Europa League Final – Preview

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Manchester United v Villareal

Manchester United face Villareal in the Europa League Final on Wednesday evening in the Stadion Miejski in Gdańsk.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils go into the games as favourites whilst Villareal, who are now managed by ex-Arsenal boss, Unai Emery, will hope to win their first major European title.

How Manchester United got to Gdańsk

United dropped into the Europa League at the knockout stages after being knocked out of the Champions League by RB Leipzig.

They first faced Real Sociedad, one of two Spanish sides they conquered on route to Gdańsk, beating them 4-0 on aggregate after an impressive first leg. United next faced AC Milan and scraped through 2-1 on aggregate thanks to a 1-0 second leg win at Old Trafford.

Next up were Granada, who were dispatched 4-0 on aggregate with two 2-0 wins, before United beat AS Roma 8-5 on aggregate after two entertaining games with plenty of goals.

Villareal’s route to Gdańsk

Villareal finished top of Group I ahead of Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor, and Qarabag thanks to five wins and one draw from their six group games.

The Spanish side have had a tough route to the final, first facing Dynamo Kyiv in the first knockout game and beating them 4-0 on aggregate. They then faced Dynamo Zagreb and went through with a hard fought 3-1 win on aggregate.

Unai Emery then took his side to his former club, Arsenal, and came through 2-1 winners on aggregate.

Players to look out for

Villareal forward, Gerard Moreno, has scored six goals in the Europa League this season and boasts a ratio of 0.71 goals per 90 minutes in the tournament. He also has a shot accuracy of 57% and has assisted three further goals.

Paco Alcácer has also scored six goals in the tournament for Villareal and has an impressive shot accuracy of 92%, so the Spanish side will pose a real threat.

Bruno Fernandes is the top goal scorer for Manchester United in this seasons Europa League with five goals. He also has four assists to his name and a goal per 90 minutes ratio of 0.72.

Edinson Cavani has also scored five Europa League goals for United and is in a rich vein of form for the Red Devils domestically too.

Previous Europa League winners

Since the birth of the Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, Spanish and English clubs have dominated the tournament, so it is no surprise to see a side from Spain face a side from England in this year’s final. Only FC Porto of Portugal has taken the trophy away from Spain and England over the last decade. Manchester United last won this competition in 2017, whilst Villareal have never won a major European trophy.

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