Manchester United are the favorites to win their Europa League clash against Villarreal tonight – both with the bookies and according to a supercomputer.
In pursuit of their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and since 2017 – United are preparing to shake horns with Unai Emery and his brave side in the Polish city of Gdansk.
United captain Harry Maguire is almost certain to miss the final due to injury.
He sustained ankle ligament damage during a challenge with Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi earlier this month and did not train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday afternoon.
Maguire and his influence will be sorely missed on the pitch, but his absence hasn’t drastically changed United’s dreams of standing out from La Liga opposition for silverware.
According to famous supercomputer FiveThirtyEight, Solskjaer’s men have a 60% chance of winning the competition they last won under Jose Mourinho four years ago – and that, of course, leaves Villarreal with a chance of 40. % of winning their first major trophy. .
Former Arsenal manager Emery does have a Europa League pedigree, however, having guided former Sevilla club to final victories in three consecutive seasons between 2014 and 2016.
As a comparison to the supercomputer, SkyBet bookmakers are currently offering odds of 4/5 for United to take the trophy, while Villarreal is priced at 18/5. A draw, which would take the final to extra time and maybe even penalties, is 12/5.
How does the supercomputer work?
FiveThirtyEight uses SPI Rankings, which have an offensive and defensive component to determine which team will win a specific match. All of this is then built to see how many points each side will accumulate for the end of the season – with the same process adopted for cup competitions.