Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Man United v Villarreal in Europa League final
Michael Owen looks ahead to the Europa League final between Man United and Villarreal on Wednesday night
Michael Owen is backing Manchester United to claim a 2-1 win over Villarreal in Wednesday night’s Champions League final.
The Red Devils are aiming to end their season on a positive note by claiming their first major trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United last won the Europa League back in 2017 under Jose Mourinho when they beat Ajax in the final in Stockholm.
Solskjaer’s side secured a second-placed finish in the Premier League at the weekend as they continue their development under the Norwegian head coach, and they will now be aiming to lift the trophy by beating Unai Emery’s side.
Manchester United secured their spot in the final with a victory over AS Roma, while Villarreal knocked out Emery’s old team Arsenal in the semi-finals.
Former England and Liverpool FC striker Owen believes that Manchester United are set to claim a narrow win over the Spanish side and secure Europa League glory on Wednesday night.
Writing in his column for BetVictor, Owen said: “Manchester United go into the Europa League final as favourites.
However, their opponents are undefeated in this year’s competition and have a manager at the helm in Unai Emery that can boast of winning this competition three times in the past, which is more than any other.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to win his first trophy as United manager, although if they are to be successful here, they’ll most likely have to do it without injured captain Harry McGuire.
“I think United will be happy to give up some territory to the Spaniards in the hope they can utilise their counter-attack that has been such a potent weapon for them throughout the season.
“There’s no doubt Villarreal will be wary of that, and although I think the Yellow Submarine have enough to get on the score-sheet, I reckon it’ll be United that will be collecting the winner’s medals come full-time.
“It’s 2-1 to the side from Manchester for me.”
Villarreal and Manchester United have met in four previous European matches – on each occasion in the Champions League group stage – and every one ended in a goalless draw.
Villarreal’s overall record against English clubs is W5 D7 L5. This is their first encounter at a neutral venue.
United have lost just three of their last 17 matches outside Manchester in the Europa League, winning 10, and have scored at least once in every one of their knockout phase encounters in the competition outside England, a sequence that has now stretched to 16 games.
Emery has overseen 92 matches in the Europa League proper – 32 more than any other coach – and this is his fifth final. Only two other coaches have served in more than one.