On Northern Poland’s Baltic coast, the city of Gdansk prepares itself to host the 2021 UEFA Europa League Final.
With less than 24 hours till kick-off, the city of Gdansk will be hosting Manchester United vs. Villareal! A showdown that will feature two completely different teams with one thing in mind, glory!
What You Need To Know…
The final will kick off at 3PM EST and will be expected to have up to 9,500 fans inside the stadium.
According to UEFA, both finalists have received 2,000 tickets a piece while 2,000 general public tickets were sold via UEFA.com.
So now, let’s talk about the teams shall we?
Manchester United – Moment of Truth!
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 25, 2021
For Manchester United, the Europa League final match comes at a moment of truth for them. In the October transfer window, the Red Devils were the busy team in Europe making transactions to further improve themselves after a rocky start to the EPL season. As the EPL season has come full circle, United find themselves finishing off in 2nd place which is their best after a few years ending sometimes out of the top 4, sometimes 5.
Some would argue, that the English team has proven themselves given the tough road to get to this stage in the playoffs. United faced a very tough and at times similar team in AC Milan. After beating Milan, they battled a tough Granada. Then last but not least, they had the tough task to face AS Roma.
Granted, the Devils managed to blow away the competition against Roma after a harsh beating to Roma of 6-2! Now Roma is out of the Europa League picture and will be in reconstruction mode as Jose Mourinho is set to take over the team. So what will United need to do to win here?
United, this will be your time to show no mercy and give it all you got. We have seen what a focused and driven Bruno Fernandes has to offer, we’ve seen how Pogba can deliver in times of need, and we have seen how lethal Cavani can be when given the ball. Ole, I am begging you, please don’t try to get cute with this lineup. (PLEASE)!
The only concern at the time for United is Captain, Harry Maguire. The English defenseman suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him for this game. A suitable replacement for the defenseman would be someone the likes of Eric Bailly who pairs well with Lindelof.
Villareal – A Dream-Like Ending?
— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) May 23, 2021
What an amazing story and chapter it has been for Villareal in the Europa League.
For Villareal, this has been a tournament that has brought back a stage they were once on and then, poof, disappeared. After Unai Emery took over Villareal, the Spaniard side has never looked back and has put on true-grit every time they step onto the pitch.
The amazing part of it all has been just how strong the chemistry this team has developed overall. If you look at their midfield game, the likes of Parejo, Gomez and Capoue are easily some of the most overlooked but yet, most resulting pair you have seen on this team in awhile. Then, as you look at their forward power line, the likes of Bacca, Gerard Moreno, and Paco Alcacer, create exactly the chaos you wish for your forwards to do.
In this game against Manchester United, the most important thing for Villareal will need to be to keep their emotions in check.
While many across Europe refer to this trip to the final as “Emery’s redemption tour“, the Spaniards need to focused. Villareal at times has shown, that their emotions can get the best of them. In their past 8 club-games, Villareal have been handed 3 red cards which a red card in this game could be costly. For Emery as a coach, it will be extremely important for him to ensure his team isn’t also over-confident either.
Keep the game strategy to what they have been doing and just stay focused!
So, What Is My Prediction?
Now that I have shared what each team must do, It’s time to predict a winner here.
Personally, while I am huge sucker for underdog stories, this is one of them where I have to be cautious. United currently have shown no signs of slowing down and seem to be in a glory-bound trip. Ever since Ole took over this team, every year has seemed to be better than the other and this is the year to cement his legacy as a coach.
Meanwhile, I look at a team like Villareal that have made themselves a story to truly be proud of. Much like Sevilla last year, Villareal share that underdog element! However, the biggest difference I see here is the willingness of Villareal’s power to fight, something Sevilla wasn’t shy about at all last year. For Villareal like I said, it worries me how well they can keep their emotions in check and just focus at the task in front of them.
My prediction here would be a very close game in the first 45 minutes, a thriller second-half too! However, I think with how close these two teams could play, penalties are avoidable. In the event that penalties do happen, that is where I see the superiority of a team like United, closing the show with a victory.
Now, if Penalties are not a thing, the possibility of emotions and mistakes being a favor is a massive one. Here is another area where I see United taking advantage and capitalizing, they have been lethal in that aspect. In this case, I would predict a score of 2-1 victory for United.
Good luck to both teams and as always, may the odds be ever in their favor!
~Diego Galvis (@Diego_TheDJ on Twitter).
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