The Europa League is often caught up in the shadows of the UEFA Champions League. Europa League is looked upon as second fiddle and often called a B-tier Champions League. But the reality is different; the Europa League has had its own charm and enthusiasm. In recent years Europa league has got more competitive and unpredictable. As the Europa League comes to its business end, we see two strong teams facing each other in Inter Milan and Sevilla.
The Final Frontier
Inter Milan side has reached their first finals after almost a decade after their famous Champions League win back in 2010. In comparison, their opponents for the finals are five-time winners of this tournament. Both clubs had a new manager at the start of the season and enjoyed pretty decent debut season at their respective clubs.
Under Antonio Conte, Inter Milan has become a force to reckon with. Lopetegui’s first season at Sevilla has been a promising affair too. His team secured a Champion League spot and have cruised their way to their sixth Europa League finals.
Road to the Finals
Sevilla topped their group and beat CFR Cluj in the round of 32, then beat Rome in the round of 16, then came the turn of Wolves in the quarter-finals stage. In the semi-finals, they knocked out Manchester United. Meanwhile, Inter Milan joined in from a round of 32 after them getting dropped down for finishing third in their Champions League group. They beat Ludogorets in round 32, Getafe in the round of 16, and Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, they cruised over Shakhtar.
Inter under Conte uses a 3-5-2 formation with their fullbacks acting as wingbacks. It allows them to shift formation from 3-5-2 to 5-3-2 while defending. While going forward, those wingbacks give them an ample amount of width and provide pinpoint crosses to their two center forwards.
Sevilla under Lopetegui uses the typical 4-3-3 formation. They are more compact in the middle. They close down spaces in the middle for their opponents. At the same time while attacking their fullbacks too push forward, providing them with the width. Sevilla uses one two one quick passes in the middle to keep opponents chasing for ball control and possession.
Players to watch out for :
Ever Banega: He has been a constant in Sevilla midfield, providing them with much-needed creativity and stability by being the hub of everything in their midfield.
Jesus Navas: At 34, he’s been a boost of energy at wingback bringing in tons of quality and creativity to the team.
Lucas Ocampos: He has been in an outstanding form since his arrival. He has netted 18 goals in all competitions, including a late winner in the quarter-finals against a stubborn and resilient Wolves team.
Lukaku: The Belgium international has rejuvenated his career since joining Inter Milan. He has netted 30|+ goals for Inter in all competitions. He has a unique record of scoring in 10 consecutive games for Inter.
Lautaro Martinez: Lukaku’s striking partner Lautaro has also been in electric form throughout the season. The Argentine footballer has managed to score 15+ goals in all competitions. He has also scored twice in Inter’s win over Shakhtar in the semi-finals.
Inter Milan has a clear edge over Sevilla and are favorites to lift the Europa League this year. However, Sevilla is not a team you can just run off, especially given the way this season’s upsets have been. So will it be Conte’s first silverware at Inter Milan, Lopetegui’s Sevilla who run away with their sixth Europa League title? This is sure going to be a cracker!