Ajax and Manchester United meet on Wednesday with a European title on the line. Europa League is the one trophy missing from United’s cabinet, and they’re slight favorites for the meeting in Stockholm.
Here are the latest odds from Bovada:
Manchester United vs. Ajax Odds
Spread: Ajax +.5 (EVEN), Manchester United -.5 (-120)
Moneyline: Ajax +330, Manchester United -120
Total: Over 2.5 (+110), Under 2.5 (-130)
It’s hard not to think about Monday’s attack in Manchester when breaking down this matchup.
Jose Mourinho’s pre-match press conference was cancelled on Tuesday, and the club held a moment of silence in their final practice. Mourinho released a statement stating, “It’s a pity we cannot fly with the happiness we always have before a big game. I know, even during my short time here, that the people of Manchester will pull together as one.”
Other teams have not performed well in the wake of a terrorist attack. Borussia Dortmund fell behind against Monaco after an attempted attack on their team bus. France fell to England the week after terrorist attacks in Paris. With only a few days between the incident and the final, it will surely be a talking point for the final.
Then there’s the youth of Ajax against the experience of United. Ajax fielded the youngest team in Eredivisie history on the final day of the season, where they finished one point short of the league title. The attacking stars are Kasper Dolberg, a 19-year old with 16 league goals this season, and Bertrand Traore, a Chelsea loanee who has more shots than anyone in Europa League this season.
It’s a shame United will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will have a statue outside the site of Wednesday’s match. United have been dealing with injuries throughout the final stretch of the season, as Mourinho shifted his focus from the league to Europa League. That shift resulted in a sixth-place finish for the club, making a win tonight and a place in the Champions League all the more important.
With the stakes high, I like the composure of Mourinho and a United club that has been solid defensively. Rashford has been outstanding in this competition, and he’ll be able to do enough at the top to see United through.
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score (Yes at +105)