Wednesday, 24 May 2017

UEL Final: Ajax vs Man United Match Preview, Team News & Possible Lineups

 Another record beckons Manchester United

Ajax vs Manchester United
2016-17 Europa League Final
Date: Wednesday, 24th May 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 Nigerian Time
Venue: Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
Jose Mourinho prepares his side to face Ajax in an attempt to win the first UEFA Europa League trophy in the club’s history.

Ajax are looking to their 22 year old trophy drought in Europe. Their last title was in 1995, when they defeated AC Milan 1-0 in the Champions League final.

This is Ajax’s 15th appearance in a UEFA competitions final, they won 10 and lost 4 during the process.

Manchester United area a desperate to win the trophy after missing out on a top four finish in the English Premier League.

Nonetheless, Europa League/UEFA Cup is one of the trophies missing from their cabinet.

United have so far appeared in 11 UEFA finals to date. Their record is 6 wins and 5 losses.

The United last appeared in a continental final during 2010/11 Champions League season and were duly thrashed by a rampant Barcelona 3-1.

Their last trophy was in 2007/08, when they defeated domestic rivals Chelsea on penalties.

TEAM NEWS: 

Ajax -  The Dutch side will be without the suspended center defender Nick Viergever for the final at Stockholm.  Otherwise, Peter Bosz has a fully fit squad at his disposal and we can expect a familiar starting eleven in the cup final.

Manchester United - The biggest absentee for Jose Mourinho is his talisman striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Meantime, there is a mini crisis in defense as Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are all sidelined with injuries. While the towering stopper Eric Bailly will miss the final due to suspension.

That’s not all, Chris Smalling and Marouane Fellaini are deemed short in fitness and will go through a late assessment to see if they can last the full ninety minutes.

It remained to be seen if Romero keeps his place in the starting line-up instead of David De Gea in this all important final.

POSSIBLE LINEUPS:

Ajax ( 4-3-3 ): Onana; Veltman, Sanchez, De Ligt, Riedewald; Klaasen, Schone, Ziyech; Traore, Dolberg, Younes

Man United ( 4-3-3 ): Romero; Valencia, Jones, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lingard

KEY STATS:
  • The teams had previously met on four occasions and they share 2 wins each.
  • The first meeting was in 1976 UEFA Cup, Ajax won their home fixture 1-0 and lost away at Manchester by 2-0.
  • The most recent duel was in first knockout round of the 2011/12 edition of the Europa League.
  • United took a 2-0 win in the first leg at Amsterdam, but lost the return leg at Old Trafford by a 1-2 margin.
  • The Dutch side Ajax and Manchester United are meeting for the first time in a UEFA Final. Neither did they met an club from opponent’s country in the penultimate match of the competitions.
  • The Europa League or UEFA Cup, as it was previously known, is the only trophy that has eluded Manchester United up until now.
  •  Ajax have failed to score just once in 14 Europa League games this season while United have shut their opponents out 7 times in the same number of games in the competition so far.
  • Marouane Fellaini scored in the semi-final second-leg against Celta Vigo. The Belgian has scored in two other semi-finals so far for United, with the Red Devils going on to capture both those trophies.
  • The Golden Boy – Marcus Rashford has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 Europa League matches.
  •  Jose Mourinho is undefeated in his managerial career against Ajax – six wins out of six. However, all of them have come in the Champions League during his tenure as the manager of Real Madrid.
 PREDICTION:

Ajax 1 – 2 Manchester United - This is a game between young attacking talent of Ajax and the stubborn defensive unit of Manchester United. I See both teams scoring but United emerging as winners at the end of the day.

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