So Manchester United will begin life after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Tuesday night with a pivotal Champions League fixture against Villarreal. The Norwegian boss was sacked by the club on Sunday morning following Saturday’s humbling defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Watford at Vicarage Road.
That victory leaves United having won just two of their last eight games and caretaker boss Michael Carrick will now step into the role looking for three vital Champions League points. As things stand, the Red Devils are top of Group F, but with only two points separating them from third place Atalanta, the group is far from finished yet.
Sandwiched between United and the Italians of Atalanta are Villarreal, who have enjoyed a decent campaign so far and, like their Tuesday night opponents, sit on seven points at this stage. They have however, picked up six of those points in back-to-back matches against Young Boys, who are currently bottom of the group, despite beating United in their opening game.
In La Liga, Submarino Amarillo have struggled for any consistency so far this term, winning just one of their opening 13 matches in the Spanish top tier. An away draw with Celta Vigo this weekend wasn’t a terrible result, but they did lead in the game, as they had in the reverse of this fixture at Old Trafford before goals from Alex Telles and Cristiano Ronaldo turn the result on it’s head.
Villarreal vs Man Utd: Match Stats
Manchester United have failed to win either of their away games in the Champions League this season, and they also lost their last two away fixtures in this competition last season. Although they’ve since changed manager, United’s confidence must be low following Saturday’s embarrassing defeat to Watford alongside recent losses to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, so we can’t see them turning the form book on it’s head here.
Of the players to have featured more than 10 times in La Liga this season, only Karim Benzema has averaged more shots per 90 minutes than Arnaut Danjuma’s 4.08 for Villarreal. The Dutchman has been relatively accurate with that shooting too, scoring five times in the league plus a further two in the UCL, so we’re backing him for a goal at any time here.
22 November 2005 – Manchester United 0-0 Villarreal – UEFA Champions League
17 September 2008 – Manchester United 0-0 Villarreal – UEFA Champions League
25 November 2008 – Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United – UEFA Champions League
26 May 2021 – Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United – UEFA Europa League
29 September 2021 – Manchester United 2-1 Villarreal – UEFA Champions League
Remarkably, five of the previous six matches between these two sides have ended in draws after 90 minutes, with four in the Champions League being goalless. Villarreal did get the better of the Red Devils in a penalty shoot-out in last year’s Europa League final, but United came from a goal behind to beat Submarino Amarillo in the reverse of this fixture back in September.