Ajax v Manchester United Preview

This is a fantastic final with two very different teams, Ajax are back amongst Europe’s elite once again after an impressive season, and a squad filled with youth. Manchester United have won the EFL Cup so far this season, but after a disappointing Premier League campaign, Manchester United will be hoping to end the season on a high by winning the Europa League. In doing so it would mean Champions League football will be back at Old Trafford next season.

This will be a very tough game for Manchester United, Jose Mourinho’s men will be without key defender Eric Bailly who is suspended. A huge miss for the Premier League side, Bailly tightens up the United defence, without him they look rather vulnerable at the back. Jose Mourinho also confirmed that Sergio Romero will keep his place in goal ahead of David De Gea. Manchester United will also be without, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw who are all long term absentees. Mourinho’s side have been handed a boost with Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling both training last night ahead of the final in Stockholm.

Ajax will be without the suspended Nick Viergever, while fellow defender Daley Sinkgraven has resumed training after a recent injury, however it is deemed that the final will come too soon for him to feature. Ajax are an incredible young side and they will be hungry to lift the Europa League trophy, after being edged out of the Eredivisie title race by Feyenoord.

Manchester United cannot afford this game to become open, if they let that happen – Ajax will punish them, there’s no doubt about that. Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have been focusing on this game for some time now, Mourinho put all his eggs in one basket when he knew Champions League qualification was out of sight in the Premier League. The problem with focusing so much on this game, it adds even more pressure to the Manchester United players. It is understandable to have this mindset but it could so easily backfire, Mourinho has rested a lot of players in the last few games. That might just take away some match sharpness, against a youthful and exciting Ajax side that is a dangerous thing to do.

Tonight’s game is absolutely massive for Jose Mourinho, he has not been himself this season. We have seen the special and happy one turn into the angry and frustrated one. If Manchester United can triumph tonight, we may just see a smile on Mourinho’s face once again. Jose Mourinho has a habit of getting his teams up for the big games, he finds a way to win when it really matters.

Make no mistake about it, whatever happens tonight, this Ajax side are heading for great things. It is important that the club keep hold of their valuable players over the summer, they are becoming a force once again. It would be a shame to see the team get taken apart. It is a very tough game to call tonight, one that I think Ajax will win. They are such a threat with the likes of Dolberg, Kluivert and Klaassen. Manchester United will have their work cut out for them.

Prediction: Ajax 2 Manchester United 1

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