven games in all competitions. They have faced off against Dutch opposition in European competitions 16 times in the past with eight wins, five draws, and three defeats while scoring 27 goals and conceding 14.
AFC Ajax – A Closer Look:
Ajax has already qualified for the 2017/18 European Champions League by finishing as runners-up to Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie. Ajax finished with 81 points on the 34-game campaign from 25 wins, six draws and a league-low three losses. They scored 79 goals, allowed a league-low 23 against and finished five points ahead of third-place PSV Eindhoven. They lost the Dutch title by just one point to Feyenoord.
Ajax won their Europa League group and then beat Legia 1-0 on aggregate in the round-of-32, Copenhagen 3-2 in the round-of-16, Schalke 4-3 in the quarterfinals and Lyon 5-4 in the semis. The Dutch club’s record in the tournament so far consists of eight wins, three draws and three losses with 24 goals scored and 15 allowed. Kasper Dolberg is their top scorer with six goals to his name. Ajax enters the contest with three wins and two losses in their last five games in all competitions.
Ajax has played English teams in European competitions a total of 21 times in the past and has a compiled an even a record of seven wins, seven draws and seven losses with 24 goals scored and 26 allowed. Fortunately for Ajax, they still qualify for the Champions League even if they lose this game.
Manchester United vs AFC Ajax – Takeaway:
- Man United needs to win to qualify for the Champions League next season. If the game is level after 90 minutes there will be 30 minutes of extra time. If it’s still level the winner will be decided by a penalty shootout.
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