Manchester United will take on Villarreal at the Estadio de la Cerámica in the UEFA Champions League this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has managed his final match for the club as he was sacked following the 4-1 defeat to Watford which was a new low for the club. Michael Carrick will step into the shoes of Solskjaer for this match as the club looks to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season, which suggests another change could happen during the summer. United will need to get three points in the bag in this match to secure their knockout stage participation in the Champions League this season.
Whilst it is sad to see Solskjaer leave the job he loved, it was time for a change as it seemed clear that there were problems somewhere in the club at playing level, despite the fact there remains a problem with the ownership and the board of the club, who just don’t seem to want the club to achieve what the players and the supporters want the club to achieve. United need to continue building on the same plan that Solskjaer helped to define, returning the club to a position whereby they will be able to challenge for the big honours in domestic and European football. Thanks for everything, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;
Sancho, Van de Beek, Martial;
Heaton, Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Fernandes, Matic; Rashford, Amad
Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan;
Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo, Gomez;
Asenjo, Alvarez, Gaspar, Alcacer, Iborra, Chukwueze, Dia, Raba, Moreno, Pena, Mandi, Pedraza
United and Villarreal have met a total of six times in the history of both clubs with United winning once – the last match between the two teams. There have been four draws and one defeat with the first four matches played in the Champions League group stages with the last match played in the Europa League final. United won 2-1 in the meeting earlier this season, the first goals scored against them in the Champions League. Before that, in the Europa League final last season, it was a 1-1 draw after extra time with Villarreal winning 11-10 on penalties. If United can get a good result in this match, they will have a good change of getting out the group.
There is not much history between United and Villarreal as far as players are concerned. Eric Bailly is the only current United player who came to the club from the Spanish club in the summer of 2016 for €30 million. Since the transfer, Bailly has made a total of 107 appearances, scoring one goal and one assist. United were apparently interested in signing Pau Torres during the summer. Guiseppe Rossi was sold to Villarreal in the 2007/08 season and Diego Forlan arrived at the Spanish club in the 2004/05 season. Both players did well in Spain with Rossi scoring 82 goals in 181 appearances and Forlan scoring 58 goals in 121 appearances.
Written by John Walker