It is time for Manchester United to win some silverware at last! Since the last Europa League final in which the Red Devils have taken part, there were no new trophies coming to Old Trafford. It was Ajax then that was defeated 2-0, but since, there were many semi-final losses, in all of FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team have managed to get past that hurdle and finally be part of a match that could get the club a much needed trophy. The opponents are Villarreal, Spain’s seventh best team this season, but a side that has proven they are the specialists for the Europa League knockout stages, especially with Unai Emery at the helm. The former Arsenal manager has already three Europa League trophies to his name and a final, showing just how well he knows this competition.
Manchester United’s situation ahead of this match is quite clear. Harry Maguire will not feauture in this match, meaning Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof will have to partner up. Phil Jones misses out once more, as well as Anthony Martial, due to their knee injury problems. It remains to be seen whether Fred will start the match, because he had a minor knock, while everyone else should be 100 per cent ready to play.
As far as Villarreal are concerned, Juan Foyth might be ready, but that remains to be seen, due to his hamstring problems. Apart from that, there should not be many problems for Unai Emery and his side. Carlos Bacca and Paco Alcacer will hope to get playing time, although Gerard Moreno is the first choice striker, while Etienne Capoue should be back in the team after serving his suspension against Arsenal.
Manchester United’s form has been far from ideal in the recent weeks, but that did not hurt this team too much. The Premier League runners-up spot was already pretty much taken and some of the poor results came during a tough spell of four games in seven days. Before this final, United won the final league game against Wovles 2-1, but with a heavily rotated side, meaning the boys will be more rested and ready to perform in Gdansk.
Villarreal on the other side did not rotate in recent days, because of their wish to finish in the Europa League spots. In their last league game against Real Madrid, they used their best team trying to get points that would get them out of Europa Conference League next season. They had the lead, but ultimately lost, which now means Villareral will either play Champions League or the newly formed Conference League, depending on whether they win in the final or not. Before the 2-1 loss to Real Madrid, they defeated Sevilla 4-0 and Real Valladolid 2-0, meaning they really are in good form.
It is never easy predicting finals and even if there are big favourites, the matches rarely tend to be easily won. Nevertheless, we believe Manchester United will win the Europa League, possibly with a single goal scored in the entire 90 minutes. It is finally time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring silverware to Old Trafford.