May 13, 2021

Man Utd


Supercomputer predicts Manchester United’s chances of winning Europa League

3 min read

One half of Manchester is already through to a European semi-final this season and the red half has the chance to join them tonight.

Riyad Mahrez’s penalty and Phil Foden’s strike guided Manchester City to a 4-2 aggregate victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last night.

Now, 24 hours later, it’s time for Manchester United to step up to the plate when they welcome Granada to Old Trafford in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes saw United win the first leg 2-0 in Spain last week.

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That means United are firmly in the driving seat with two away goals in the bank ahead of the return leg, but what are their chances of overall success in the competition?

We took a look at the FiveThirtyEight supercomputer to find out.

At the midway stage of all four quarter-final ties, there is plenty to play for across the board, with United the only team currently holding a two-goal buffer ahead of tonight’s second legs.

That’s reflected in their data-based prediction of progressing and, ultimately, winning the Europa League.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his side have a greater than 99% chance of progressing to the next round, while they also boast a 67% chance of reaching the showpiece.

United are also clear favourites, at 43%, to win the whole competition, with the final scheduled to take place at the Gdansk Stadium in Poland on Wednesday, May 26.

Of course, due to travel restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, logistics of the event may be subject to change.

La Liga side Villarreal are, meanwhile, currently tipped to join United in the showpiece.

Having edged out Dinamo Zagreb with a 1-0 away goal verdict during the first leg in Croatia, they return to Spain tonight with a 46% chance of reaching the final and a 19 % likelihood of going all the way.

Of course, that prediction is shaped somewhat by the make-up of the Europa League draw.

Indeed, should they progress at the expense of Granada tonight, United are due to meet either Ajax or Roma in the semi-finals, with those sides given a 9 and 8% chance, respectively, of getting their hands on the trophy.

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That means fellow Premier League side Arsenal (16%) are possible final opponents, too.

Locked at 1-1 with Slavia Prague, the Gunners have a 36% shot of heading to Gdansk, at least according to FiveThirtyEight’s models.

Granada (>1%), Zagreb (2%) and Slavia (4%) are seen as rank outsiders for the competition.

How does the supercomputer work?

FiveThirtyEight uses SPI ratings, which have an attacking and defensive component in order to determine which team is going to win a specific game.

This is then all built up to see how many points each side will accumulate for when the season ends.

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