There are fewer things more inexplicable in football than Sevilla’s love affair with the Europa League and tonight they have the chance to extend their own record by adding their name to the trophy for a seventh time.
The club from southern Spain has a modest domestic honours list. In 133 years they’ve been champions of Spain just once. Their five Copa Del Rey wins make them the 7th most successful club in that competition and prior to 2006 their best European performance was a quarter-final trouncing (10-2) at the hands of Real Madrid way back in the 1957-58 edition of the European Cup.
But incredibly since 2006 they’ve laid claim to calling this trophy their own, appearing in and winning six finals in a 16 year period – even more impressive when you consider that for five of those years they weren’t even in the competition (either not qualifying or in the Champions League), giving them a ridiculous 55% success rate.
Win tonight and they'll have won more European trophies (8 including the European Super Cup in 2006) than domestic (6 including a Supercopa de España in 2007)!
Juande Ramos (2), Unai Emery (3) and Julen Lopetegui have been the architects of Sevilla’s previous triumphs and tonight that responsibility falls on 62-year-old Jose Luis Mendilibar who was only appointed in March after Jorge Sampaoli’s reign ended with the club flirting with relegation.
Medicinar has steadied the ship and navigated his way past Manchester United and Juventus en route to tonight’s final in Budapest.
Standing in his way are AS Roma and their endlessly fascinating boss, Jose Mourinho, a man who knows a thing or two about winning in Europe. The 60-year-old has won all of his five UEFA finals as manager dating back to his first in 2003 when his Porto side beat Celtic in… the city of Seville, right through to last season’s success with Roma in the Europa Conference.
A win tonight would see the Portuguese move one more closer to Carlo Ancelotti, who is on nine, and one ahead of nemesis Pep Guardiola (at least for week or two) in the all-time list of managers to win a European trophy.
They say the bookies seldom get it wrong and they’re taking no chances in this one. The width of the side of a betting slip separates the teams with the Spaniards current favourites at 7/4 and Roma at 9/5 to win inside 90 minutes. Both are 10/11 to lift the trophy at Bet365.
So if the bookies are correct this one should go the distance, a penalty shoot-out win for either side is 7/2.
Celtic (Henrik Larsson in fact) are the only team to have scored against a Mourinho team in a European final. The tactician is famed for shutting games down, something Roma did to great effect in the semi-final second leg at Bayer Leverkusen and Jose famously masterminded against an all-conquering Bayern Munich side with his Treble-winning Inter team in 2010’s Champions League final. So if Roma are to taste victory tonight it could be by winning to nil, a 3/1 shot at Bet365.
Under 2.5 is expected to land, priced at just 4/9 and no to BTTS is 4/6. The first goal line has been set at 36:00 mins at the usual 5/6 and there’ll be worse options than that tonight.
If there is to be a low goal count then goalscorer markets are probably best avoided. So how about a card bet?
Roma goalkeeper, Rui Patricio, has been booked four times this season, twice in this competition, against HJK Helsinki and in Roma’s 4-1 extra-time win over Feyenoord. The referee that night? None other than tonight’s man in the middle Anthony Taylor.
At the time of writing Skybet are one of the few offering odds on Player Cards and Patricio is 5/1 to go in to the book.
Europa League Final Tips
- No goal before 36:00 mins 5/6 Bet365
- Match to be won on penalties 7/2 Bet365
- Rui Patricio to be booked 5/1 Skybet
Upcoming Match Previews & Tips
Rizzel has picked out two 2pt selections from one of his favourite tracks at Hamilton and a 1pt fancy in the 3:40pm race at Beverley.
As always, let us know your best betting tips and predictions for today in the comments section below and good luck with all your bets!