Intro: Manchester United vs Villarreal
Manchester United are hunting another major European trophy, as they take on Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday. Manchester United are aiming for their first trophy since 2017 and the first trophy for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Here’s a preview of Manchester United vs Villarreal.
Villarreal and Manchester United will face off for the fifth time. Each of their previous four meetings finished nil-nil in the UEFA Champions League between 2005-06 and 2008-09. Manchester United have faced Villarreal more times without ever scoring than they have any other opponent in their history.
This is Manchester United’s eighth major European final, the second-most of any English club after Liverpool (14). United were crowned winners in five of the previous seven finals, losing only against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in both ’08-09 and ’10-11.
Villarreal have reached a major European final for the first time in their history, becoming the 11th different Spanish side to do so. The previous two Spanish sides to reach a major European final for the first time also faced an English opponent in that match. Alavés 4-5 Liverpool in the 2000-01 UEFA Cup and Sevilla 4-0 Middlesbrough in the 2005-06 UEFA Cup.
On each of the last nine occasions a Spanish side faced English opposition in a European competition final (including Super Cups), the Spanish club has won the match. The last Spanish side to lose were Alavés against Liverpool in the 2000-01 UEFA Cup.
Manchester United aim to be the ninth side in 22 seasons to win the UEFA Cup / Europa League after being eliminated in the group stages of the Champions League. The most recent instance was Atlético de Madrid in 2017-18, while the only previous English side to do so were Chelsea in 2012-13.
Manchester United Team News
Manchester United offered a pessimistic update on the availability of Harry Maguire. The United captain remains injured with an ankle injury and is considered unlikely to be fit for the final.
Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof should therefore partner up in defence while Phil Jones misses out once more. David de Gea will likely get the nod in goal over Dean Henderson.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw will reprise their regular roles in defense after being granted rests against Wolves. Fred missed the match due to a minor knock but should be fine to man the midfield alongside Scott McTominay.
Anthony Martial is out, but a complete overhaul of the forward line should see Amad Diallo and Daniel James make way for Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. The latter could be playing in his newfound left-hand side role once more. While Mata has no chance of keeping his place over Bruno Fernandes despite his winner at Molineux.
Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani are both well-rested and desperate for the chance to spearhead the attack. However, with five goals in his last three European outings, the veteran Uruguayan should be given the nod against his former boss Emery.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani