What Manchester United’s final Europa League defeat means for Chelsea in the Champions League draw
Manchester United wasted the opportunity to get their hands on their first trophy under coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last night, losing the UEFA Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties.
After falling behind Gerard Moreno’s 30th goal of the campaign in the first half, United tied for just ten minutes from the second 45 thanks to Edinson Cavani.
After the Uruguayan brought United up to level, all indicators suggested the Old Trafford club would kick off and get the job done. However, Villarreal, led by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, made life difficult for them, forcing the fight to a shootout before taking the lead, winning 11-10 on kicks.
It was a remarkable shootout that only ended when Villarreal striker Geronimo Rulli beat David de Gea with the final penalty.
Had United not finished in the Premier League’s top four this season, the loss to Villarreal could have been all the more painful as it would have seen them missing out on a UEFA Champions League spot next season. Lucky for them, however, they finished a respectable second in the top flight.
Despite this, however, United missed the opportunity to move into Pot 1 when the group stage draw takes place in August. This means Villarreal will now join the Pot 1 seeds, namely Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan Manchester City, Lille and Sporting Lisbon.
United will have to settle for a place in Pot 2 alongside their big rivals Liverpool, Spanish trio Barcelona, ââReal Madrid and Sevilla, Italian side Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain de France.
But there is still a place in Pot 2 to be decided, with this weekend’s Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea having a huge say.
If City win, Chelsea will join Liverpool and Manchester United in Pot 2, meaning German giants Borussia Dortmund could be forced into Pot 3 and potentially face Thomas Tuchel’s side in the group stage. Russian formation Zenit St Petersburg would jump into pot 1.
But if the Blues win in Portugal and return to England with the trophy in their carry-on, they’ll jump into Pot 1 alongside City, meaning Dortmund would become the eighth and final team in Pot 2, which again means Tuchel. could face his old club.
Along with a Saturday night win that propels Chelsea into Pot 1, it would also see them play in the UEFA Super Cup final in August against Villarreal.
At the moment, the competition is expected to take place in Northern Ireland, but a possible passage to Turkey would be possible.