Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Manchester United Vs Barcelona Preview: Team News, Form Finder, Key Men & Prediction

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The Theatre of Dreams would be rocking tonight with Barcelona set to face off against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League. The hosts boast an unbeaten record against the side from the Primera Division at their home turf, but their last meeting was way down the memory lane when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of proceedings.

Nearly everything has changed at Manchester United since the sides last met. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be having sleepless nights in the build-up to this fixture as this would be the toughest test of his managerial career thus far. 

Barcelona should be really motivated to win the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy having not even made it to the semi-finals in the past three seasons. It will be an uphill task for the hosts to keep the threat that Barcelona pose at bay for over 180 minutes of football. 

On their road to the quarterfinals, Manchester United beat Paris Saint Germain in the Round of 16. The Red Devils heroically overturned a two-goal deficit at the Parisians den in the dying moments of the clash. Their heroics have been well rewarded by fate with a chance at stopping the unstoppable force in Lionel Messi & Co.

Barcelona, on the other hand, were drawn against Lyon and left the drama for the home leg. The game at Camp Nou was a one-sided affair as Ernesto Valverde’s men put five past Genesio’s men, with only a goal in return from Lucas Tousart.  

Team News

Neither of the sides are facing any suspension worries ahead of this eagerly anticipated UEFA Champions clash. Paul Pogba has served his one-game suspension and would be back in the fold for this fixture.

However, Manchester United do have a few injury concerns for this encounter with a handful of names missing out. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be without the services of Alexis Sanchez, Eric Baily and Antonio Valencia. Marcos Rashford and Ander Herrera were also missing from United’s recent defeat against Wolves and are a doubt for this fixture. 

To put things into perspective for the travelling side, Barcelona have a nearly complete squad to chose from except the duo of Thomas Vermaelen and Rafinha. Ousmane Dembele has been missing from the fold for some time now but is expected to be fully fit for this European tie.

Form Finder

Manchester United have won only two of their last five fixtures, losing thrice in the remaining games. Two of their defeats in the three have been to Wolves, once in the cup and then in the league. Their two victories being against Paris Saint Germain and Watford. 

Barcelona, on the contrary, have a spotless record on their road to this quarter-final draw. The Blaugrana have won four of their last five encounters with one draw against Villareal. Going by the figures, Ernesto Valverde’s men do have the upper hand heading into this fixture, but it would be too harsh to rule out a determined Manchester United side.

Key Players

Paul Pogba would be Manchester United’s go-to player for this two-legged fixture. The World Cup winner would need to summon the form he showcased at the turn of the year if the Red Devils are to make an impact on this tie. He has not been delivering those performances off-late, and its high time he gets back to his best. 

The less spoken about Lionel Messi, the better. After all, what can you say about this Argentine maestro? The little genius has been in top form recently, with 13 goals and four assists in the last ten games.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Barcelona

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