Barcelona vs Man Utd: Injury News, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
In a rematch of the final two years ago, Manchester United head to Wembley to take on Barcelona in the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final.
On top of having the three of the last four Champions League titles between them, United and Barcelona, based on records and performances, have been the two best clubs in European football this season.
Barcelona are seen as one of the greatest sides ever assembled and are the clear favorites because of that, but all that does is set the stage for the Reds to knock another team off their perch.
In similar fashion, United and Barcelona’s dominance is not only in Europe, because both of them finished their domestic seasons as the champions of the Barclays Premier League and La Liga, respectively. The Catalans overcame a firm challenge from Real Madrid to secure their fourth in the last sixth seasons. Meanwhile, United had to stave off competition from four teams and eventually triumphed to their fourth title in the last five seasons.
Although Barcelona are the unequivocal predetermined winner of this match, United have registered the best record in the Champions League this season – and that was not by mistake, either.
To many people’s amazement, the Reds have been the only team that has gone through Champions League season and did not lose any of their 12 matches. What is even more impressive is that United did not give up a goal away from Old Trafford in any of their six matches – which secured five victories on the road.
A lot of pundits are failing to recognize that Barcelona have not been perfect in their route to Wembley – having lost once and drew another match in the knockout rounds. The Catalans have faced Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid and, matches away from the Nou Camp, they have not been impressive, which will bode well for United’s confidence.
Barcelona have a squad filled of international superstars from most Spain, Brazil and Argentina and each of these players have tasted team success on multiple levels. There is not anything that can be said about any of their players that has been mentioned before, so there should not going to be an element of surprise for Sir Alex Ferguson to deal with.
He, like everyone, knows that Lionel Messi is there go-to guy and special attention needs to be paid to him, because he has scored an astonishing 52 goals this season – and a Champions League-leading 11 in 12 matches. Even though he has the ability to beat multiple players with his tight control and blistering quickness, the Barca No. 10 has players all around him that make his life that much easier.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez and Sergio Busquets, who is very lucky to be playing after his racial proposition, are some of the best attacking midfielders in the world, not just Europe, so the United midfielders need to be weary of them all match long. Barcelona also have a couple of defensive-minded midfielders, Javier Mascherano and Seydou Keita, who will be protecting against the attacking threat that Reds will have.
Even though they are filled with a team of very experienced, capable players, L’equip blaugrana, meaning the team in English, do have some vulnerability in their team. When a team is set out to attack, like Barcelona is, it could leave gaps at the back for teams to exploit – especially with Daniel Alves at right-back. In La Liga, Barca was, by a country mile, the most disciplined defensive team by only giving up 21 goals, but as people witnessed Arsenal do, they are quite susceptible against a counterattack, which is really United’s forte.
The best bit of news has to be that Sir Alex has a fully-fit squad, but that also means that he has a daunting assignment of having to pick and choose his squad. This tough task will leave some players with bad feeling in their mouth of not having the chance to play their part in the final.
The speculation leading up to the match is that Ferguson will stick with the line-up that expertly saw off Olympique de Marseille, Chelsea and Schalke 04, which, in all honesty, gives the formation the most versatility – and that will give them their best chance of overcoming the odds.
A lot of people would be very foolish to rule out Manchester United to, what they say, pull off an upset of Barcelona, because they are very competent club that can beat any team on any given day.
E. van der Sar; Fabio, R. Ferdinand, N. Vidic, P. Evra; A. Valencia, M. Carrick, R. Giggs, J. S. Park; W. Rooney, J. Hernandez
Barcelona 1 Manchester United 2
Submitted by The United Religion
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