The 2019/20 Europa League will finally come to an end tonight when Sevilla and Inter Milan meet each other in the final of a tournament that started over a full calendar year ago.
Antonio Conte’s side come into the fixture after dropping down from the Champions League into the Round of 32 and beating Ludogrets (4-1 on aggregate), Getafe 2-0, Leverkusen 2-1 and Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 en route to the final.
Julen Lopetegui has guided Sevilla through the entire tournament. They came out on top of a group containing Qarabag, APOEL and Dudelange where they won 5 out of 6 games. They then defeated CFR Cluj on away goals in the last 32 before beating Roma (2-0), Wolves (1-0) and Manchester United (2-1) in one-legged ties en route to this game.
Looking at performances in the tournament over the last two weeks, Inter Milan are surely the favourites to lift the trophy. Romelu Lukaku has scored in his last 10 consecutive Europa League games for Everton and Inter Milan, including a brace in the semi-final, while Lautaro Martinez seems to have found some form again since coming back into the side.
In defence, Diego Godin and Stefan De Vrij have been rock solid but the emergence of Alessandro Bastoni has edged out Milan Skriniar from the side. Ashley Young has cemented his place as the left wing-back while in midfield, Marcelo Brozovic and Nico Barella are now automatic starters. Christian Eriksen is often the third option in that midfield, although last time out Conte opted for Matias Vecino.
For Sevilla, their side picks itself currently. Sergio Reguillon will continue his strong form at left-back in what could potentially be his final game for the club with many looking to take him away permanently. Captain Jesus Navas has become a right-back in recent years and is a starter for the side, while Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde will start together in the centre. In midfield, Ever Banega will leave the club following this game to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab. Alongside Fernando and Jordan they will need to dominate the midfield areas to have any hope of winning this game. Ahead of them semi-final hero Suso will likely start but the man who scored the winner Luuk De Jong will likely start on the bench once again, with Youssef El-Nesyri picked ahead of him. Top goalscorer Lucas Ocampos will complete the team.
Sevilla’s style of keeping the ball, switching it from side to side and playing through balls down the flanks for cut-backs entirely suits the way Inter Milan play. Conte’s side will play with a deep block and will press in the wide areas then use the pace of Lukaku and Martinez to launch counter attacks.
With the form of the two teams, it’s hard to look past Inter Milan taking the trophy back to Italy with them. Lukaku is absolutely deadly in this system currently and with just one goal needed to match the record of his idol Ronaldo (R9) for most goals in a debut season for Inter he will be absolutely amped for the final.
I don’t anticipate the most exciting game of football ever on Friday night, but I expect a vintage Italian performance from Conte and Inter Milan in a 2-0 win for the Nerazzurri.
Inter Milan to win 2-0 – 19/2 (BetVictor)
Romelu Lukaku anytime – 7/5 (BetVictor/SkyBet)