Marseille – Atletico Madrid UEFA Europa League Prediction
The Marseille season
In the autumn of 2016, Marseille started a new course. The company was taken over by Frank McCourt, an American businessman, who decided to entrust the technical guidance of the team to Rudi Garcia, a former Roma coach. A year and a half away from the change of management, Marseille is already able to triumph in an important continental title, the Europa League, competition never won in the past by a French team.
Also in the Ligue 1 championship the performance was more than positive, as Marseille is fourth in the standings and is still fighting for a place in the next Champions League, reserved for the first three classified. Actually in the last round the team coached by Rudi Garcia failed the chance to overcome the Lyon, defeated by surprise by Strasbourg. In advance of Friday, in fact, Marseille did not go beyond the draw for three to three on the field of Guingamp, team now safe and without any particular motivation. The three goals conceded have confirmed the limits that this team has in the stage of non-possession of the ball, while those scored have once again put on display the enormous potential of the strikers.
Rudi Garcia is a great motivator and is able to put the players in the best conditions to do well, but it has never been phenomenal on a tactical level. His Marseille does not have a clear play plan either in the defensive phase, or in the offensive one where it leaves the players free to follow their instincts. With the players he has available, it is not an idea then so wrong. In particular, there are two strikers that it would be a pity to get caught up in rigid schemes, this is Payet, one of the great protagonists of the French national team in 2016, and Thauvin, a talented 25-year offensive outsider who has finally shown his full value this season scoring 26 goals in 52 games, with 18 assists.
The 4-2-3-1 is the reference form of Rudi Garcia and Marseille. The fact of playing against a team that leaves few spaces to attack will not be a big problem for Marseille, which in the league has just scored five goals. Garcia’s team likes to play on slow rhythms, taking possession of the ball, and finding the opposing goal thanks to the immense technique of the trequartisti and the mobility of the attacker Germain, skilled at not giving any reference to the defenses against which he plays. If Atletico Madrid will try to raise the rhythm with the pressing, Marseille still has very technical and skilled players in tight spaces to create dangerous occasions. In Ligue 1, Marseille also scored 15 goals on set-piece: Payet is very good at shooting penalties, and there are also skilled head hitters like Rami and Rolando. The latter, who should not start the season, scored the decisive goal for the qualification in the final in the return against Salzburg.
In the non-possession phase the most important player is Luiz Gustavo, to whom Rudi Garcia assigns the same tasks that De Rossi had in his Rome. The Brazilian midfielder is very clever at the tactical level, so much so that to try to solve the problem of too many goals conceded, the coach decided to move him back to the line of defenders. Against a physical player like Diego Costa, however, he could get in trouble. Rami will help him, he will do a door with the Brazilian national of Spain: a warning to head for Rami and Diego Costa is not difficult to imagine.
The season of Atletico Madrid
At Atletico Madrid will be enough a point in the next last day, at home against Eibar, to stay ahead of Real Madrid and conclude the championship in second place. It would be a more formal and substantial success, since both the second and third team in the standings will end up in the next Champions League. But for the two main and best-known teams in Madrid it is still a relevant goal, which is worth the dispute. Not surprisingly last Saturday, away to Getafe, Atletico played from the first minute with the starting lineup, managing to win 1-0 thanks to a goal by Koke scored in the opening minutes. That advantage, however small, then allowed Simeone to recall the strikers Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa, half an hour before the end of the match.
The second position is that which Atletico has occupied for most of the championship and the one he deserves to keep. Despite having never been seriously in the running for the title, together with Barcelona the team coached by Diego Simeone is the one that showed greater continuity. After a first part of the season not exceptional, match after match the Atletico has also regained the title “habitual” of the best defense of the championship, with only twenty goals conceded (nine less than Barcelona).
The best goalkeeper in the world
For many years they have agreed that it is essential for Atletico Madrid to consider the qualities of its excellent defense department, made up of Uruguayan Diego Godin and José Maria Gimenez, the Croatian Sime Vrsaljko (former Sassuolo), the Brazilian Filipe Luis, the French Lucas Hernández and from the Montenegrin Stefan Savic (ex Fiorentina). Never before have the commentators attributed such a large part of Atletico Madrid’s overall merits to a single player who was not Antoine Griezmann. And that player is goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
The 25-year-old Slovenian is almost at the end of his fourth season at Atletico, the third since the first, and for the third consecutive time he will win the title of best goalkeeper in the Spanish league. Last Saturday, in the thirteenth match won by Atletico Madrid for only one goal difference (more than any other team in the league), Oblak proved once again decisive. After completing a series of great saves, fifteen minutes from the end, he also saved a penalty for the seventh time this season (twelve penalties against).
Thanks to its excellent and constant performance, Oblak has attracted the interest of several great European clubs including Liverpool. Against Olympique Marseille will try not to take even one goal, as so far has always succeeded in all the games played at home by Atletico Madrid in this competition (which participates from the sixteenth, following the elimination from the Champions League).
The disqualification of Simeon
Due to a disqualification for an expulsion received in the first leg against Arsenal, the Atletico coach Diego Simeone will not watch the final from the bench. In place of Simeone there will be his assistant and compatriot Germán Burgos, former goalkeeper of Atletico, a big man who works with Simeone since the time of Catania.
By temperament, obstinacy and heroism Burgos is the perfect assistant to Diego Simeone. Many people in Madrid remember him for a penalty saved to Luis Figo with his face, in a derby of 2003, and because a few months later he postponed a complicated surgery for a few days to remove a tumor from a kidney. “I found out I had him on Thursday, but I wanted to play against Mallorca on Sunday and then I said” let’s do it later, the operation, “” Burgos said. “We do not even need to look into each other’s eyes, to know what we want,” Simeone recently said about his work with Burgos.
The odds on the match
Marseille rarely manages to keep the inviolate, while Atletico Madrid has scored more than two goals in a single game in just nine occasions in the league, Champions League and Europa League on fifty-one games. In the twenty-one games with Diego Costa in the field, only once, against Barcelona, Atletico Madrid failed to score. Wanting to avoid to lose balance on the outcome of the match, in which Atletico Madrid is still favored by tradition and strength, a valid prediction can be the host 1-2 multigol.
The probable formations
MARSEILLE (4-3-3): Mandanda; Sakai, Rami, Luiz Gustavo, Amavi; Anguissa, Sanson; Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos; Germain.
ATLETIC MADRID (4-4-2): Oblak; Vrsaljko, Giménez, Godín, Lucas; Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Gabi, Correa; Griezmann, Diego Costa.
Prediction of the Day: MULTIGOL GUEST 1-2
Prediction Today: Over 5.5 corners