Ace Football previews the Europa League final between Villarreal and Manchester United and offers betting tips, odds, line-ups, and team news.
The stage for the Europa League final is set! Manchester United and Villarreal will lock horns in Gdansk on Wednesday night as both teams battle for the continental showpiece.
For many reasons, the Red Devils are favorites to win this one and Ole Solskjaer will fancy his chances at a first trophy for the club as a manager.
Poetically, the last trophy Man United won came four years ago under then manager Jose Mourinho. Since then, the Red Devils have suffered multiple heartbreaks, including four semifinal defeats. One would have to go back to the 1980s to find a time United went this long without a trophy.
Everything thing points to a win for the English side but you can’t rule the Spanish dark horses out. Unai Emery, the gaffer of Villarreal, is a name that’s probably written in golden ink in the history of the competition. His run of three straight Europa titles with Sevilla, another Spanish club, is a feat that might not be repeated this century.
He does not have the service of gritty players from Seville, but his experience is unparalleled in the tournament, and the Devils will not take him lightly if they are wise. Four of the last meeting between both sides have ended in goalless draws but there is a reason it could come as a different encounter today.
Villarreal Form and Stats
Villarreal had an inconsistent end to the La Liga season where they finished 7th. They lost 4-2 at home against Celta Vigo despite having boasting more of the possession.
The Yellow Submarine bounced back with a 2-0 win at Real Valladolid. They then won 4-0 at home against Sevilla with Carlos Bacca scoring a hat-trick and Gerard Moreno on target.
Unai Emery’s side lost 2-1 at Real Madrid on Saturday. Yeremi Pino opened the scoring in the 20th minute but they conceded twice in the final five minutes.
- Villarreal are undefeated in their last 14 matches (Europa League).
- Villarreal have won nine of their last 10 matches (Europa League).
- Villarreal have seen under 2.5 goals in 4 of their last six matches (Europa League).
Manchester United Form and Stats
Manchester United had a poor end to the Premier League season. They have taken their eye off the ball after securing second spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side suffered back to back home defeats to Leicester (2-1) and Liverpool (4-2). Solskjaer fielded a weak side against Leicester but there were no such excuses against Liverpool.
The Red Devils played their third straight match at Old Trafford that resulted in a 1-1 draw against Fulham.
Man United’s last match was a 2-1 win at Wolves with Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata on target. Solskjaer rested most of his first choice players once again.
- Man United have drawn 0-0 in four matches against Villarreal (Champions League).
- Man United are undefeated in 13 of their last 15 matches (Europa League).
- Man United have won four of their last five matches (Europa League).
- Man United have seen under 2.5 goals in five of their last seven matches (Europa League).
Villarreal: Defender Juan Foyth and winger Samuel Chukwueze are doubtful. Midfielder Vicente Iborra is out injured.
Manchester United: Centre back Phil Jones and forward Anthony Martial are injured. With Harry Maguire doubtful, Axel Tuanzebe fights with Eric Bailly for a starting spot next to Victor Lindelöf in central defence. David de Gea is expected to start in goal over Dean Henderson.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Man United have met Villarreal four times, all in the UEFA Champions League group stage. All four meetings ended in 0-0 draws.