Villarreal – Manchester United: Yellow Submarine Scupper Solskjær’s Ebening (1-1, 11-10 After Pens)
Yearning to mimic the glory days under an old star, Manchester United looked to break their four-year trophy drought with a win in this final. But Villarreal had other ideas. As a compact defensive block met an aimless offensive setup, over two hours of sparring in a grueling finale saw the Spaniards round off the season in a dramatic style.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Some say there is no place like home. For Unai Emery at the helm in Villarreal, this adage has never rung truer. Stability and organization are ideas that have defined his successes, yet both eluded him in his last days in Arsenal, leaving his status in tatters at the end of 2019. But the manager is now back in his element, attacking the Europa League with a vengeance. Edging past his old club in the last round, he was now ninety minutes away from redemption.
For Manchester United, this year has been far less cut and dry than it may seem. Ending up second in the league table, they have gained eight more points this season than last, hinting at signs of progress. Yet, reliance on individual quality continues to mask the faults of the side as a collective. Indeed, only reaching this final after exiting the Champions League group stage, the . . .