Manchester United – Villarreal: Winning The Battle But Losing the War (2-1)
Manchester United's clash with Villarreal had handed the home team a chance of gaining revenge for inflicting heartache at the end of last season. But sinking at the hands of the superior organization of the Yellow Submarine for a second time, a dramatic finale could only partly hide the faults of a display that generated many more questions than answers.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Ahead of extra time in the 2021 Europa League Final, Manchester United and Villarreal gathered to regroup. But they could not have taken on the task any more differently. Ole Gunnar Solskjær loitered on the edge of a scattered group of red and black shirts, leaving Paul Pogba to take the role of rallying the troops. On the other hand, Unai Emery enthralled his band of men, who form a compact, yellow wall around their leader. Four months later, such a stark contrast in organization still holds truth.
For all their lack of incision in LaLiga, Villarreal have looked at home in Europe. They have relished the big stage, taking Chelsea to a shootout in the Super Cup and drawing with Atalanta. Meanwhile, Manchester United are under the cosh after a run of three losses from their last four matches, featuring . . .