First things first, UEFA confirmed that the Final will go ahead with ‘tight’ security measures despite the tragic news coming from Manchester.
DATE AND TIME
19:45 BST Wednesday 24th May 2017
BT Sport Showcase will run a free broadcast of the final. Standard Sport will have online match coverage starting an hour before kickoff.
United go into the Final having won their final League match on Sunday. United’s form if late has been patchy with Sunday’s win their first since defeating Celta Vigo in the first leg of the semi-finals.
Ajax go in the Final having played their last match on the 14th of May. Ajax have won three of their last five matches and only just sneaked into the finals after losing 3-1 away at Lyon.
Manchester United will start with Sergio Romero in goal having entrusted him in guarding the sticks for majority of the Europa League. In defense, United miss the imperial Eric Bailly who is suspended after picking up a red card in the semi-finals. The usual suspects – Ibrahimovic, Rojo, Young and Shaw. Chris Smalling and Marouane Fellaini face a race against time to get themselves fit in time for the clash.
Ajax come to Stockholm well rested after having completed their league campaign last weekend. They have no fresh injury concerns. Ajax however will be without Nick Viergever who was shown a red card in Ajax’s semi-final. Ajax have left-back Daley Sinkgraven on the treatment table.
The match has been touted as United’s road to the Champions League. They have already missed out on playing in twice in the last three years and did not make it out of the group stage in the season they played. The match has big consequences whatever the result. There are millions riding on it and Mourinho will hate to miss out on Tuesday. Should United lose the final, their season will be considered a failure despite the EFL Cup victory.
Ajax go into the Final having lost out on the Eredivisie for the third year running after a Dirk Kuyt hat-trick condemned them to second place. A win will see Ajax enter the Champions League at the group stage unlike the qualifying rounds they have to navigate courtesy their league finish.
Ajax and United are known for their Academies. While United have their Rashfords and Gomes, Ajax have Kasper Dolberg. The 19 year old one of the Europa League’s top scorers with 6 goals. He has become Europe’s hottest properties and a performance in the final will only add to his reputation.
Damir Skomina has been given the whistle for the match. He has taken charge of one United match previously, having refereed David Moyes’ first ever Champions League fixture. United won 4-2 and there were no controversial decisions. Mourinho however once called him weak and naïve.
WHY UNITED HAVE A CHANCE?
United are managed by Jose Mourinho. He is an expert in winning one off games and has a tendency to do well in Cup games. The talent on United’s team is also points towards a win. And the most important thing is that the opponents are not Seville.
WHY UNITED MAY LOSE?
United are coming off a tiring season having played over 60 games. But the expected starters have been well rested coming into the match. Ajax’s relative inexperience can be good or bad for United and it promises to be an exciting match.