Manchester United have started their Premier League season with four points out of two games, they will play their third match this coming weekend and afterwards, the September international break will commence. However, just after the break, the new Champions League campaign will begin mid-September and now the Red Devils have found out who will be the teams they will face during the autumn.
Manchester United were placed in Pot 2 of the UEFA Champions League draw due to not managing to win the Europa League final last May. The Devils were drawn in Group F with Villarreal, the team that defeated them in that final and ultimately took their spot in Pot 1, Italian side Atalanta and Swiss team Young Boys. Here is everything you need to know about the teams Man United will face in the Champions League.
Villarreal – The Chance For Redemption
Manchester United reached the Europa League final, the match where they were supposed to win their first trophy after four years. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team could not do it, losing after a long penalty shoot-out. That made Villarreal’s 2021-22 season, because had they lost, the Spanish side would have started their campaign in the UEFA Europa Conference League, a totally new, third-tier European competition. Yet, that win brought them straight to Pot 1 and for United this could be said to be a good draw for a team from the top pot, since they could have drawn Bayern, Inter or Atletico instead.
Villarreal had an interesting summer, spending 54 million euros on five players, bringing in Juan Foyth from Spurs, Aissa Mandi from Betis and Arnaut Danjuma from Bournemouth among others. They lost Ramiro Funes Mori at centre-back, but should be a more interesting side than they were last season. Also, Unai Emery is still a good manager for a side like the Yellow Submarine.
Atalanta – Perennial Overachievers
Atalanta are perennial overachievers in Italian football. After finishing third in 2020 and reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League, they continued doing great work. In 2021, they were knocked out of the round of 16 at the hands of Real Madrid and in the Serie A they once again finished third. This was their second season in a row where they scored the most goals in Italy’s top-flight and thus, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side should be always feared. They brought in players Merih Demiral from Juventus, but sold Musa Barrow to Bologna and loaned Cristian Romero to Tottenham Hotspur.
Young Boys – We Meet Again
The champions of Switzerland are once again in the Champions League and in a group with Manchester United. Last year they did not reach this competition, but rather ended up in the round of 16 of the Europa League. However, in 2018, these two teams were in the same group and the Devils won both times – it was 3-0 for United in Bern and 1-0 in Manchester. Last season, Jean-Pierre Nsame was their best goalscorer, putting in 41 goals in all competitions and he is the one United should be stopping in their team.