Villarreal vs Manchester United: who to support in the Europa League final
Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Uncertain on who to get behind and what to expect for the UEFA Europa League final? Get our one-stop guide.
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In their first major continental decider, Villarreal are taking on Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League final in Gdańsk.
You can watch it for the sheer joy of the game, buy if you want to pick a side to support, or get some idea of what is to come, read our basic guide to the final.
Manchester United: Red and white (black or white and black dazzle camouflage, if they wear an away kit)
Nations represented in current squads
Villarreal: Argentina, Andorra, Colombia, Ecuador, France, South Korea, Nigeria, Romania, Spain, Sweden
Manchester United: Brazil, England, France, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, Wales
Why will they win?
Villarreal: The temptation is to talk about the flourishing strike partnership of Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcácer, but it's impossible to ignore the impact of coach Unai Emery. He was signed to take Villarreal to a final and look what he's done.
Manchester United: Last season's semi-final defeat by Sevilla hurt. United paid a heavy price for their profligacy – and are determined not to make the same mistakes this time as they look to end their longest run without a trophy since the 1980s.
What is their pedigree?
Villarreal: A small-town side, Villarreal were dwarfed by regional rivals Valencia for much of their history before reaching Spain's top flight for the first time. UEFA competition regulars, they made it through a major semi-final for the first time this season.
Manchester United: The three-time European champions completed a full set of major UEFA trophies when they won the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League. With a massive global following, they have won a record 20 English titles, but none since 2012/13.
Villarreal: Gerard Moreno – With six goals en route to the final, and (for the first time in his career) over 20 in the Liga, the 29-year-old Spanish international is in the form of his life. Sheer class in his finishing, he is brimming with confidence.
Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes – With nine goals and five assists in Europe this season, the creator-in-chief’s impact has been invaluable in the Red Devils' journey. The Portuguese has both scored and set up more goals than any other United player this term in all competitions.
Ones to watch
Villarreal: Samuel Chukwueze – No longer a wonderkid, the exciting Nigerian winger can light up a game on his day. The final is taking place four days after his 22nd birthday, and he is determined to have something big to celebrate in Gdańsk.
Manchester United: Mason Greenwood – With over 100 appearances under his belt, Ole Gunnar Solskjær's "very mature" 19-year-old has featured at each step of United's Europa League campaign. A natural finisher, he has been scoring regularly in domestic games.
Villarreal: Villarreal boss since July 2020, the meticulous Unai Emery won the UEFA Europa League title in three successive seasons with Sevilla from 2014 to 2016, but missed out on a fourth triumph as his Arsenal side lost the 2019 final to Chelsea.
Manchester United: A regular supersub in United’s golden age under Sir Alex Ferguson, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been learning on the job since returning to Old Trafford as manager in 2018. He is still on the hunt for a first trophy as the Reds' boss.
The big song
Villarreal: The club's official song was written in 1998 when president Fernando Roig took charge.
La illusió de tot un poble (the dream of an entire people)
Industrial i llaurador (factory workers and farmers)
És un club que a tots pregona (is a club that appeals to all)
La força de l'afició... (the strength of their fans)
Canteu, penyes! Canta, afició! (Sing, supporters! Sing, fans!)
Endavant, a triomfar, a guanyar Villarreal (Onward, to victory, a Villarreal win)
La gent de la nostra Vila (the people of our town)
De la Plana, del Millars (from La Plana, to Millars)
Porta al cor la seua estima (carry love in their hearts)
Per l'equip més exemplar (for this most exceptional team)
Els nostres colors són el blau i el groc (Our colours are blue and yellow)
I els nostres amors pel Villarreal (and our love is for Villarreal)
En el Madrigal sempre lluitarem (in the Madrigal we will always fight)
Tots agermanats sempre animarem... (united, we will always get behind)
Manchester United: United Road, sung to the melody of John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads
I was born to be United
Daddy told me when I just a baby
When I was five
I went down Warwick Road
Now I’m addicted
The only place I’ll go
Take me home, United Road
To the place I belong
To Old Trafford, to see United
Take me home, United Road
All my memories,
Bobby Charlton, Georgie Best and Cantona
They came to us from heaven
Then in the Nou Camp in 1999
On Sir Matt Busby’s birthday
Oh it was party time
What do you need to eat to fit in?
Villarreal: 'Pipas' (sunflower seed) are the go-to snack for football fans of all ages.
Man. United: Beef tea and meat pies provide the traditional accompaniment to football in England.