Europa League Final
Villarreal vs. Manchester United
The first European final of this week starts today! Let’s get to know these two teams a bit better and provide some interesting tidbits for all your betting and DFS needs.
Who are they, and how they got here?
Led by Europa League legend, Unai Emery, Villarreal secured a spot in the final with a win over Arsenal, coincidentally Emery’s old team. Overall, they had a pretty weak schedule beating teams such as Zagreb, Kyiv, and Salzburg along the way. However, that is not to say that they have a mediocre team. A less flashy team, certainly, but in no way are they chumps. They finished 7th in La Liga with a +16 goal differential. Their defense is quite strong and while their attack isn’t best suited for DFS purposes, Moreno did finish tied for second in the scoring race with 23 goals.
After Mourinho led them to a Europa League title, it is time for Solskjaer to try to do the same. They certainly had a tougher road to the final after having to overcome teams such as Roma, AC Milan, and Real Sociedad. With a second place finish in the EPL, United had a good season only to be outperformed by City, their Manchester rivals. With a +29 goal difference, they have also improved defensively and increased their production offensively.
What do the statistics tell us?
The firepower of both clubs is quite evident with United having the edge from a domestic league perspective. From a Europa League point of view, Villarreal certainly has the better numbers but remember, weaker opponents lead to inflated performances. In terms of shot creating actions (SCA), we are again at very similar points.
Of the main players expected to start on Wednesday, Bruno Fernandes is certainly at the head of the table. Most attacks go and end through him. Shaw has also been creeping up as the season progressed due to his split role on set pieces. The remainder of these chances then fall on Cavani and Rashford who are prime GPP plays for tonight’s slate. On the other side, we all know Parejo is the main set piece player as most of his SCA come through dead ball situations. Then we have quite the drop off which backs up my former point that Villarreal isn’t a team to target for DFS purposes. The main player everyone will look towards will evidently be Moreno for his goal scoring prowess as he scored more than a third of his team’s goals in the regular season. These are the main plays you will want to build around.
What do the odds tell us?
Current odd projections have United at -110 while Villarreal sits at +310. Earlier in the week, the latter was hovering around +400. Clearly something changed. Expect a very tight game with the over/under sitting at 2.5. It will either be a 1-0 game where Villarreal will play tight defensively and United will struggle to get into prime attacking zones. My next guess is a 2-1 game with the majority of chances coming from the United side.