Edinson Cavani and Gerard Moreno give goal threat – Europa League final battles

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Manchester United face Villarreal in the Europa League final in Gdansk on Wednesday night looking to end the season with silverware.

Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still striving for his first trophy since stepping into the dugout.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key battles between the two sides which could determine who is victorious.

Victor Lindelof v Gerard Moreno

Victor Lindelof is likely to be without regular partner Harry Maguire - who is missing through injury.
Victor Lindelof is likely to be without regular partner Harry Maguire – who is missing through injury. (Naomi Baker/PA)

With United expected to have captain Harry Maguire watching on from the sidelines due to an ankle injury, Lindelof is likely be the more established of Solskjaer’s central defensive partnership. The Sweden international has had his critics and will have to be at his best if he is to keep Moreno quiet. The 29-year-old striker has enjoyed a fine season, hitting 23 goals in LaLiga – a tally bettered only by Lionel Messi – and has been in scintillating form for Villarreal in the Europa League, too, with six goals in his eight starts.

Bruno Fernandes v Etienne Capoue

Etienne Capoue was sent off in Villarreal's semi-final first-leg win over Arsenal.
Etienne Capoue was sent off in Villarreal’s semi-final first-leg win over Arsenal. (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Fernandes has been the linchpin of Solskjaer’s side since joining in January 2020 and if United are to be successful in the final, the Portugal playmaker will have to shine again. Boasting 40 goals in 79 appearances for United, many opponents have found it impossible to keep Fernandes quiet – but those who have succeeded have also got a positive result from the fixture. The job of keeping Fernandes on the periphery in Poland will be a team effort but Capoue – who started the season playing in the Sky Bet Championship with Watford – will have to be at his very best if Villarreal are to shackle United’s key man.

Edinson Cavani v Raul Albiol

Edinson Cavani hit four goals across the semi-final win over Roma.
Edinson Cavani hit four goals across the semi-final win over Roma. (Marco Iacobucci/PA)

At the top end of the pitch there will be a meeting between two wily veterans as Cavani looks to fire United to glory. The 34-year-old has 16 goals this season and is enjoying a purple patch with nine in his last 10 games. Villarreal boss Unai Emery managed Cavani at Paris St Germain and will be hoping he can lean on the even-more experienced Raul Albiol, 35, to use his guile and know-how of winning LaLiga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Cup, a World Cup and European Championship to come out on top against the Uruguayan.

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