The Europa League Spectacular Final is here. When Villarreal and Manchester United meet in the UEFA Europa League final in Gdansk on Wednesday, the Coupe UEFA will be on the line.
The 2020/21 season is coming to an end, and attention will soon shift to the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. But first, there’s some serious business to be done. As Villarreal and Manchester United will meet in the UEFA Europa League final in Gdansk this week, with both teams vying for their first prize in the season.
Villarreal has competed in the UEFA Europa League since the group stages, winning Group I and securing a place in the Round of 32. The Yellow Submarine breezed through the first three rounds of the elimination stages, defeating Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kyiv, and Dinamo Zagreb, before edging Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals to set up a final date with Manchester United.
However, the Red Devils relegate to the Europa League after placing third in Group H of the UEFA Champions League, losing three of their final four games. On the other hand, Manchester United has dominated the second division, defeating Real Sociedad, AC Milan, Granada, and AS Roma to reach the final.
Both teams enter the final in recent form, having won just two of their last five games. However, Manchester United can afford to take a step back in the Premier League after securing a second-place finish. On the other hand, Villarreal missed out on a top-six position after losing 2-1 to Real Madrid over the weekend.
Villarreal and Manchester United have met four times before, with each match finishing in an unbelievable goalless tie. The Barcelona Agency looks at the match ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Any major injury concerns do not hamper Unai Emery’s preparations for the UEFA Europa League final against Manchester United. Only one first-team player expected to be unavailable for Villarreal’s match in Gdansk on Wednesday.
Juan Foyth is in a battle against time to be certified fit for the match against Manchester United. But he may miss out, with captain Mario Gaspar starting in his place. However, it appears that Samu Chukwueze, who has recently linked with Manchester United, will be able to join the matchday squad.
Chukwueze, with his burst of speed and creative nous, will be Villarreal’s X-Factor, putting pressure on Luke Shaw. Manu Trigueros is a foregone conclusion on the left flank, with Dani Parejo, the Spanish team’s primary midfielder, owing to his toughness and big-game experience. The Europa League Spectacular Final is here now.
With Etienne Capoue set to start after missing the semi-final second leg against Arsenal due to suspension, Parejo should have a partner in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, Emery must make two crucial decisions on either end of the pitch.
First, Villarreal’s manager must choose between Paco Alcacer and Carlos Bacca to accompany top scorer Gerard Moreno up front, with the former most likely to receive the nod. The second major decision will be the goalkeeper, with Sergio Asenjo, the team’s first-choice shot-stopper, likely to beat Geronimo Rulli to the position.
Finally, in defense of Pau Torres, another Manchester United target will be essential. With the Spanish international entrusted with keeping an eye on Edinson Cavani. At the heart of the Villarreal backline, Torres will be joined by Raul Albiol, while Alfonso Pedraza will play left-back.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Asenjo; Gaspar, Raul Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Chukwueze, Capoue, Parejo, Trigueros; Alcacer, Gerard Moreno
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, like his Villarreal counterpart, has been concerned about the fitness of a crucial player ahead of the trip to Gdansk. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be without up to three first-team players on Wednesday.
Anthony Martial and Phil Jones are still recovering from their fitness difficulties and will not be traveling with the team. Captain Harry Maguire, who has been out of action since suffering an ankle injury against Aston Villa earlier this week, did cut.
On the other hand, Maguire skipped Tuesday’s training session and expected to sit out Manchester United’s match against Villarreal. Bruno Fernandes po ised to assume the captain’s armband in his place.
For Manchester United, Fernandes will be the key creator, tugging the strings higher up the pitch with Paul Pogba, who has made some crucial contributions this season. Pogba, on the other hand, maybe moved to the midfield, where he will likely form a double pivot with Scott McTominay. The Europa League Spectacular Final is here now.
Because of Pogba’s position as a deeper-lying midfielder, both Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani will start. Cavani’s place in the team was all but assured after he was involved in seven of Manchester United’s eight goals in two legs against AS Roma. Against Villarreal, Cavani will lead the line, with Greenwood and Marcus Rashford as the two wide men.
At the back, Eric Bailly will be the lone player to keep his starting spot from the 2-1 win over Wolves the weekend before, with Victor Lindelof as his partner in the Manchester United defense.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are certainties on the flanks, but Solskjaer faces a major decision in goal. Both Dean Henderson and David de Gea are vying to be the last man to stop Villarreal’s onslaught.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Pogba, McTominay; Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
- Villarreal and Manchester United will meet for the fifth time in the UEFA Champions League. With each of the previous four meetings ending in a 0-0 draw between 2005/06 and 2008/09. Manchester United has faced Villarreal more times than any other opponent in their history without scoring.
- That will be Manchester United’s ninth European final, second only to Liverpool among English clubs (14). They have won five of the last seven finals. Except for the UEFA Champions League finals in 2008/09 and 2010/11, they lost to Barcelona.
- For the first time in their history, Villarreal has reached a major European final, becoming the 11th different Spanish team. The last two Spanish teams reached a major European final for the first time (Alaves 4-5 Liverpool in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup and Sevilla 4-0 Middlesbrough in 2005/06 UEFA Cup both faced an English opponent in that match.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who won the Norwegian Cup with Molde in 2013, will be in his second final as a manager. Solskjaer would make history by becoming the first Norwegian manager to win a major European trophy. On the other hand, Unai Emery is in his fifth final in the UEFA Europa League, having previously won the competition three times with Villarreal.
- Carlos Bacca scored twice for Sevilla in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League final. Making him the first player from the same country to score in two major European finals since Hernan Crespo (1998/99 UEFA Cup with Parma, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League with AC Milan). Bacca would be the first player in Spanish history to play for two different teams.
Player to Watch
The UEFA Europa League final will include a number of top-notch players. From Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes to Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood, to Villarreal’s Samu Chukwueze and Pau Torres. Edinson Cavani, on the other hand, takes the cake in this category.
Since joining at Old Trafford on a Bosman deal last summer, the experienced Uruguayan striker has come into his own, making some vital contributions. His most important contribution came in the semi-finals against AS Roma. Where he was personally involved in seven of Manchester United’s eight goals scored across two legs.
And Cavani will have to be at his best once more if Manchester United are to beat a Villarreal side that isn’t willing to give up anything. With the 2020/21 season coming to a close and Manchester United pursuing Harry Kane. Cavani will be hoping to show that he still has a lot to offer.
Villarreal 1-3 Manchester United
In the past, this match has only resulted in goalless draws. However, with an elusive title on the line, expect both teams to go all out after a shaky start to the game. Manchester United will be without Harry Maguire. Which means Gerard Moreno, Carlos Bacca, and Paco Alcacer will be in charge throughout the game.
On the other hand, the Red Devils might partially defend by holding possession of the ball for long periods. Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood expected to shine in the final third. With that in mind, The Barcelona Agency forecasts a massive win for Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. They are winning 3-1 in Gdansk to cap off a successful 2020/21 season. The Europa League Spectacular Final is here now.