ActiveWins Picks - Cup Final Week24/05/2019
Liverpool to win the Champions League, Arsenal to win the Europa League and Aston Villa to win – click here to build the accumulator at 6.59/1 with Betfred.
Three cup finals in just under one week. Us football fans really have been treated this year.
After an unforgettable campaign though, six club’s seasons will be determined by their performances this coming week. On Monday (27th), we have the richest game in football with Aston Villa taking on Derby for a place in the Premier League.
The following Wednesday (29th), there is an all-London clash between Arsenal and Chelsea in the Europa League final. Maurizio Sarri is in the hunt for his first ever managerial trophy, whilst the Gunners have been given a lifeline to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Last, but certainly not least to end the club football season is the Champions League final (1st June). Liverpool will be looking to right their wrongs from last year, whilst Tottenham will be aiming to secure their first European trophy since 1984. Take a look below for our predictions on each.
Aston Villa to Win – 5/4
When Stuart Dallas poked home Leeds’ opener last Wednesday night, Dean Smith and co could have easily turned off their TV screens and prepared for a final against the Whites. However, Derby County just do not know when they are beaten.
Frank Lampard’s side miraculously turned the game around, before Jack Marriot scored the all-important goal to finalise the Rams’ place at Wembley. Their upcoming opponents also left it late to book their spot in the final, as Aston Villa overcame West Brom via a penalty shoot-out last Tuesday.
The Claret and Blue Army will march into London as the favourites though, as they have won 11 of their last 14 games. This run of form is what lead Smith’s men into the play-offs in the first place and it’s clear that the Englishman has established an efficiently well ran side, since taking charge last October. With their formidable midfield three and hard-working wide men, they are certainly a hard team to break down.
Being the slight underdogs won’t faze Lampard’s team though, as his young stars have shown that they are more than capable of grinding out a result when required. Their strengths also lie in the midfield, with dynamic figures like Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Tom Lawrence all being granted a license to roam and cause havoc in the final third.
The two sides met last March, with Villa running rampant 4-0. Derby were suffering from a couple of injuries, but Smith’s men overran the Rams’ midfield line with significant ease. Tammy Abraham and Jack Grealish found their names on the score-sheet, and heavy expectations will be put on the duo to perform on the biggest stage of them all. The momentum is in their favour and whilst it will be close, at 5/4, we fancy Villa to overcome Derby once again.
Arsenal to Win Europa League – 6/5
It’s the final that all the neutrals wanted and for the first time since 2008, we have an all-English European cup final. Not only are both the clubs from the same nation, but they also have a deeply rooted rivalry that stems back years.
The stakes couldn’t be higher and both managers are desperate for a win, but for very different reasons. Arsenal are desperate for Champions League football next season and a win in Baku is the only way of achieving this. Their record on the road this season has been torrid, but they grabbed an emphatic 4-2 win in Valencia earlier on in the month. It was the dangerous duo up-top that salvaged the result after a poor defensive showing, with this being the tale of the Gunner’s campaign this season.
Chelsea did manage to finish 3rd in the Premier League, but they still didn’t exactly hit the heights expected of them. Sarri seems to split opinion amongst Chelsea’s fan-base, and uncertainty surrounding his future continues to linger. Despite this, he has achieved CL qualification and a European trophy on top would result in a very productive season for the Blues.
However, when it comes to a final, form and off the field antics go out of the window. This is why ActiveWins are predicting Unai Emery to triumph – he is a specialist in this competition. With three Europa League medals to his name, it would take a brave man to bet against the Spaniard. He seems to thrive in these types of occasions and we expect Arsenal’s attacking firepower to be too hot for the Blues’ back-line to handle.
Liverpool to Win Champions League – 8/15
Liverpool fans still can’t quite believe how they haven’t ended the season with the PL trophy. With just 1 loss and 97 points to their name, the Reds can certainly feel unlucky to see the title remain in Manchester. It will have cut deep seeing Vincent Kompany lift the Premier League trophy, particularly when the majority of the nation were supporting the Citizens over those in Merseyside.
Their heartache can, however, be cured with a win in Madrid.
They will be touching down in the city that celebrated their CL final loss last season with a feeling of vengeance in their stomachs. Spurs will be wary of this and a rallied up Liverpool side is the last thing that any European club would currently ask for. Barcelona found this out earlier on in the month, as Jurgen Klopp’s side blew them out of the water with a shock 4-0 win.
Mauricio Pochettino will be demanding more focus from his own side, who find themselves in rather unfamiliar territory. This is Tottenham’s first European final since 1984 and their manager’s celebration in Ajax epitomised just how large of an achievement this actually is. They are the underdogs, but Spurs have the tools to hurt any team in Europe. Their frontmen of Lucas Moura and Son Hueng-min have been rampant in 2019, and this final looks to be the clash of the attackers.
That being said, Liverpool are very strong defensively and we wouldn’t expect a hectic goal fest in a game of this magnitude. As an overall team, Liverpool have a more complete look to their side and possess the required capabilities to hurt Tottenham in-behind their wing-backs. We expect the Reds to make amends from last year and to deliver Klopp his first trophy since 2014.
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