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How Manchester United could line up against Villarreal | UEFA Europa League 2020-21

Manchester United v Southampton - Premier League
Manchester United v Southampton - Premier League
Sai Teja
FEATURED WRITER

Manchester United are just a day away from playing in their first final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they take on Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League.

The Red Devils made it all the way up to the semi-finals of the competition last year, where they were pitted against Julen Lopetegui's Sevilla. The record UEL champions got the better of Manchester United and went on to win the final against Internazionale.

Solskjaer has fallen at several hurdles in the past, including the FA Cup semi-final and the EFL Cup semi-final. However, he will hope to end Manchester United's trophy drought by guiding his Red Devils to a victory over the Yellow Submarine.

That being said, it will not be an easy task for them as Villarreal are helmed by Unai Emery, who is set to manage in his sixth UEL final. The former Arsenal boss is a true master of the Europa League and his credentials in Europe speak for themselves.

As Manchester United are set for their showdown at the Polsat Plus Arena Gdansk, we take a look at how they could line up for the game.


Manchester United Predicted XI


Goalkeeper: David de Gea

Manchester United v Fulham - Premier League
Manchester United v Fulham - Premier League

Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switching his goalkeepers, particularly in 2021, the choice for the starting keeper in the final is a relatively easy one.

For starters, David de Gea has been the go-to custodian for the UEL since late February and, barring an odd game or two, he has exclusively been a cup keeper. This is a massive indication that points to the Spaniard's selection in goal for Manchester United.

Even if this wasn't the case, Solskjaer could understandably opt to field his most experienced goalkeeper for what is arguably their biggest game of the season so far. De Gea has kept two clean sheets in his four UEL games so far, conceding five times and saving 80% of the shots he's faced.


Defence: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw

Manchester United FC Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA Europa League Final 2021
Manchester United FC Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA Europa League Final 2021

The full-backs essentially pick themselves as Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Luke Shaw are Manchester United's best pair of wide defenders.

Shaw has been in the form of his life, and he could very well be one of their biggest difference-makers on the night. Wan-Bissaka will be important in helping nullify Villarreal's threats out wide and will surely play an important role as well.

The centre of defence is, perhaps, where Solskjaer's biggest selection headache lies. Despite traveling with the squad, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is unlikely to feature for the side in the final. This leaves them without arguably their best defender for the game.

Solskjaer will be forced to field either Eric Bailly or Axel Tuanzebe to fill in for his skipper. While the latter has looked in better touch during the previous game they played, the former is likelier to start. Bailly is the more experienced defender of the pair and despite the injury issues he's faced, the Iroviran is fit and available for the final.

Bailly could be set to line up against his former side, Villarreal, in the UEL final alongside Victor Lindelof.


Also read: Top 5 Premier League clubs whose academy players have played most minutes this season

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Edited by Sai Teja
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