Europa League heartbreak proves Man Utd can’t keep relying on star forwards to constantly bail out dodgy defending

'Pretty football' is overrated.All these sexy triangles and messing about with the ball in your own half is rubbish really, it's just no-one dares to admit it.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was put through the ringer once again | Adam Warzawa - Pool/Getty ImagesProper football is watching a team with the Chuckle Brothers at centre-back who are utterly incapable of keeping a clean sheet, but with a forward line with the ability to tear apart any defence on the planet.Step forward, Manchester United.Related ArticlesTwitter reacts as Villarreal beat Manchester United in Europa League finalTwitter reacts as Manchester United were unable to break down a rigid Villarreal backline before the Spanish outfit went on to triumph on penaltiesRoss Jackson|May 26, 2021The Man Utd

Twitter reacts as Villarreal beat Manchester United in Europa League final

Bang on about the Champions League all you like, the Europa League is where the real fun is at.Manchester United faced Villarreal on Wednesday evening looking to notch just their second ever Europa League triumph after their success in the 2017 edition of the competition.As the game edged closer towards kick off, the Twitter universe got their crystal balls out (the things that let you see into the future, get your mind out of the gutter) and started to predict how the clash would pan out.In truth, going by the pair's previous meetings it wasn't a tough one to predict...Man United and Villarreal have only faced each other four times in the past and there hasn't been a single goal

Man Utd 1-1 Villarreal (AET – Villarreal win on pens): Player ratings as Red Devils downed by Yellow Submarine

Villarreal secured their first ever Europa League triumph as they beat Manchester United on penalties in Gdansk following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.Unai Emery's side took the lead against the run of play as Dani Parejo's floated free kick found Gerard Moreno at the back post and the Spaniard slotted home having escaped the attention ofVictor Lindelof.#UELFinal | 1-0 | ⏱️ 29' | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! @GerardMoreno9!!!!!!!— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) May 26, 2021Just ten minutes into the second half United finally drew level as the ball ricocheted around the Villarreal box following Marcus Rashford's fierce strike, before Edinson Cavani showed his striker's instinct to react first and tap into an

Harry Maguire named in Man Utd travelling squad for Europa League final

Harry Maguire has been named in the Manchester United squad to face Villarreal in the Europa League final. But there is no place for Anthony Martial who has been deemed unfit to feature in Gdansk. United take on the Spanish side looking to end a strong season with silverware. They finished as runners-up in the Premier League and signed off for the season with a 2-1 win at Wolves on Sunday, and are firm favourites to win the Europa League when they face Unai Emery's team on Wednesday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for his first trophy since returning to the club as manager, and his hopes of getting it may well be boosted by the return of captain Maguire.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd selection headaches ahead of Europa League final

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has several selection headaches ahead of the Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdansk as he both sweats on the fitness of Harry Maguire and tries to find a way to include all his attacking stars while still retaining a balanced side.Solskjaer opted to rest his usual starters for United’s 2-1 win in the last Premier League game of the season against Wolves, but Maguire has been missing since limping out of the victory over Aston Villa in April as a result of an ankle injury.Harry Maguire faces a battle to be fit for the Europa League final | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty ImagesUnited haven’t kept a clean sheet since, conceding eight times

Mikel Arteta must make bold changes for Villarreal second leg

Arsenal's lackluster performance at Villarreal last Thursday was the type fans have become accustomed to this season.Mikel Arteta's side carried very little goal threat - largely due to the fact the boss opted to play without a recognised striker - and defensively...well, the less said about that the better.Facing your former manager is never easy, particularly when he has a strong understanding of many of the current group's strengths and weaknesses. However, what made the defeat at La Ceramica last week incredibly frustrating from an Arsenal viewpoint is that it wasn't an Unai Emery masterclass - in fact, it was far from it.His decision to substitute Paco Alcacer and replace him with Francis Coquelin at half time was typical Emery.

Man Utd must not take their foot off the gas en route to the Europa League final

A resounding and ultimately dominant 6-2 victory against Roma was enough to see Manchester United put themselves in pole position for a place in the Europa League final.While it still isn't the strongest scoreline the Red Devils have racked up against the Italian side, it would take some doing to better that 7-1 thrashing dished out in 2007.Still, the 6-2 comeback win was a positive. Bruno Fernandes was back to his usual productive self and all of United's big hitters managed to contribute to an impressive goal sheet. Considering the inconsistency that has plagued them at Old Trafford this season, seeing them eventually wipe the floor with an esteemed side like Roma was refreshing for fans, even if they weren't

The Arsenal lineup that should start against Villarreal in the Europa League

Arsenal face Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night, and it's a case of progression or bust for the Gunners' season.Mikel Arteta is under increasing pressure given the club's disappointing league position, but this competition provides him with an opportunity to salvage the campaign. If the north Londoners are to go all the way, they'd qualify for next season's Champions League.It really is 'win or bust' when it comes to the Europa League for Arsenal and Arteta. Having lost the first leg 2-1 they have plenty to do in the return fixture at the Emirates Stadium. Goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol saw Unai Emery's side go 2-0 up inside half an hour,

Man Utd’s biggest European wins

Manchester United were the first English club to enter European competition in 1956 when Matt Busby defied the wishes of the Football League to lead his Busby Babes into the European Cup.65 years later, United remain a pillar of European competition, having won all three major trophies at one point or another and enjoying some big wins along the way.This list includes any game in European competition in which United have scored at least five goals while also maintaining a minimum margin of victory of four clear goals.Marcus Rashford scored twice on his debut against Midtjylland | Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesDate: 25 February 2016Competition: Europa League, last 32Scorers: own goal, Marcus Rashford (2), Ander Herrera, Memphis DepayAn 18-year-old Marcus Rashford grabbed

European qualifying draw for the 2023 Women’s World Cup

A record 51 European countries have entered qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the hope of reaching the finals in Australia and New Zealand in two years’ time.The 2023 tournament is to be the biggest women’s competition yet after FIFA opted to extend the tournament from the 24 countries that were seen in 2015 and 2019, to 32. There are 11 guaranteed places for European qualifiers in 2023, an increase of three from each of the last two World Cups.The 2023 Women's World Cup will be co-hosted by Australia & New Zealand | Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesThe 51 European hopefuls have been divided into nine groups of either five or six teams. Each group winner will automatically secure their

Mikel Arteta admits he got Arsenal team selection wrong in Villarreal defeat

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that he got his team selection wrong for Thursday night’s Europa League semi-final first leg loss at Villarreal, and insists a 2-1 defeat was a good result in the circumstances because it gives the Gunners a lifeline in the second leg at home.With Alexandre Lacazette injured, Arteta bizarrely also opted to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench and chose to line up without a recognised striker. Instead, Emile Smith Rowe was deployed in a false nine role.But Arsenal lacked an attacking threat, were 2-0 down inside the first half hour and then played most of the second half with 10 players after Dani Ceballos was sent off. It was only a Nicolas Pepe penalty

Paul Pogba admits confusion over awarded penalty in Roma win

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has claimed he doesn't know how to tackle after he conceded a penalty in his side's 6-2 win over Roma in the Europa League.The French midfielder was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area after sliding to intercept Rick Karsdorp's cross and turning his back on the ball before it bounced up onto his arm.Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande took some time to deliberate the handball with the nearest linesman, though after a brief discussion he decided to stick with his original decision to award a penalty.Related ArticlesWhat Manchester United can expect from AS Roma in Europa League semi-finalAnalysing the strengths and weaknesses of AS Roma ahead of Manchester United's Europa League semi-finalMax

Twitter reacts as Man Utd romp to victory & Arsenal stutter in Europa League

After watching Chelsea and Manchester City acquit themselves so well in the Champions League over the last few days, Thursday night was Manchester United and Arsenal's time to shine as they kicked off their Europa League semi-final ties against Roma and Villarreal respectively.Well, we say 'time to shine' - the Gunners were pretty hopeless, though they do still have a foothold in the tie thanks to Nicolas Pepe's second half penalty. Meanwhile, United looked shaky in the first half of their clash with Roma, but they were absolutely sublime in the second half and they now look nailed on to book their place in the final.The first major action of the night came over at Estadio de la Ceramica as

Man Utd 6-2 Roma: Player ratings as Red Devils take major step towards Europa League final

Manchester United came from a goal behind to record an emphatic 6-2 victory over Roma at Old Trafford and all but book their place in the Europa League final.United hit the front with just nine minutes on the clock as Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani combined brilliantly to allow Bruno Fernandes the chance to slot home - a chance he never looked like missing.BRUNOOOOOOOOOOOO ???? #MUFC? #UEL— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 29, 2021The Red Devils' lead lasted little more than five minutes as Pogba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, with Lorenzo Pellegrini stepping up to slot home the resulting penalty.Just ten minutes before half-time the game was completely turned on its head as former

Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners salvage away goal in first leg defeat

Arsenal face an uphill battle to reach the Europa League final but did manage to salvage an away goal as they fell to defeat to Unai Emery's Villarreal in a frantic first leg of their semi final on Thursday night.The visitors fell behind as Samuel Chukwueze wriggled into the box before Manu Trigueros leapt onto the loose ball to fire into the bottom corner. Arsenal's task was made even harder when some slack defending allowed Gerard Moreno to flick a corner into Raul Albiol's path, with the centre back unmarked at the back stick to convert.Pepe's penalty means Arsenal are firmly in the tie | Soccrates Images/Getty ImagesDani Ceballos got himself sent off for two bookable offences, but the Gunners

Solskjaer: ‘Man Utd feeling confident’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer assures Manchester United are ‘feeling confident’ in the Europa League semi-final with Roma and he expects another ‘emotional night’ at Old Trafford. The first leg kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT), click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG. The coach was asked which Manchester United will we see this evening. “You will certainly see a good Manchester United. We’re in good shape, feeling confident and want to replicate the good form we’ve seen so far in the Premier League,” he told Sky Sport Italia. Solskjaer tried to patch up some of the controversy he inadvertently caused by suggesting he didn’t know Roma very well. “We all know Roma here. It’s a real pleasure for us to welcome them to Old

How Arsenal can defeat Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the Europa League

As if the supporters aren't nervous enough, Arsenal face their former boss Unai Emery in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night - adding extra spice to what is undoubtedly their biggest game of the season so far.Emery joined the club back in July 2018, replacing club legend Arsene Wenger, but just 17 months into his tenure he was sacked. 518 days later, the Villarreal boss has the opportunity to get one over his former club by dumping them out of a competition he's proven himself as a specialist in. The Spaniard won the Europa League with Sevilla three seasons in a row, took Arsenal to a final, and this time finds himself at the semi-final

UEFA Europa League top 5 cult heroes

Cult heroes capture the imagination of fans like few players can, whether it be through their style of play or a particular connection with the supporters they represent.They can be found at all levels of the game, but there’s something extra special about those players who cultivated their status in the revered UEFA Europa League."I suppose it's not the worst guess in the world." ?@jackjcollins quizzed @jamesallcott on the Europa League semi-finalists ahead of the first leg games!Click below for the full episode ? | #UELBreakfast | #Kia | #MovementThatInspires— 90min (@90min_Football) April 29, 2021The cult heroes of past and present are the subject of the latest UEFA Europa League Breakfast Show, presented by official tournament partner, Kia. This week's

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Man Utd will ‘go all out’ in semi-final

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to win a semi-final at the fifth attempt as his team prepare to face Roma in the Europa League last four, explaining that previous defeats have been analysed and there is now more belief in the squad than before.United reached semi-finals of the EFL Cup, FA Cup and Europa League last season, losing to Manchester City, Chelsea and Sevilla respectively. They again lost to rivals City in the EFL Cup semis earlier this season and are hoping it will be fifth time lucky against Roma.Man Utd have lost semi-finals against Man City (twice), Chelsea & Sevilla | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images“We have looked at [previous semi-final defeats] and the reasons why, but every

What Manchester United can expect from AS Roma in Europa League semi-final

"I’ve not seen too much of them."Those were the words which spilled out of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's mouth in the immediate aftermath of Manchester United's comfortable progression past Granada in April's Europa League quarter-finals.The Norwegian coach had been put on the spot over the quality of fellow semi-finalists AS Roma, and in fairness to him, he provided remarkable honesty in his initial comments. His assessment soon after only confirmed his lack of knowledge of the one team standing between the Red Devils and a European final. "I knew they played two good games against Ajax. They defend well, as Italian teams always do."In reality, Roma had not played two good games against Ajax, and as far as defending goes... well,