Villarreal’s historic 20/21 Europa League triumph
Villarreal beat Manchester United after an incredible penalty shootout to win their first-ever title, the 2020/21 Europa League.
Manchester United vs Villareal: Line-ups
Resilient Villarreal Could Hold Red Devils
Heading into the month of September, Manchester United fans would have been expecting their side to go through a relatively straightforward fixture schedule unscathed, however the last few weeks have proven to be quite challenging for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, losing three of their last four games across all competitions.
Currently in the middle of a run of four consecutive home games across all competitions, United now turn their attention back to the Champions League where they come up against a Villarreal outfit, who they have failed to beat in each of their five previous European encounters. In fact, all five meetings against them have ended in draws, four of which were goalless, except for last season’s Europa League final which the La Liga side won 11-10 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.
Manchester United have a poor record against Spanish opposition in the Champions League, having failed to win any of their last seven matches against them, with their last such victory against Real Sociedad back in October 2013.
Villarreal are currently unbeaten in their last 16 European matches across both the Europa League and Champions League, the longest run of any team at present. Espanyol are the only Spanish side who have enjoyed a longer unbeaten run in European history, going 20 games without defeat between September 2006 and November 2009.
Emery has only won two of his seven games as a manager against Man United, but if the former Arsenal boss is able to guide his side to a victory at Old Trafford, then the Yellow Submarine will find themselves in a promising position to advance from Group F, even at this early stage.
The pressure is beginning to build for Solskjaer as Man United fans expect their side to be performing at a much higher standard, particularly in games they are predicted to win. Wednesday’s match is another fixture the Red Devils will be the favourites to win, and defeat here would seriously dent their hopes of Champions League progression. Solskjaer is crying out for a response from his players, however they could be in for another difficult evening against a resilient Villarreal outfit, who have been hard to break down so far this term. Yet another draw between the two sides could be on the cards at Old Trafford.