The UEFA Europa League final this season poses a headache for punters. In Manchester United and Villarreal, they have two unpredictable teams to choose between.
With the Yellow Submarine, even more so than the Red Devils, you can never be too sure what you are in for.
Villarreal’s last 10 matches have featured five wins, four defeats and a draw. They saw off Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals and thrashed Sevilla 4-0 in La Liga, but lost to less fearsome opponents in Celta Vigo and Deportivo Alavés.
In Europe, Villarreal have surprised many — this writer included — and they need a win against Manchester United to ensure their place in next season’s Champions League. Undoubtedly, Unai Emery’s men will be raring to go.
However, they will be up against a Manchester United side that arguably has its whole season at stake.
After looking like genuine title contenders at one point in the Premier League, United finished a distant second to noisy neighbours Manchester City.
A second-place finish was an improvement on recent seasons, but as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made clear, nothing but silverware can be viewed as a genuine achievement for a club the size of Manchester United. This game could separate an overall disappointing season from a campaign worth remembering.
Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial look set to miss the final in Gdańsk, while Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze is also in a race against time to be fit.
Edinson Cavani is the player to watch, having scored five goals and assisted three in his last three Europa League matches.
Cavani has scored six times in six games in all competitions and has plenty of experience in crucial matches. Mind you, Villarreal have a seasoned campaigner in Raúl Albiol and a manager who is a proven Europa League specialist.
Another seasoned campaigner worth keeping an eye on is Juan Mata, who won this tournament with Chelsea in 2013 and will likely make his last appearance for the Red Devils on Wednesday.
The final is likely to be more cagey than United’s thrashing of AS Roma, but there is still potential for goals at both ends. We’re predicting United to come out tops, but not with much daylight to spare.