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Free football betting tips and odds: Marseille v Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final

Atletico Madrid take on Marseille in the Europa League final
Atletico Madrid take on Marseille in the Europa League final

Paul Higham can only see one winner when Atletico Madrid face Marseille in the Europa League final in Lyon.


Recommended bets

2pts Atletico Madrid to win & under 2.5 goals in the match at 9/4

1pt Gabi and Diego Costa both to be carded at 7/1

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Marseille v Atletico Madrid (1945 BST BT Sport 2)

Marseille have home field advantage of sorts as they take on Atletico Madrid in Lyon looking to become the first French side to win the Europa League - or UEFA Cup as it was previously known.

The prize on offer for Marseille is not only the weighty trophy but a place in next season’s Champions League as they currently sit in fourth place in Ligue 1 – while for Atletico it's all about the silverware as they’re already in next season.

If you needed any guidance on how these teams play then their Europa League semi-finals sum them up perfectly – l’OM were their usual Jekyll and Hyde selves as they dominated Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 in the home leg but were soundly beaten by the same scoreline away.

They eventually squeezed through courtesy of an extra-time goal in Austria.

Atleti disposed of Arsenal in the most Atleti way possible by securing a 1-1 away draw with 10 men for most of the game, before finishing off the job with a 1-0 win at home – classic Diego Simeone.

Even in their last league games before this final, Getafe got ‘Atletico’d’ by a 1-0 home defeat while Marseille played out a 3-3 draw at Guingamp – the personalities of these two teams could not be more contrasting.

Whether Marseille can get into their ‘home’ frame of mind, as the game is being staged just a three-hour drive away from the Stade Velodrome, could be the key factor – they’ve won eight out of nine European games at home this season but just once on the road.

Rudi Garcia’s Marseille have a verve and swagger about them going forward when they’re in the mood, led by playmaker Dimitri Payet who should be fit after missing the weekend’s Ligue 1 game with a thigh injury.

Florian Thauvin is one to watch as well after bagging 26 goals for the club this season and he’s 5/2 favourite from the Marseille team to score in 90 minutes.

Diego Costa makes it 1-0 for Atletico Madrid against Arsenal
Diego Costa makes it 1-0 for Atletico Madrid against Arsenal

Scoring against this Atletico side is no easy task though - he’ll be their main hope getting through a water-tight Atleti backline that has been breached just 31 times in all competitions this season and has kept 33 clean sheets.

At the other end there’s Diego Costa, who got the winner in the second leg against Arsenal, and French forward Antoine Griezmann, strangely playing in his first professional club game in his home country.

Griezmann has been in fine goalscoring form of late and has found the net 19 times in his last 22 games, and his partnership with Costa in the final will prove tough for Marseille to handle given their recent vulnerability at the back.

The experience factor also comes into play here; Atletico won this tournament in 2010 and 2012 before going on to two Champions League finals and that’s reflected in their 2/7 odds to lift the trophy.

For all of Marseille's attacking intent, they've failed to score in five Europa League games this season, and Atletico would be the last team they'd want to face in the final - backing the Spaniards to win and keep a clean sheet looks an obvious way forward in this, but preference is for either a 1-0 or 2-0 win at 9/4.

Referee Bjorn Kuipers is well known to both teams and is not afraid to get his cards out when needed - he oversaw the 2014 Champions League final between Atletico and Real Madrid and dished out 12 cards between them, seven of which went to Atletico.

This game shouldn't get as ill-tempered as a Madrid derby but Kuipers has also produced eight yellow cards and a red in two games containing these sides this season, and with Atleti not scared of getting stuck in that could be another area of success.

Prediction: Marseille 0-2 Atletico Madrid (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)

Best Bet: Atletico Madrid to win & under 2.5 goals in the match at 9/4

Alternative: Gabi and Diego Costa both to be carded at 7/1

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Posted at 1320 BST on 15/05/18.

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