Scouting Next Manchester United Opponent: Barcelona Bring Back Memories

Barcelona are coming to Manchester. The last two times these two sides met, it was Blaugrana who won in Rome and London, but the last time they met in a Champions League knockout round, Sir Alex Ferguson’s United got the better of them in a 1-o aggregate win.

What should we know about Barcelona before these two clashes?

What Kind Of Seasons Are Barcelona Having?

Barcelona are having a really good season. Though another slow season for Real Madrid has helped, that does not change the fact another year Barca are winning La Liga without too much trouble. That was the case last season when they clinched the title without losing a game – they lost one after mathematically ensuring the crown – and their season was looked negatively upon due to one (really) bad game in Rome.

This year they are having a lot of fun, they scored over 80 goals in La Liga already, have 11 and 13 points more than Atletico and Real Madrid respectively and their group stage matches and clashes against Lyon in round of 16 have been piece of cake. In Copa Del Rey they are set for clinching another domestic double, as they will meet Valencia in Sevilla.

What About That Guy Messi?

All of this was heavily helped by one player – Lionel Messi. No wonder that is the case, as the Argentine magician is doing his things, but it looks like this season he even stepped up his game even more. How would we then explain the numbers he has made so far this season? He has 33 La Liga goals and 12 assists in 29 appearances this season, which is having a hand in 1.71 goals per 90 minutes!

In Champions League he also has eight goals and three assists, which means this is his ELEVENTH season with 40+ goals in all competitions. And he could play another seven games in the league, five in Champions League and one in Copa Del Rey. Who knows where he will stop? To make things even worse for Man United – or any club in the world, that is – he does so much more than just these numbers. His movements make him a player which does not have a fixed position and often plays as a central midfielder.

It looks like Messi has raised his game at the age of 31 (he will turn 32 this summer) in order to win another Champions League trophy.

What About Barcelona’s Defence?

Barcelona’s defence is their weakest spot and by some distance. Simply, their attack is out of this world – Luis Suarez has 20 goals in La Liga this season, but no one really mentions that – their midfield with Arthur, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic is also at an incredible level and their defence can be leaky.

Their options at right-back are not ideal, Jordi Alba runs for two especially when making late runs forward and Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique are most often playing in central defence. But Barca have conceded 31 league goals in 31 matches, ten more than Atleti and four more than Getafe. Their 4-4 draw against Villarreal showed too many defensive problems, but they will definitely be at a higher level against Man United.

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