The Europa League and Champions League Finals are set for this week. Both tournaments will crown a winner as major trophies are handed out in Europe’s two biggest club football competitions.
Chelsea will meet fellow Premier League team Manchester City in the Champions League Final on Saturday, May 29. Before that final can take place, Manchester United will travel to Gdansk, Poland to face off with Spain’s Villarreal in the Europa League Final. The Europa League Final will be played on Wednesday, May 26.
Europa League Final: Villarreal +350 vs. Manchester United -118
Manchester United are favourites to lift the first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Red Devils won the Europa League in 2017 against Ajax and now go in search of another piece of tournament silverware.
Last season, Manchester United were beaten in the semifinals by eventual champions Sevilla. Villarreal are another Spanish side that could cause trouble for the Red Devils. Manager Unai Emery won the trophy three times in three seasons at Sevilla. Although he struggles to get his teams to contend for league titles in Spain, he produces strong Europa League teams.
I cannot stress enough that Villarreal need to be taken seriously despite Manchester United’s personnel and past accomplishments. Manchester United’s biggest worry is over the fitness of centre-back Harry Maguire. He has been nursing an ankle injury and missed the last four games. Only one of those four matches ended in a win. Maguire is in the squad for the game and is likely to start.
Villarreal are led in goals by Gerard Moreno. He scored 29 goals in 45 games in all competitions. If Maguire is less than 100%, Moreno could step up and deliver for the Spanish side. Edinson Cavani should get the start for Manchester United in attack. Villarreal will need to marshall the striker and midfielder Bruno Fernandes throughout the game. They are the Red Devils’ dangermen.
Result: Although Manchester United are favourites, I like Villarreal to pull off an upset. Emery knows this competition well having won it three times with Sevilla. I can see Manchester United taking Villarreal far too lightly. Winner: Villarreal
Champions League Final: Manchester City -120 vs. Chelsea +350
Manchester City are heavy favourites to defeat their Premier League rivals Chelsea. Problem is, the teams have played three times this season already with Chelsea winning two of those games in all competitions. Chelsea have two injury concerns going into the game as goalie Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante are racing to get back to full fitness. Both men are key players for the Blues.
Pep Guardiola has no injury worries at Manchester City and can field his strongest squad. The Cityzens had the Premier League’s best defence with just 32 goals conceded during the campaign. Chelsea were second with 36.
Like the Europa League Final, the underdog must be taken seriously. I like Chelsea to win the Champions League Final. They battled back from one goal down against Manchester City in their most recent game to win 2-1. This is unchartered territory for Manchester City while some of Chelsea’s players have been in this position before.
Result: The Champions League Final should be close with Chelsea just edging Manchester City in the end. Their recent FA Cup Final ended 1-0 in favour of the Blues. This could be a similarly low-scoring game. Winner: Chelsea
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