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Football Manager Tactics for the Europa League final

Manchester United will face Villarreal in the 2021 UEFA Europa League final at the Stadion Miejski in Gdansk.

The English Premier League side are looking to lift the trophy for the second time in their history, having first won it four years ago. Villarreal will be playing in their first final.

This will be the 10th consecutive season in which either a Premier League or La Liga team has won the competition, with Spanish sides winning six during that run.

Manchester United are the bookmakers’ favourites, 17/20 to win in 90 minutes with William Hill and 7/15 to win the trophy, which includes extra-time and penalties. The William Hill guides on explain how the latter works as well as other useful information such as payment options.

We recreated this final on FM21 as Manchester United, winning 3-1. Here’s the team and tactics we used to lift the trophy:

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

David de Gea started both legs of the quarter-finals and semi-finals and despite losing his place to Dean Henderson in the final weeks of the Premier League season, we expect the Spaniard to start the Europa League final. He is the best United goalkeeper on Football Manager.

Right-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

There’s no competition to Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the starting right-back role on the game and there won’t be any for Wednesday night either. Solid defensively but lacking in the final third when it comes to decision-making and crossing.

Centre-back: Harry Maguire

An excellent defender on the game but prone to errors in real life, Harry Maguire was our first-choice centre-back as he will be for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Villarreal. Does lack pace which is not ideal when Samuel Chukwueze cuts inside.

Centre-back: Victor Lindelof

Close decision between the Swede and Eric Bailly, we went with Victor Lindelof as he’ll be partnering Maguire in real life too. Arguably the weakest position for Manchester United on Football Manager.

Left-back: Alex Telles

One of last summer’s signings, Alex Telles is better than Luke Shaw on the game so got the nod ahead of the England international for us. Something we don’t see happening in real life. The Brazilian left-back has good pace and an excellent cross when going forward.

Defensive Midfielder: Donny van de Beek

Another of the Red Devils’ summer signings went straight into our starting XI. Donny van de Beek is more of a possession man here or deep lying playmaker as he has good passing and vision, though not great defensive abilities.

Defensive Midfielder: Paul Pogba

Even though Paul Pogba hasn’t hit the heights at Manchester United that he did at Juventus and does for France, he is arguably Manchester United’s best player on FM. Like van de Beek next to him, not the best defensively, but even better going forward. Some top stats in technique, passing, flair, vision and dribbling helped start our attacks from our own half on the game.

Right Winger: Mason Greenwood

Manchester United are a bit weak down the right-hand side at the start of the game but Mason Greenwood is arguably the best for this role and only gets better as the game goes on. The teenager has also had a very good season in real life and should start the final too.

Attacking Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes’ excellent work rate, flair and passing make him a good player in the number 10 role, in both real life and on the game. He can play a little further back if need be but you’ll get the best out of the superstar in this role.

Left Winger: Marcus Rashford

His excellent speed and dribbling make him a good threat as both left forward or striker, but we gave Marcus Rashford the former role, ahead of Anthony Martial. He got the man of the match award in our game by scoring two goals.

Striker: Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan has got better and better as the season has gone in real life and still has excellent attributes in the game. Edison Cavani started for us and may well start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Wednesday night too.


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