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Last Updated: 21/08/20 2:57pm
Charlie Nicholas gives his lowdown on the Europa League and Champions League finals as the tournaments reach their climax.
I have to admit, it is not my personal choice of who I would like, but these are two cracking European finals, and this is the curtain-raiser. Sevilla are the masters, but Inter Milan with Antonio Conte’s dynamic style on the other side, has a great feeling about it.
I am sceptical of the way football started back in the Premier League, but with the European competitions it has been great to have the one-off games. I have had a nice personal run with some of my predictions, but I do feel football is going to be like this for the next couple of years.
However, this format would be great for the next couple of seasons. Teams are going for it, and yes there are a few defensive strategies, but these two will not adopt that approach.
Inter will play with their back three, with high wing-backs to accompany those. Romelu Lukaku has pace and strength up front too, so it has the makings to be an open, free-flowing game.
There will be a feast of goals again. Lautaro Martinez has been the star of the show for Inter. People have said that he is good enough to go to Barcelona. Other than Neymar, this could be the man. He has two great feet, he is a lovely finisher, he plays off the striker, and he could be the difference between the two sides.
The strength and power of Lukaku suits Martinez and the two play hand in hand. Conte will not stifle their ability. He will want his defenders to defend, the organisation to be correct, but going forward he wants goals. We are in for another treat.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-2 (33/1 with Sky Bet)
Lautaro Martinez to score a brace: 12/1 with Sky Bet
I saw that it was the first time in seven years that Bayern Munich have reached the Champions League final – how is that the case? They have been decent in those years. I don’t recall a bad time for Munich, but that is some period of time without them being in the business end.
PSG, looking at the competition as a whole, could have been the dark horse I thought, despite their resources up front and a team that should have been performing better than what it was. Edinson Cavani was their No 9 and it was not really working, but they need to get this over the line now.
It was the right draw for PSG, so it could be their time. There is too much talent on show, and I do love Neymar. I don’t like his antics, and I think Neymar has even got to the stage where he wishes he could stop, but can’t!
Lionel Messi is the superstar of football, but football has caught up with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by nature, and they will go into slumps. Kylian Mbappe is also on the edge of being the next superstar for a while. We have lots of fine young talents coming through the world of football, who are attack minded and dynamic.
Mbappe has been the one, even since his days at Monaco. He was rumoured to be going to Liverpool, and if Liverpool got him, what a move that could have been. He is probably not that much quicker, but he looks it on the pitch, just with his added intensity too. He has the tricks, charisma, and he wants to entertain people, and enjoys doing so. He enjoys the game at his age, which he should.
He is a true player. We have been waiting to replace the two giants of the game. Is it his time? Can he deliver? Is he as fit as he should be? I don’t know, as I watched him coming off the bench against Atalanta and he looked brilliant, but I watched him against Leipzig and thought he struggled.
Serge Gnabry looks unreal and Bayern look strong. It has been a massive effort from both of these sides and it is a treat to have them in the final. The wine list is already prepared for this final, it looks breathtaking! I see goals again here.
It has to be the defence for Bayern which will be their undoing. Messi should have scored against them and was furious at himself, which then changes the format of the game. Bayern killed them in the end, but they do give away chances.
I am not sure Jerome Boateng will make it, although I am not convinced he is a great defender, but they will miss him if he is not there. There will be little defending in this one. The full-backs will bomb on, and the midfielders do not like players running off them, so Leon Goretzka will be important, but it will fall down to pace. David Alaba is quick, but he is not quick enough for these guys. PSG will be the kings of Europe.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
PSG to win in extra time: 14/1 with Sky Bet