Europa League Final Preview & Tips: Wednesday 26th May
While it is the end of season for most teams, for those involved in the two big UEFA finals this week, things are still ongoing. First up we have the Europa League Final, which is taking place in Gdansk in Poland and which will see Manchester United take on Villarreal.
The English side last won the tournament back in the 2016-2017 season when Manchester United were 2-0 winners over Ajax.
No team outside of Spain or England has won the tournament since 2011 (when Porto defeated Braga in an all-Portuguese final).
Indeed, only four teams have won the nine finals since then. Sevilla have landed four victories, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea have two wins each and Manchester United have won the other tournament.
Only two finals since 2011 have seen two or fewer goals scored with three of the last six finals having seen five goals scored and five of the last six have seen three or more goals scored.
It’s set to be a cracker and in true big occasion fashion I’m going to give you an extended analysis of the game, as well as a couple of extra bets you could elect to make on the match.
Europa League Final Tips: Wednesday 26th May
Fans hoping for another Europa League final goal-fest may be in for something different this year. In four games between these two teams, no goals have been scored and each has finished in a 0-0 draw.
United fans will be concerned that injury to Harry Maguire rules him out of this game and since his injury, United’s form has tailed off considerably although they did get back to winning ways away to Wolves at the weekend.
In contrast, Villarreal finished the season strongly to finish 7th in La Liga but their final day defeat to Real Madrid meant that they missed out on a Europa League place next season, making this game all the more important to them.
The Spaniards are unbeaten in this competition all season long and United will have to become the first team to get the better of them if they are to land the trophy.
Let’s now take a look at how both teams reached the final and what the possible starting XI for each team could be on Wednesday night.
Route To Final: Man Utd
*Joined round of 32 after being ko’ed from the Champions League group stakes.
- 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)
Route To Final: Villareal
*Finished top of Europa League Group I with five wins and a draw.
- 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)
Probable Starting Line Ups:
Manchester United – (4-3-3) – De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Bailly, Lindelof, Fred, McTominay, Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba, Cavani
Villarreal – (4-4-2) – Rulli, Mario, Alfonso, Pau Torres, Albiol, Parejo, Coquelin, Chukwueze, Trigueros, Moreno, Alcacer
This is a tough game to call. Manchester United’s away form is such that you can never rule them out of any contest on the road, but Villarreal have been exceptional in this competition this season and are unbeaten home or away, that makes this a very tough task for United.
Add to that United’s drop off in form and the absence of Harry Maguire, and I think United could be in for a tough evening. However, having said that, I think that they will end up holding the trophy aloft.
I see that coming by way of a win in extra time, or perhaps on penalties, so for the 90 minute score, I am going to back the draw.
- Correct Score – Manchester United 1-1 Villarreal – £10 returns £70
- Anytime Goalscorer – Edinson Cavani (Man Utd) – £10 returns £27.50
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.