By News Team
25th May 2021
The Premier League season may have come to an end, but there’s still two huge European club cup finals this week involving English sides.
Before the Champions League final, it’s the turn of the Europa League final on Wednesday night as Manchester United come up against La Liga outfit Villarreal.
Here we preview the clash from Gdansk, Poland below and pick out some key bets to keep an eye on.
Man United favourites to conquer in Gdansk
Manchester United line up in their first major final on Wednesday since winning the Europa League in 2017 and it will mark the first final appearance for the club since boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived in the dugout two-and-a-half years ago. The Norwegian has so far gone without bringing any silverware to Old Trafford, but after finally guiding the club past the semi-finals of a competition at the fifth time of asking, Solskjaer and Red Devils fans alike will be hoping that the drought can be broken in Gdansk against Villareal.
Much has been made about how United will line up in the final, with the question surrounding Marcus Rashford or Paul Pogba hot on everyone’s mind, and it will be down to Solskjaer to decide who takes that favoured position on the left in the side. United could also be without the services of captain Harry Maguire, who is currently recovering from an ankle injury sustained in their 3-1 win against Aston Villa at the start of the month. This could prove a key area of battle in the final and Victor Lindelof, the more established defender in the side without Maguire, will need to control the back line against Villareal’s attacking options, particularly Gerard Moreno, who has scored an impressive 31 goals for club and country this season. Moreno is 4/1 to break the deadlock.
At the other end of the pitch for United, Edinson Cavani will look to continue the purple patch he’s currently enjoying and fire United to glory. The veteran striker has 16 goals this season with nine coming from his last 10 games and he is 13/10 to score anytime on the night. However, Villarreal boss Unai Emery managed Cavani when the two were at PSG together and he will no doubt be shaping plans on how to use the experienced Raul Albiol to keep the Uruguayan under wraps.
Emery’s Europa experience to play key role?
If Solskjaer is to get his hands on UEFA’s heaviest trophy (15kg) he will need to overcome Emery’s unrivalled Europa League experience, with the Villareal manager having won the competition a record three times with Sevilla in as many years. Villareal, who finished seventh in La Liga this season, are still without a major trophy in the club’s 98-year history and hopes will be firmly on the Spanish boss’s experience to deliver.
Despite Emery’s presence on the touchline, however, it is United that line up in the final as the 17/20 favourites and given their performance in the semi-final against Roma it’s not hard to see why. While Villarreal’s semi-final wasn’t as entertaining when facing off against Emery’s former side Arsenal, they were able to get the job done and come into this fixture with every chance of an upset, which is reflected in their price of 18/5 for the win. Would you like to work out your potential winnings? Try our online betting calculator.
This looks all set to be a thrilling final with both sides and their managers hungry for the silverware on offer. It’s certainly one not to be missed.