Here’s How United Can Beat Barcelona At Wembley
I never had the privilege of seeing the famous Madrid team in the 60s or the Dutch side in the 70s or the Milan and Liverpool sides in the 80s, but certainly in my lifetime, Barcelona are the greatest side I have ever seen. The fact that at least 7 of their starting 11 make […]
I never had the privilege of seeing the famous Madrid team in the 60s or the Dutch side in the 70s or the Milan and Liverpool sides in the 80s, but certainly in my lifetime, Barcelona are the greatest side I have ever seen.
The fact that at least 7 of their starting 11 make up the starting side for the Spanish national team is bound to help, and we all know how good the Spain team is, they seem to have an almost telepathic understanding of each other. All the talk ahead of the Champions League final has been about how it is almost a foregone conclusion; my view is that it is far from it. Here is how United can win the trophy.
Van der Sar – Undisputed number 1.
Rafael – His twin brother Fabio has been excellent this season whilst filling in, but is predominantly left-sided. Rafael has been out through injury but should be fully fit by the end of May and gets my nod over O’Shea because he can cope with the pace of Villa/Messi/Pedro. He is also tenacious enough to nick the ball back and counter.
Ferdinand – United are a much better side with him in it. Will keep the ball simple and sweep up anything that comes through. Has the pace and physical presence to deal with anything played in behind.
Vidic (captain) – Vidic will be given the task of man-marking David Villa or Lionel Messi depending on who plays through the middle. Must put in some strong early challenges and be aware of Pedro cutting inside.
Evra – Hasn’t been the best of seasons for the French international and he will have to be on his toes against Pedro. He needs to provide cover for Vidic and attack at every opportunity to move Busquets away from the middle of the mark (allowing Rooney the space).
Carrick – For me, has had a very good second half to the season, does a lot of good work that goes un-noticed and may be asked to pick up Messi. Reads the game extremely well and always has a killer pass at his disposal. By sitting in-front of the back four, United can crowd the area Messi likes to operate in.
Fletcher/Giggs – It all depends how quickly Fletcher can get back to match sharpness after a long period out. The other problem Sir Alex has is Fletcher is more suited to the role that needs to be played against Barcelona. The midfield two will be asked to get in and amongst Xavi and Iniesta and stop them playing. That isn’t really Giggs’ strength but he has been so magnificent this season with numerous assists how can he possibly be left out? Playing the Welsh wizard would also allow Park and Giggs’ to interchange positions at any point during play.
Valencia – Oh how United have missed him this season, has come back into the side like he has never been away. His pace and power down the right hand side will be a real threat and can also provide the defensive cover against the full back, boundless energy and a real threat going forward.
Rooney – Has hit form at just the right time and will drop into the space between the defence and the midfield. This will allow the wide men more space and allow the central midfielders to squeeze the ball higher up the park.
Park/Nani – Another extremely difficult decision, Park undoubtedly provides better defensive cover and energy around the park, but Nani provides a much stronger attacking threat and real danger to Barcelona. It depends whether Sir Alex wants to remain cautious in the early stages before introducing Nani later on. He sees Park as truly the man for the big occasion so I can see him getting the nod.
Hernandez – He makes the team purely on his goal threat and pace, Puyol and Pique will not relish someone who likes to run in-behind and he will have good service with Rooney just behind him.
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