Messi Not The Only Barcelona Star For United To Worry About
Understandably considering his talent, Lionel Messi has been heavily discussed in the build up to the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United this weekend.
In fact, it has been suggested that the performance of the Argentina international could be the deciding factor on the night. If Messi performs, there is no beating Barcelona according to some.
Manchester United therefore need to focus plenty of attention on working out how to deal with him. Do they man mark? Do they look to put in a heavy challenge on him early on? Do they put a couple of players on him? One thing for sure is that they don’t want to let him run with the ball too much. Sitting back and letting him do his thing is not going to work. Eventually, he will get his way. That’s just how good he is.
However, as much as dealing with Messi is important, Manchester United must be careful not to focus too heavily on him. After all, Barcelona have not forged a reputation as the best team of all time on the basis of one player.
There are a number of world-class players in a Barcelona Kit to think about. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic need to deal with the incredible goal-scoring threat of David Villa. Michael Carrick needs to try and get on the ball as much as Xavi.
Whether Andreas Iniesta is able to thread passes through at will or not is arguably as important to Barcelona as Messi being on form. United need to try and counter the threat of the Spaniard by closing him down as quickly as possible.
Of course Sir Alex Ferguson will be prepared and I’m not for one second suggesting that I can give as good a tactical advice as the Scotsman. However, the point I am making is that United should make sure they don’t get obsessed with Messi. The media can do that. Let everyone else talk about the reigning World footballer of the year. Ferguson’s men shouldn’t fear him and they certainly shouldn’t adopt a ‘Stop Messi, Stop Barcelona’ approach.
Restricting Messi will of course be helpful to Manchester United’s cause, but if it means they release the likes of Villa, Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro to do their thing, they will have plenty more problems to deal with.
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