On a dramatic night in Gdansk, it was Villarreal who managed to rise up and win the 2021 UEFA Europa League final. Their battle with Manchester United stretched out over 120 minutes and an intense penalty shootout, but in the end, the 11-10 win on penalties went to the Spaniards – and so did the trophy.
McTominay & Cavani shine, the rest don’t
Scott McTominay was able to completely dictate the pace of the game and worked harder than pretty much any other player on the pitch last night, which is a claim we’re not so sure can be disputed. On the flip side you had Edinson Cavani who was at his poacher best from the first minute until the very last, scoring the equaliser that took the game into extra time before he also converted his penalty. It’s a shame, then, that David de Gea and the rest of the first team failed to turn up.
The Unai Emery effect
Unai Emery has now won the UEFA Europa League four times with his only final loss coming when he was manager of Arsenal – which tells you everything you need to know. Villarreal managed to get to this point based on grit, heart and a whole lot of determination, with Emery’s management skills serving as an integral piece of the puzzle for them from the word go. He’s a master at winning this competition and something tells us this won’t be the last time he lifts that famous trophy up high.
Ole’s wait goes on
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went with a professional approach in the wake of his side’s disappointing loss in the final last night, insisting that while 2nd place in the Premier League and a Europa League final appearance shows progress, it’s not quite good enough for Manchester United Football Club. They expect to be winning trophies on a regular basis up at Old Trafford and if Ole can’t do that over the course of the next year or two, serious questions will start being asked of his future as manager – such is the nature of being a manager in the modern era.
Villarreal: Rulli (5), Moreno (7), Torres (6.5), Albiol (7.5), Gaspar (6.5), Gomez (6.5), Parejo (7.5), Raba (6.5), Alcacer (6.5), Coquelin (7), Moreno (8), Bacca (6.5), Trigueros (6.5), Capoue (7), Pino (6.5), Pedraza (6.5), Foyth (7.5)
Manchester United: de Gea (3.5), Telles (6.5), Tuanzebe (6.5), Lindelof (7), Shaw (8), Mata (6.5), Fred (6.5), Rashford (7.5), Fernandes (6.5), James (6.5), Cavani (8), Greenwood (6), McTominay (8), Pogba (7), Bailly (6.5), Wan-Bissaka (6.5)
Referee: Clément Turpin
Goals: Moreno :: Cavani
Yellow Cards: Capoue, Foyth, Cavani, Bailly
Red Cards: N/A