The State Of Manchester United After Their Huge Europa League Final Showdown With Villarreal

ole gunnar

Photo via: @ManUtd

Manchester United have finally gotten over the Europa league semi-final hump, taking manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to within a single win away from what would be his first bit of silverware as United boss after four previous exits at said stage.

The Old Trafford side had the small matter of playing their final game of the Premier League season, facing Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday as part of a mere formality, having already secured their place in next season’s Champions League. The team will travel to Gdansk, Poland, for their Europa League final clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Solskjaer’s side booked their place in the final with an 8-5 aggregate win over Italian side AS Roma, keeping up their end of the bargain as it pertained to an all-English final, much like Chelsea and Manchester City are set to embark on next weekend. Arsenal, however, did not fulfill their duties to that end, falling to Villarreal.

The manager will be desperate to put his name in the books as a trophy-winning Man Utd coach but he will have some big decisions to make, particularly as it relates to who will play in goal. Solskjaer is spoilt for choice in that department, with David de Gea and Dean Henderson both great options. Henderson has been getting his fair share of Premier League action but a Manchester source is reporting De Gea will be the one who gets the nod after starting in the last four Europa League games against Granada and Roma.

Team captain Harry Maguire, though, is likely to miss the match. The Englishman suffered ankle ligament damage during a fixture against Aston Villa earlier this month. It was hoped he would be back in time for the final, yet Solksjaer cast doubt on the player’s prospects for the game when questioned about the defender being pictured walking without crutches on Thursday.

“He’s walking but it’s a long way from walking to running so, to be honest, I don’t think we’ll see him in Gdansk, no,” he remarked. “But, as I’ve said so many times, I’m going to give him until Tuesday night, the last training session, and see if he can try to be out there.

Steadily but surely he’s improving but ligaments they take time to heal.



He’s a very important person in the dressing room and a leader. Before the fans came in, I think you all heard him from the stands. He does still want the team to do well, of course, he’s organising even from the stands, which has been easy because it’s been so quiet.

“So, he’ll come (to Poland), he’ll be in the dressing room, he’ll make sure everyone’s ready for the final.”

United are the favourites to take the trophy home on the sports betting front. The bookies have the English outfit at 5/6 to triumph in the final, with Villarreal at 7/2. Fans could also take advantage of 11/2 odds on Marcus Rashford scoring the first goal of the match. Edinson Cavani is 7/2 to do the same.

As pointed out before, the final will be inconsequential for Manchester United when it comes to securing Champions League qualification for next season. The team locked up second place on the Premier League table with games to spare but that hardly means they could afford to relax as there’s major silverware at stake.

The club should also find out its fate regarding possible punishment for its involvement in a secret plot to break away from UEFA next week. The six English clubs who attempted to form the European Super League earlier this year will meet with the Premier League for talks over the way forward in the coming days.

According to Sky Sports, the clubs (Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal) could be facing fines of tens of millions of pounds.

“A source at one of the clubs said they understood that the Premier League was debating penalties ranging from a single one-off fine to a smaller immediate fine combined with a share of next season’s broadcast income,” the report reads.

“An initial proposal from the Premier League made earlier this month is said to have comprised a £15m fine per club and a substantial – albeit suspended – points deduction, the club insider said.”

The aforementioned teams made an attempt to form their own Super League alongside Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Barcelona last month. The announcements were met with fierce fan opposition and England’s clubs all pulled out the very next day.

Madrid, Barcelona, and Juve held out but the Italian club has since shown signs of caving after admitting that the plans are no longer possible.