The stage for the Europa League final is set and the Red Devils of Manchester get ready to sink the Yellow Submarines of Villarreal. The final is an opportunity for both Villarreal and Manchester United to end their seasons on a high.
Villarreal is not considered as one of the strongest teams on the biggest stages of continental football. Their previous best finish in the Europa League was three semi-final appearances between 2003 and 2016. However, for manager Unai Emery it’s a completely different story.
The Spaniard is the most successful manager in Europa League history after winning it three times in a row with Sevilla. He has led Sevilla, PSG, and Arsenal to nine finals in the last six years winning eight and losing one; the 2019 Europa League final to Chelsea.
Manchester United is regarded as one of the greatest clubs in Europe with a robust history littered with titles. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot boast of the title-winning pedigree of his Spanish counterpart. The former Molde manager can draw confidence in his team’s performance so far.
The Premier League side finished second behind Champions League finalists, Manchester City. They have also eliminated Real Sociedad, AC Milan and Roma to reach this stage. With an array of stars including Rashford, Fernandes,Cavani, and Pogba, they go into the final as favourites. .
Players to watch
Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani stands out as the player to watch heading into this fixture. His work rate and movement has breathed fresh life into the Manchester United attack and his nine goals in the last ten games is testament to his form in front of goal.
The Uruguayan has committed to one more year at Old Trafford and scored a contender for the Puskas award when he chipped Areola from 40 yards in his last game. He has scored five goals in his four Europa League games and is expected to lead Solskjaer’s attack in Gdansk.
Villarreal have three superb attackers in Moreno, Alcacer and Bacca. It is no coincidence that the first two could win the race for the Europa League golden boot with 6 goals scored each. They have rightly received plenty of praise this season.
Villarreal team news
Super Eagles’ winger, Samuel Chukwueze is expected to miss out for Villarreal along with Vicente Iborra and Spurs loanee Juan Foyth. Gerard Moreno will likely lead the line with Paco Alcacer starting ahead of the aging Carlos Bacca as his striking partner in Emery’s 4-4-2 system.
Villarreal predicted lineup: Rulli; Pedraza, Torres, Albiol, Gaspar; Trigueros, Parejo, Capoue, Pino; Alcacer, Moreno
Manchester United team news
Manchester United will likely be without captain Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, and Phil Jones. Eric Bailly is likely to partner Victor Lindelof at the back while Edinson Cavani is almost certain to lead the line ahead of Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester United predicted lineup: De Gea; Shaw, Lindelof, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, McTominay; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
The 2021 UEFA Europa League between Manchester United and Villarreal would kick off at 8pm ( Nigerian time ) in the PGD Arena, Gdansk. May the best team win