Manchester United are set to face Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday evening at the Stadion Energa in Gdansk.
Manchester United are within touching distance of winning their first title under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Wednesday evening. The Red Devils booked their berth in the Europa League final after dismantling AS Roma 8-5 on aggregate. They now come up against Villarreal who have killed one of the competition’s and England’s biggest fish in the shape of Arsenal, who they beat 2-1 in the semi-final.
Both the sides have two wins, one draw and two losses in their last five fixtures in their respective leagues and enter the biggest fixture of their season on the exact wavelength of form. However, Unai Emery’s side could be deemed the favourite due to the Spaniard’s experience in the competition after winning it three times in a row during his managerial stint with Sevilla. On the flip side, this will be Solskjaer’s first final in his managerial career.
The Red Devils will be without their captain Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial for this fixture. Meanwhile, Emery will be missing out on Tottenham Hotspur loanee Juan Foyth in the back four and Samuel Chukuweze due to their respective injuries.
David De Gea will start in goal on Wednesday after becoming the designated cup competition goalkeeper ahead of his counterpart, Dean Henderson. The Spaniard has previously won the competition in 2017 under Jose Mourinho and his experience will be pivotal against Villarreal.
In the back four, Victor Lindelof will pair up with Eric Baily in the heart of the defence. Baily will be facing his former side for the first time in his career after leaving Villarreal in 2016. Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are expected to play as the two full-backs after the duo was rested in the final Premier fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Paul Pogba and Fred are expected to play as the two holding midfielders to provide stability to the defence in the absence of Harry Maguire. Pogba could be given the license to drive forward during attacking transitions while Fred will have to drop back to help out the central defenders as Shaw and Wan-Bissaka would be allowed to progress higher up the pitch.
Bruno Fernandes will play as the attacking midfielder ahead of Fred and Pogba. The Portuguese international has been Manchester United’s most influential player this season and has five goals along with four assists in the Europa League this season. Fernandes will look to add more to his tally in the final and also win his first trophy since signing for the club in the winter transfer market of 2020.
The front three would see Marcus Rashford on the left-wing and Mason Greenwood on the right-wing. The latter has been in exceptional goal-scoring form lately and will look to trouble Villarreal’s defence with his potency in front of goal. Edinson Cavani will spearhead the front three as the sole striker. The former Paris Saint-Germain forward will look to cap off his first season at Manchester United by winning his first-ever European Cup competition.