The stunning home of Atlético Madrid will host Europe’s biggest night of club football
It has been a remarkable season, a record breaking one, and it is far from over. For the first time ever, all four finalists for the two European trophies come from one country – England. Time will tell if this is an anomaly, or if the TV riches that flow into the top tier of English football mean that this is the shape of things to come. That is a debate for the future. Now let’s look at the two finals and see how the two clubs line up statistically.
Champions League Final 1st June, Wanda Metropolitano Stadium Madrid, Tottenham v Liverpool
Going into the week of the second leg of the semi’s this line up would have been classed as unlikely in the extreme. The same could be said at half time at the Johan Cruijff Arena. Football being what it is however, we are faced with the first all English Champions League affair since Manchester United and Chelsea went head to head in Moscow in 2008. One thing that is for sure, if both sides show the same never say die attitude that took them through those two remarkable semi-finals, then it should be a banker for your both teams to score acca.
Recent head to heads are very much in Klopp’s men’s favour. This season, Liverpool won both fixtures 2 -1, and aside from a comprehensive 4-1 win at Wembley in October 2017, you have to go back to late November 2012 for Spurs to taste victory. In fact, in the last 13 games between the sides, Spurs have won just once, Liverpool 8 times, with the spoils being shared 4 times. In those games there was just 1 goalless affair.
Liverpool will also be going into the final in better form, with once again the season just appearing to go on too long for Pochettino’s team. The way they were able to come back in Amsterdam though does show there is a resilience to the North London outfit not everyone was aware they had. A lot will depend on two factors. From a Spurs perspective, they will have time to recover and recharge their batteries, but will it be long enough for Harry Kane to get fit? For Liverpool, we will see whether the incredible title race that proved to be just beyond their grasp will have a negative or positive effect on them.
Europa League Final 29th May, Baku Olympic Stadium, Chelsea v Arsenal
The Europa League final doesn’t just give us an all English affair, but an all London one. At the beginning of their European campaigns, both of these clubs targeted this competition and were held up as possible, even probable winners. Emery in particular has an unrivalled track record in this competition, and Sarri, from what looked like a season that was going down the drain only a couple of months ago, has not only secured third place in the league but has a very real chance of picking up silverware.
The head to heads with these two clubs comes out massively in favour of the West London side, though Arsenal did get all three points in their last encounter, a 2 – 0 win at The Emirates in January. Prior to that game, over 14 fixtures, Arsenal only picked up 3 points once, losing 8 times, drawing 5. The form table is not particularly kind on either side, and reflects the rather woeful “race for 3rd and 4th place” that was played out in the shadow of the main event.
It will be fascinating to see what tactics Emery adopts. His forward line of Aubameyang and Lacazette can be devastating on their day, just as their defensive line can be atrocious. Will he go all out, with the philosophy that they will score more than Chelsea? Another side story is that it is looking very likely that this will be the last game Hazard plays for Chelsea. His last kick at Stamford Bridge took them to the final, you wouldn’t put it past the Belgian or the footballing gods to produce a similar performance in Baku.