Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side will be gunning for revenge ahead of the Champions League clash against Villarreal, following last season’s agonising Europa League final penalty shootout defeat.
The final in Gdansk was meant to be where Solskjaer lifted his first piece of silverware as Manchester United manager, but things didn’t go to plan.
After being drawn with the Yellow Submarine in our Champions League group, your first thought is we will settle the score with them and brush them aside with ease.
But that’s never historically happened. Manchester United have a poor record against Villarreal and have never beaten the Spanish side in five attempts.
Prior to the Europa League final, all four matches between United and Villarreal ended 0-0.
No Europa League repeat
One area that Manchester United have dramatically improved in following the Europa League final defeat is squad depth.
In May, Unai Emery had made five substitutes before extra time started, whereas Solskjaer’s first sub didn’t come until the 100th minute.
The Norwegian was hoping his eleven would be strong enough to see the Spanish side off, but he found himself scrambling for options off the bench to go and change the game.
Juan Mata and Alex Telles were brought on to take a penalty and his other subs that evening were Fred, Daniel James and Axel Tuanzebe.
However, for the Champions League clash at Old Trafford and with five substitutes available to be used, Solskjaer will have ample matchwinners to call upon from the bench.
Unlike in May, Solskjaer won’t be lacking firepower off the bench, he could introduce the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, who has scored Manchester United’s only ever goal against Villarreal.
And with Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo all likely starting, Solskjaer’s side won’t lose any attacking impetus when making changes due to the world class quality array of options he has to call upon.
Going into the Europa League final, Solskjaer possessed a strong 11 but this time around if Villarreal are looking tired, United can go for the jugular and freshen up their attack without losing any threat or quality.