Who will FINALLY break the deadlock between Man United and Villarreal?

Who will FINALLY break the deadlock between Manchester United and Villarreal? Europa League finalists are yet to score in four previous meetings stretching back to 2005 as they prepare to meet in Gdansk showpiece

  • Manchester United face Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday 
  • The four previous meetings between the two clubs have all ended goalless 
  • But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery’s previous meetings all brought goals 
  • Sportsmail takes a look at the history between the two Europa League finalists

Tonight Manchester United and Villarreal have 90 minutes to do something they have never managed before – score against each other.

The two teams will meet in Gdansk in the Europa League final and it is hoped that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery’s sides will put on more of a show than they have done in the past.

All four of United and Villarrreal’s previous meetings, which came in the Champions League, ended in 0-0 draws.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) will face Unai Emery (R) in the Europa League final on Wednesday

Manchester United’s four previous meetings with Villarreal have all ended in 0-0 draws

Sir Alex Ferguson and Manuel Pellegrini were at the helm for the matches and both had strong squads at their disposal. United had the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, while Diego Forlan lined up against his former side in 2005.

Forlan is not the only man to have played for both clubs. Giuseppe Rossi, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly have all worn the yellow and red shirts at some point in their careers.

With both teams looking to end the season on a high, Sportsmail takes a look at the history between the two clubs – including all four of those goalless encounters. 

Few teams have been able to frustrate United as well as the Spaniards managed in their four Champions League clashes between 2005 and 2008.

The two clubs were drawn in the same group on two occasions, with each home and away match finishing goalless.

The first encounter came in September 2005, with Forlan lining up for Villarreal against his former club.

But the biggest talking point of the game was Wayne Rooney’s red card in the 64th minute. The England forward was booked for a foul on Quique Alvarez but his reaction earned him a second yellow card.

Wayne Rooney was sent off in the first meeting between the clubs in September 2005

Rooney sarcastically applauded in the face of referee Kim Milton Nielsen, who famously sent off David Beckham in the 1998 World Cup, after his first yellow card and the forward’s actions saw him earn another booking.

Games between the two clubs have always been feisty, with a total of 21 yellow cards shown across the four matches – with an average of five bookings a game.

The return fixture at Old Trafford in November 2005 was overshadowed by the fall out following Roy Keane’s departure.

Keane had left United by mutual consent four days earlier following the breakdown of his relationship with Ferguson.

But supporters made their views on the situation clear by chanting the Irishman’s name as the manager walked down the touchline.

Despite United’s domination of possession, Villarreal limited them to just two shots on target as they put in a resilient display.

The LaLiga side employed similar tactics when they returned to Manchester for another group game in September 2008.

United often found themselves frustrated by the resilient LaLiga side, who defended well

This time Ferguson’s side managed 20 shots on goal and six on target, but again found themselves frustrated as Diego Lopez made several vital saves for the away side.

United felt they should have had a penalty when Ji-Sung Park was sent tumbling by Joan Capdevila, but German referee Wolfgang Stark refused to point to the spot.

A young Jonny Evans almost scored a late winner but saw his header agonisingly come back off the post. 

The last match between the two sides saw them both progress from their Champions League group. 

Former Red Devil Giuseppe Rossi started for Villarreal, while ex-Arsenal man Robert Pires also lined up against Ferguson’s side.  

A low-key affair suddenly came to life in the final 10 minutes when Capdevila was sent off for a late tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo, much to the anger of the home fans.

But United were able to see out the game to ensure their progression to the knockouts.  

Joan Capdevila was sent off for a late tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo in the last game in 2008

The men who played for both clubs

Diego Forlan  

(Manchester United 2002-2004), (Villarreal 2004-2007) 

He might not have reached the expectations that were set when he was signed for  £6.9million, but Forlan is still fondly remembered at Old Trafford.

It took the striker 24 games to get his first goal, a penalty against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League, and a further eight to get his first in open play.

Forlan went on to score a total of 17 goals in 97 games, including two against Liverpool at Anfield. He also picked up a Premier League winner’s medal for the 2002-2003 season as well as an FA Cup and Community Shield in the following campaign.

The Uruguayan’s career went on an upward trajectory after leaving United in 2004. He scored 58 goals in 121 games for Villarreal before joining Atletico Madrid, where he netted 96 times in 198 appearances. He also won the Europa League and Super Cup in his four-year spell.

The forward was then the top scorer at the 2010 World Cup and picked up the Golden Ball award for best player.

Diego Forlan left United to join Villarreal in 2007 after scoring 17 goals for the Red Devils

Giuseppe Rossi

(Manchester United 2004-2007), (Villarreal 2007-2013)

The Italian signed for United at the age of 17 in 2005 but made just 14 first-team appearances during his three years at the club.

He was sent out on loan to Newcastle in 2006 and Parma in 2007 before he was sold to Villarreal for a fee of around £6.5m.

The forward scored 82 goals in 191 appearances for the LaLiga side but his efforts were not enough to see the club win a trophy before he joined Fiorentina in 2013. 

Giuseppe Rossi signed for United at the age of 17 in 2004 but joined Villarreal in 2007

Antonio Valencia 

(Villarreal 2005-2008), (Manchester United 2009-2019)

Antonio Valencia only managed two appearances for Villarreal and was out on loan when the Spaniards faced the Red Devils between 2005 and 2008.

His second loan saw him join Wigan, who he signed for permanently in 2008, before United paid around £16m for him in 2009.

The Ecuador international spent 10 years at Old Trafford, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League.

The right back scored 25 goals in 339 appearances for the Red Devils. 

Antonio Valencia only played twice for Villarreal but won nine trophies at OId Trafford 

Eric Bailly 

(Villarreal 2015-2016), (Manchester United 2016-present)

Eric Bailly became Jose Mourinho’s first signing as United boss when he joined for a fee of £30m in 2016.

The defender had only spent 18 months with Villarreal after joining them from Espanyol, but clearly has fond memories from his time at the club.

‘It is special. The team made me a better player,’ he told United’s official club website ahead of Wednesday’s final.  

‘I played in this team. They beat Arsenal, we need to know that. They’re a good team and I played there before but now my team is United. Now, I come to fight for my team to win the final.’

Harry Maguire’s injury could see the centre back start against his former club.

Eric Bailly played for Villarreal from 2015 to 2016 before he was signed by Jose Mourinho

Emery v Solskjaer record 

Emery and Solskjaer have come up against each other on five occasions in their managerial careers.

Their first meeting came when Emery was at Sevilla, while Solskjaer was manager of Molde.

The two teams met in the last 32 of the Europa League in 2016, which Sevilla went on to win by beating Liverpool in the final.

The Spaniards won the first leg 3-0 but Solskjaer’s Molde claimed a 1-0 victory in the return match in Norway.

Emery and Solskjaer have met on five previous occasions, with both managers picking up two wins and a draw

The pair then met in England for the first time in January 2019. Solskjaer guided United to a 3-1 victory in the fourth round of the FA Cup but Emery enacted revenge when the Gunners beat United 2-0 in the Premier League fixture at the Emirates two months later.

Their last meeting was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in September 2019, with Emery later sacked by the Gunners in November.  

Unlike United and Villarreal’s previous fixtures, Solskjaer and Emery’s clashes have averaged 2.5 goals per game. 

That is hopefully a good omen ahead of Wednesday’s final as both sides look to finally break the deadlock.




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