Villareal vs Manchester United
Wednesday, May 26th, 3.00 PM (EDT)
The Stadion Gdansk in Poland plays host to this year’s Europa League final, with the European final experienced, Manchester United, set to play Villareal, which have never reached this stage of a major European competition in the clubs history.
It will be the fifth meeting between the two clubs, and we can only hope that more sparks fly in this final than their previous matches, with all 4 ending 0-0. However, given the magnitude of the game, and the journey’s both clubs have had to get here, we expect this one to be an exception to the rule.
Villareal were absolutely dominant in their road to the final, the Yellow Submarine remained undefeated over their 14 game run, with only 2 of those games ending in a draw.
With 30 goals scored, Villareal have averaged 2.14 goals per game, and they were just as strong at the back as they were going forward, conceding just 8 goals, an average of 0.57 per game.
Under the eye of former Arsenal head coach, Unai Emery, Villareal have thrived throughout this tournament, and while they have not enjoyed the same level of success domestically, he has done a brilliant job to get the Spanish side to this position.
The culmination of their efforts came in their Semi-Final win over Arsenal, a bittersweet win for Emery, who was unceremoniously sacked by the Gunners at the end of 2019.
— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) May 23, 2021
Villareal’s main goal threat during the Europa League has come from Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno, the pair have combined for 16 goal contributions so far, with both players netting 6 goals each.
To the disappointment of the Spanish side, doubts have been raised about the availability of Juan Foyth for the final. With 3 man of the match performances, a goal, and an assist, the Tottenham loanee has been the standout man in defense for Villareal during the tournament.
However, an injury sustained during the Semi-Finals saw him return to Spain and miss the final 6 games of the season, with his fitness levels still under question, his omission would be a big blow to the team.
Manchester United were no less dominant during their small journey to reach the final, joining the competition late after bombing out of the Champions League, the Red Devils cruised through to the Semi Finals, where they decimated Roma 6-2 to set up an easy progression in the second leg.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 25, 2021
Just as he was in the Premier League, Bruno Fernandes has been nothing short of brilliant in Europe so far, with 5 goals and 4 assists to his name, including a 2 goal, 2 assist performance in their dispatching of Roma.
Perhaps the only man to have played better than him so far, is veteran striker Edinson Cavani. The last minute signing has proven doubters wrong since joining United, and with 5 goals and 2 assists from 3 starts, Cavani appears to be getting better with age.
Similarly to Villareal, United look set to be doing battle without the services of a key defender in Harry Maguire, who remains out with an ankle injury.
With both teams sporting an unideal backline, the chances of goals only increases, and given the constant pressure that United apply when attacking we can only imagine that the Red Devils lift the trophy at the end of it, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claiming his first trophy in charge of the club.
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*Odds correct at time of publication, thanks to FanDuel.