Manchester United V Villarreal Europa League Final Tips
On Wednesday night, Manchester United will lock horns with Villarreal in the final of the Europa League. The two teams will meet at the Gdansk Stadium in the famous Polish city with United seeking to win the competition for the second time in four years, while for Villarreal, this is their first ever final in any competition.
The game will not only decide the destination of the first UEFA trophy of the season but will serve as a prelude to Saturday’s big Champions League Final in Porto, Portugal where Manchester City will seek to add the trophy to their cabinet for the first time against a Chelsea side that have managed to lift the trophy on one previous occasion.
With Manchester United having a huge global following, there is going to be significantly more interest in this game than usual, and no doubt it will be the English team that start this game as favourites with their legions of fans around the world.
However, Villarreal are unbeaten in 14 games in the Europa League this season, winning 12 of those matches and they have the best record of any team in the competition this year. They knocked out Arsenal in the semifinals too, so won’t be fazed by playing an English opponent in the final.
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Let’s now take a closer look at the teams contesting this year’s Europa League Final, as well as giving you our tips on how we see the final going and what bets to back.
Europa League Final
Manchester United face Villarreal in this year’s final. For United it is a chance to land their second Europa League trophy in four years after beating Ajax 2-0 back in 2017 when Jose Mourinho was their manager.
For Villarreal fans, this is an entirely new experience, with the Spanish side playing in their first ever final, either in Europe or domestically. Having fallen at the semifinal stage on a number of occasions, this will be Villarreal’s first chance to lift silverware in a one-off game.
The match will kick off at 8pm BST on Wednesday 26th May at the Gdansk Stadium, in the city of Gdansk in Poland. French referee Clement Turpijn will take control of the game.
Let’s now take a look at how both teams reached this year’s final.
The Journey To The Europa League Final In Gdansk
Having qualified for the Champions League by virtue of their fourth placed finish in the Premier League last season, United were drawn into Group H of the competition alongside Paris St Germain, Red Bull Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Champions League Group Stage Results
- V Paris St Germain (A) – W 2-1
- V Red Bull Leipzig (H) – W 5-0
- V Istanbul Basaksehir (A) – L 1-2
- V Istanbul Basaksehir (H) – W 4-1
- V Paris St Germain (H) – L 1-3
- V Red Bull Leipzig (A) – L 2-3
After winning their opening two games, United looked on course to reach the Round of 16 in the Champions League, but losing three of their next four matches saw United miss out with Red Bull Leipzig’s victory on the final matchday enough to see United finish third in the group. This meant they would be demoted into the Europa League Knockout Stage Round of 32 in the New Year.
Europa League Knockout Stage Results
- Round of 32 – v Real Sociedad – Away – W 4-0, Home – D 0-0 (4-0 agg)
- Round of 16 – v AC Milan – Home – D 1-1, Away – W 1-0 (2-1 agg)
- Quarterfinal – v Granada – Away – W 2-0, Home – W 2-0 (4-0 agg)
- Semifinal – v AS Roma – Home – W 6-2, Away – L 2-3 (8-5 on agg)
Solid away victories in the first three rounds in the Europa League were the foundation for United to reach the semifinals, particularly that impressive win in Milan. They smashed AS Roma 6-2 in the opening leg of their semifinal and were never in danger of missing the final, despite losing the second leg 3-2 in Rome.
A sixth placed finish in La Liga last season earned Villarreal another opportunity to compete in this season’s Europa League. They were drawn into a group comprising of Sivasspor, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Qarabag.
Europa League Group Stage Results
- V Sivasspor (H) – W 5-3
- V Qarabag (A) – W 3-1
- V Maccabi Tel Aviv (H) – W 4-0
- V Maccabi Tel Aviv (A) – D 1-1
- V Sivasspor (A) – W 1-0
- V Qarabag (H) – W 3-0
Having been given a favourable draw, Villarreal made light work of the group stage. They won five of their six games, drawing the other to top the group easily with 16 points to move into the Knockput Phase in the New Year.
Europa League Knockout Stage Results
- Round of 32 – v Red Bull Salzburg – Away – W 2-0, Home – W 2-1 (4-1 agg)
- Round of 16 – v Dynamo Kiev – Away – W 2-0, Home – W 2-0 (4-0 agg)
- Quarterfinal – v Dinamo Zagreb – Away – W 1-0, Home – W 2-1 (3-1 agg)
- Semifinal – v Arsenal – Home – W 2-1, Away – D 0-0 (2-1 on agg)
The Spaniards continued their excellent form in the Knockout Phase of the competition, winning seven games on the trot before earning a 0-0 draw away at Arsenal to claim their spot in the final. Villarreal remain unbeaten in the tournament this season, having won 12 of 14 games, drawing the other two.
Manchester United v Villarreal – Previous Results
The teams have met four times previously and somewhat unusually, each game has finished in the same result.
- September 2005 – Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United
- November 2005 – Manchester United 0-0 Villarreal
- September 2008 – Manchester United 0-0 Villarreal
- November 2008 – Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United Squad
- Goalkeepers – David De Gea, Dean Henderson, Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop.
- Defenders – Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams
- Midfielders – Amad Diallo, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek
- Attackers – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Shola Shoretire
United have an injury concern over Harry Maguire, with the club captain rated as very doubtful to be fit for the final, although he has been included in the squad for the game.
- Goalkeepers – Sergio Asenjo, Geronimo Rulli, Filip Jorgensen
- Defenders – Mario Gaspar, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Ramiro Funes Mori, Juan Foyth, Pervis Estupinan, Alberto Moreno, Ruben Pena, Jaume Costa, Alfonso Pedraza, Andrei Ratiu
- Midfielders – Dani Parejo, Vicente Iborra, Samuel Chukwueze, Manu Tigueros, Francis Coquelin, Moi Gomez, Etienne Capoue, Yeremi Pino, Alex Baena, Ramiro Guerra
- Attackers – Gerard Moreno, Carlos Bacca, Dani Raba, Paco Alcacer, Fer Nino, Alex Millan
The main question mark for Villarreal is who will play in goal with either Sergio Asenjo or Geronimo Rulli vying to be given a chance to start the game for the Spanish side.
What Should I Back On The Europa League Final?
As we can see with the past history of these two teams, games between them have generally been a tight affair, but I also feel that both these teams are best when they are going forward on the counter attack and I think that means we could be in for a cagey affair here.
I do think it is fair to say that Villarreal have not faced a team in this competition as yet with the quality of United, but by the same token, I do feel United are much weaker defensively if Harry Maguire is unable to play, as recent results without the England centre half have proven.
For me, this game looks very likely to be decided in extra time or by penalties, but I do feel there will be goals at either end, and I think a 1-1 draw is most likely with Villarreal perhaps nabbing the win on penalties. As such, the tips I would back here are as follows:
- Match Result – Draw – 12/5
- Correct Score – 1-1 – 11/2
- Anytime Goalscorer – Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) – 13/8
- To Lift Trophy – Villarreal – 2/1