Barcelona vs Manchester United – Match Preview & Prediction

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It is time for the remake of the UEFA Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011. Barcelona and Manchester United may be far from that greatest stage of them all, all the way in a different competition, but this still feels like a huge encounter for not only both sides, but the entire European football. Xavi Hernandez’s Barcelona are comfortably sitting atop of the La Liga standings, while this Man United side is much better than it has been in recent years, growing since the arrival of Erik Ten Hag. Here is what you need to know ahead of the first leg of the Europa League knockout round play-offs.

Team News

Barcelona will not have as many problems with their starting lineup as Manchester United. Although they will be without two important players in Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Busquets due to hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, there will not be other players who will have to miss the game. Gavi and Pedri are expected in the starting lineup, with Robert Lewandowski up top and Rafinha on the right flank. We could see Frenkie de Jong ahead of Franck Kessie and Jordi Alba could be back in the team ahead of Alejandro Balde.

As for Man United, there is no shortage of players who will not play. Three midfielders are out – Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen from before due to their knee and ankle injuries respectively, while Scott McTominay still has a muscle problem. Antony’s leg is not well and will not feature either, while Anthony Martial is still sidelined due to his hip injury. Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer will not be able to play due to suspension, but the good thing is Casemiro will be back in the fold after missing out on the two Leeds matches due to the red card he recently earned.

Form Guide

The last time Barcelona had not won a match, it was still 2022. It was on the last day of last year that they drew 1-1 against Espanyol. Sure, in between, there was a 4-3 win against lower-league side Intercity in the Copa del Rey after extra-time. And there was also the 2-2 draw against Real Betis in the semifinal of the Spanish Supercup which Barca won on penalties afterwards. But there were also a 3-1 win against Real Madrid in the final, and wins against Real Sociedad, Girona, Betis again, Sevilla and then Villarreal this past weekend. In a word, Barcelona are in brilliant form and it is clear this will be a big challenge for United.

But Man United are in good form themselves too. Yes, there was the 2-2 draw against Leeds last week which was somewhat ammended with the 2-0 win against the same team last weekend, but nevertheless, United are in a great moment right now. Sitting in third place in the Premier League standings, quite comfortable in their race for the Champions League qualification, the Devils are also in the League Cup final, which is set to be played just three days after the second leg against Barcelona. It seems, looking at the way these two teams are playing recently, we could be in for an amazing match at Camp Nou.

Predicted Outcome

Considering everything, it is really hard to guess which way this game will go. Anything is possible, but for the Red Devils any result in which they do not lose will be great. That is why we predict Barcelona and Manchester United will get a 1-1 draw, before the entire tie gets resolved at Old Trafford next Thursday.

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