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5 reasons to watch the Europa League final

There is no English involvement in the Europa League final for the first time since 2015.

5 reasons to watch the Europa League final

Marseille face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

There may be no Premier League side involved in the match Lyon, but there are still plenty of reasons why English supporters may take interest.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five of them.

Quality of Griezmann

Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann, who has been linked with Manchester United in the past, is now rated as one of the world’s top forwards and Barcelona are reportedly preparing to make a summer swoop. It is an excellent stage for the Frenchman to show off his talents and it will carry extra personal poignancy given that he was born in Macon, around 60 kilometres away from Lyon.

Unpredictability of Costa

Another player to relish the big occasion is Griezmann’s fiery strike partner, Diego Costa. The Spain international has rediscovered some of his old appetite since his ineffective final days at Chelsea, although form and fitness have been up and down since rejoining Atletico. Having been forced off injured early in Atleti’s 2014 Champions League final defeat, he may be extra motivated.

Form of Newcastle flop Thauvin

Florian Thauvin did not make an impression for his football at Newcastle
Florian Thauvin did not make an impression for his football at Newcastle (Richard Sellers/PA)

It may come as a surprise to Newcastle supporters, but Florian Thauvin has been one of the stars of Marseille’s run to the final. Thauvin had a hugely unimpressive five months on Tyneside at the start of the 2015-16 season, his time at St James’ Park best remembered for his arrival at games in a tuxedo. Thauvin also had to win over doubters on his return to France but he has done that with some exhilarating displays on the wing.

Potential match-winner Payet

Unlike Thauvin, there was little doubt about Dimitri Payet’s ability to deliver when he rejoined Marseille in 2017. The feeling was more that he needed a change after his relationship with West Ham, where he had previously enjoyed hero status, deteriorated badly. The 31-year-old might be a difficult character to manage but when happy and on song – as he has been this season – he has the talent to make all the difference.

Impact of Simeone

Diego Simeone is one of Europe's top-rated coaches
Diego Simeone is one of Europe’s top-rated coaches (Adam Davy/PA)

Atletico boss Diego Simeone has been linked with clubs in the Premier League frequently in recent years having made a big impression with the Rojiblancos. He has so far resisted all moves but should he land another trophy, interest in him will keep growing. He won the Europa League in 2012, LaLiga in 2014 and has also overseen two Champions League final appearances. It will be interesting to see his impact as he continues to serve a touchline ban for his dismissal in the semi-final against Arsenal.

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