The biggest question entering this year’s Europa League was whether Spanish teams would continue to have a stranglehold on this competition. Spain has dominated this tournament over the last dozen years with Atletico Madrid winning three times and Sevilla winning four times. Neither one of those teams took part in the Europa League this time as they were involved in the Champions League, but Villarreal is looking to continue the run for La Roja. It won’t be easy for the Yellow Submarine to win though, as they are significant underdogs to Manchester United.
The Europa League Final will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2021 at 3 p.m. ET at Stadion Miejski in Gdansk, Poland.
Europa League Finals Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Villarreal CF +338
Manchester United -118
Over/Under 2 and 2.5
The Red Devils have been one of the best teams in the world all season. Manchester United finished runner-up to Manchester City in the Premier League, and they shook off a disappointing performance in the Champions League that saw them finish behind Paris Saint-Germain and Red Bull Leipzig in the Group Stage. They have been considered the team to beat in the Europa League since their Round of 16 victory over AC Milan.
Manchester United hammered Granada 4-0 over two legs in the quarterfinals and dismantled Roma in the first leg at Old Trafford in the semifinals. The Red Devils overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit to slot in five second half goals, making the second leg back in Rome virtually irrelevant.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a great job with this club since taking over. There have been plenty of skeptics and plenty of misses since Alex Ferguson stepped down, but it appears that Manchester United finally has its man. Of course, it helps that the Red Devils have a ton of young talent and some older pieces that have proven they can contribute too.
Edinson Cavani has proved he still has what it takes to thrive at a high level with his play over the last couple months, and Paul Pogba remains a difference maker in the midfield. The emergence of Mason Greenwood alongside Marcus Rashford has been a delight to watch, and Bruno Fernandes has played great.
However, there are concerns in the back. David de Gea hasn’t been great in net this year, and Dean Henderson may start over him on Wednesday. Additionally, Harry Maguire is a serious doubt to be in the starting lineup as he is dealing with an ankle injury. United are not as strong in defense without their talented center back.
Villarreal were placed in the Europa League from the outset. They played in one of the easiest groups during the Group Stage, and they had little trouble finishing ahead of Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, Turkey’s Sivasspor, and Azerbaijan’s Qarabag.
The Yellow Submarine have been extremely impressive in the knockout rounds, overcoming the oddsmakers’ expectations multiple times due to their defense. They allowed just one goal in a 4-1 aggregate win over Red Bull Salzburg and followed that up with a 4-0 aggregate win over Dynamo Kyiv. Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal could each only score one time against this defense, so Villarreal have given up just three goals in eight matches during the knockout rounds.
Gerard Moreno is this team’s primary scoring option. Moreno notched 23 goals for Villarreal this season, and he was the designated penalty taker too. Paco Alcacer is someone to watch on offense as well, but there isn’t a lot of talent on the attack. Instead, Villarreal rely on their defense to win matches.
Although Manchester United are certainly more talented, this price on Villarreal is too good to pass up. The Yellow Submarine play exceptional defense, and they can grit out a low scoring win.
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