Villarreal vs. Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final 2021 Prediction & Odds

May 17, 2021 by David Nugent

UEFA Europa League CupThe prestige of the UEFA Europa League can’t be undervalued and while it may not be seen as the pinnacle of European excellence within club football, winning it can still serve as quite the boost given the history it holds. On Wednesday, May 26 we’ll see Villarreal and Manchester United meet in what’s turning out to be a pretty highly anticipated Europa League final.

The game will be held at the Stadion Miejski in Gdańsk, Poland which was supposed to be the host stadium of the 2020 final – only for the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent that from happening. United will hope to win the UEL for the second time and the first since 2017, whereas Villarreal will compete in their first major European final after reaching the Champions League and Europa League semi-finals four times in the last 17 years.

In another big moment on the road back to normality, this game will see up to 9,500 fans being allowed to attend live and in living colour over in Poland.

The kick-off for the game is scheduled to be 8 pm GMT with millions across the continent and the globe expected to tune in to watch.

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* Odds have been provided by William Hill and are accurate of May 17, 2021

Villarreal

Key Player: Gerard Moreno

Many believe Villarreal have had a relatively favourable route to the final but at the end of the day, you can only beat what’s put out in front of you – and that’s exactly what they’ve gone. They saw off the challenge of Sivasspor, Qarabag and Maccabi Tel Aviv with five wins and one draw – the latter of which being an away day in Israel after three convincing wins to start the group stage.

The knockout stages followed and by the time all four of their first legs had concluded, they were already in a pretty strong position. They saw off the challenge of Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kyiv, Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal, before winning three and drawing one of their second leg encounters to make for an incredible 14-game unbeaten run in the competition.

BT Sport

 

For a while, it felt like Villarreal were putting all of their eggs into the Europa League basket but in recent weeks, they’ve enjoyed a surge of momentum that leaves them in seventh place with a real shot of reaching fifth on the final day. Sure, they’ve been inconsistent at times, but the only teams who have lost fewer games than them in La Liga this season have been Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The win over Arsenal in the semi-finals would’ve been particularly pleasing for Villarreal manager Unai Emery who, as we all know, used to manage the Gunners. Despite his tenure at the Emirates that was probably the least successful period he’s had as a manager given that he won three Europa League trophies with Sevilla and one Ligue 1 crown with PSG.

Odds To Win: 4.75

Manchester United

Key Player: Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United began their European adventure this season one tier up in the Champions League, being drawn into an unbelievably tough group in the process. They started well with three wins in their first four games against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir, but it all went downhill from there. They proceeded to lose against the same three teams they’d beaten, resulting in them slipping down into the UEL.

Alas, with every cloud comes a silver lining, as the Red Devils went on to tear through the Europa League knockout stage. They beat Real Sociedad, AC Milan, Granada and Roma in arguably a trickier run out of the two, only losing in the second leg of their semi-final after comfortably winning the first 6-2.

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It was always going to be a notable struggle for Manchester United to keep up in the title race but they’ve exceeded a lot of expectations. They may be 12 points behind champions Manchester City but they’re also comfortably situated in second place heading into the final day of the season, which should amount to a successful run.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær who was appointed in 2019 is a decent manager but the question of whether or not he’s a great one could begin to be answered next Wednesday. He’s desperate to claim his first piece of silverware as boss with a win in Gdansk potentially giving him the boost he needs heading into what is bound to be a chaotic summer transfer window.

Odds To Win: 1.80

Our Prediction

This game has the potential to descend into chaos but it could also wind up being quite the defensive stalemate – and for whatever reason, we’re leaning towards the latter. It’s all about getting your tactics spot on in a fixture of this magnitude with the big question being “who will blink first”. The answer here, we believe, will be Villarreal.

There’s just far too much firepower in this Manchester United side for the Spaniards to overcome, and we do feel as if the English juggernauts will be able to contain and neutralise Gerard Moreno. On the other hand, it’s not hard to picture Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani stepping up to the plate in a big way, with United being the ones who hold their nerve on the big stage.

In terms of an official scoreline prediction, we’re going to go with 2-0, although we do think it’ll take until the second half for the deadlock to be broken. Villarreal are going to throw everything against the wall and hope that something sticks, but their discipline can’t last forever – and Manchester United know exactly what this could do for their confidence as the sleeping giant continues to rise.

David Nugent Editor

First off, I want to say hi and wish a warm welcome to all gambling aficionados out there! My name is David Nugent and I am editor-in-chief of LegalGamblingAndTheLaw.com. I have always enjoyed various sports, primarily soccer, as I am a die-hard Everton fan.

Over time, I learned more about sports betting and discovered the fascinating online gambling industry. Eventually,...

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