UEFA Europe League: Key players
Manchester United will face Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday and these are the key players you may want to watch.
Manchester United Key Players
Jose Mourinho will be banking on a win after making the Europa League his priority and effectively conceding fifth place and any chance of a top-four finish in the Premier League.
1) Ander Herrera
Herrera, who has been a key player in the midfield will be their to close down and disturb Ajax midfield duo of Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone.
2) Paul Pogba
Pogba, who has made 360 passes bettered his teammate Eric Bailly will look to pass and probe through the middle. The 23-year-old has defensive stats that rival the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders, in addition to offering a long- range and aerial attacking threat.
3) Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Mkhitaryan did not make it European debut for United matchday four due to an injury, but has since been a regular player under Jose Mourinho. The 28-year-old has scored five goals in just 743 minutes of UEFA Europa League football, including key knockout phase efforts away of St Etienne (1-0) Rostov (1-1) and Anderlecht (1-1).
4) Sergio Romero
Romero has been a regular starting player in the Europa League under Mourinho this season, recording a superior save percentage of 88% compared to the 72% of Ajax stopper Andre Onana.
5) Marcus Rashford
In absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic Jose Mourinho will be forced to change the formation, Rashford is likely to enter the fray in an unchanged set-up. The 19-year-old has recorded 78.7% passing accuracy and can provide angled runs upfront.
Manchester United will have to look out for Ajax trio Kasper Dolberg, Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore and Amin Younes, who have outscored United's attacking players in the competition, with Dolberg hitting six goals and the flank forwards scoring four each.
Ajax key players
Ajax boss Peter Bosz will be looking for his first silverware at the club since taking charge last May and finishing the season a point behind champions Feyenoord on the last day of the Eredivisie season.
Ziyech, who is the primary creator for Ajax, setting up 37 chances en route to the final, will provide a handful for Antonio Valencia, having hit 78 crosses this term. The Morocco international has also hit 12 shots on target and scored twice, as well as being an outlet for counter attacks, and will be battling against the likes of Herrera on the right side of United Midfield.
2) Davinson Sanchez
Sanchez is the primary defender for clearing aerials threats and will look to take charge at the back, clearing any danger posed by Pogba, Fellaini or Chris Smalling.
3) Lasse Schone
Schone will attempt to slow the game, passing across and from the centre line.
4) Bertrand Traore
Traore will give Ajax the edge for aerial attacking threat, two of his four goals in the competition have been headers.
5) Nick Viergever
Viergever will try to surpass United’s counterparts for defensive stats blocks, duels won headed clearances, tackles, clearance and interceptions, while Matthijs de Ligt will also provide robust cover.
To the final....
Ajax will need to press and negotiate the likes of Herrera and Pogba if they wish to win the possession battle, with United naturally playing further forward than their opponents.