Marseille v Atletico Madrid: Everything you need to know about the finalists

Antoine Griezmann (left) of Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann (left) is as ever, Atletico's best chance of a goal.
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The Europa League final looks to be a mouth-watering clash between two sides with completely different footballing philosophies. Jamie Pacheco outlines the crucial details about the two teams ahead of the big match on Wednesday night.

"Manager Diego Simeone may have lost two Champions League finals but he’s been one of the most sought-after managers in Europe for the past five seasons. Experienced, gritty, inspirational and determined, he’s a good man to have in charge ahead of a do-or-die match."

Marseille

How did they perform on the domestic front?

Barring last year's upset, these days Ligue 1 is a three-horse race for second place between them, Monaco and Lyon, all playing second fiddle to PSG. This time round they're currently bottom of that trio with one game to go. They could yet finish third if as expected they beat Amiens at home while Lyon slip up against a strong team in Nice.

How did they reach the Europa League final?

Marseille went straight into the first Group Stages rather than ending up in the competition via the Champions League. After that it was smooth sailing all the way up to the semis. Having taken a 2-0 first leg lead at home, they were pegged back to 2-2 by an exciting Red Bull Salzburg side before an unlikely hero came to the rescue - substitute centre-back Rolando scoring an extra-time header to put them in the final.

Strengths

They'll be loving the fact the final is held in Lyon, France. Their raucous and passionate fans will travel in numbers from the south east coast up towards the middle of the country in Lyon and it will feel almost like a home match.

Scoring goals hasn't been a problem for them in the knock-out stages of the Europa League. They've scored 16 times in eight knockout matches.

Weaknesses

Marseille don't really do big European finals so may be lacking experience of the occasion. They've only ever played four European finals whereas Atletico have made five in the past nine years alone.

Clean sheets have been a huge problem all season. They've kept just three in their last 20 games. A Marseille win with both teams scoring is 10/1.

Key Players

West Ham may have a new uber-talented maverick forward in Marko Arnautovic but is he quite the player Dimitri Payet is? The former Hammer is back at his old stomping ground and continues to run the show. Mostly operating in a free role, he finds passes no-one else can see let alone attempt and has contributed with nine goals this campaign. It's 6/1 that he makes it ten goals in this match.

Centre-back Adil Rami has played at some of Europe's best known clubs: Lille, Valencia, Milan, Sevilla and Marseille. Now 32, he's at his peak and will have the all-important task of keeping compatriot Antoine Griezmann and the troublesome Diego Costa quiet.

Atletico Madrid

How did they perform on the domestic front?

Barring an unlikely final day loss at home to Eibar, they'll finish second. That's likely to be 12 points behind Barcelona but three ahead of deadly rivals Real. After a couple of slightly disappointing seasons, their performance this time round is a reminder that in La Liga there's a genuine Big Three, not just a Big Two.

How did they reach the Europa League final?

They crashed out of the Champions League at the Group Stage, finishing below both Chelsea and Roma. They qualified out of their Europa League Group easily, beat Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Copenhagen convincingly over two legs before knocking out Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal by the single goal in the Quarters and Semis, respectively. In truth, Diego Simeone's men were pretty much in control throughout the second legs so it was actually smoother progress than the end result looks.

Strengths

Their defence is as mean as an Undergraduate on a student loan at last orders. They conceded just 20 goals all season in the league, nine fewer than Barcelona and 22 fewer than Real. They also conceded just two goals across the last four legs in the Europa League they played, a good effort given the decent quality of opposition they were up against. An Atletico clean sheet is 11/10.

Manager Simeone may have lost two Champions League finals but he's been one of the most sought-after managers in Europe for the past five seasons. Experienced, gritty, inspirational and determined, he's a good man to have in charge ahead of a do-or-die match.

Weaknesses

Simeone will be in charge of team affairs but only up to kick off. His over-the-top behaviour in the first leg against Arsenal cost him a four-match touchline ban. If things get tight and the match goes to extra-time it could be a problem that the gaffer isn't around to call the shots from the frontline.

A tight, low-scoring game would play into Atletico's hands but an open one wouldn't. In their last nine matches they've only once scored two or more goals in one game so may struggle if it becomes it a goal-scoring shoot-out. Over 3.5 goals is priced up at [4.2].

Key Players

Griezmann has had another stellar season. He scored 19 goals in the league and a further eight in Europe, almost always being their go-to man when things get tough. No wonder Barcelona refuse to give up their pursuit of him. He's 5/6 to score anytime.

Koke has often been described as Xavi's long-term successor, including by Xavi himself. That tells you all you need to know about his passing ability, positioning and ability to boss a game.

What to expect

The stoic defenders meet the cavalier attackers in a fascinating clash of footballing styles. Atletico will be in no rush to take early risks but look a far better and more disciplined side and should come good, eventually. They look a decent bet in the Draw/Atletico Madrid option at 7/2 in the Half Time/Full Time market.

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