Manchester United To Face Barcelona – What You Need To Know

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Manchester United did not get the necessary two-goal difference win over Real Sociedad last Thursday, which meant Erik Ten Hag’s side ended up in second place in their Europa League group. The implications of that were that United were pushed into a knockout playoff round, a two-legged match against a third-placed side from the Champions League. This round will determine which eight sides will join the eight group winners in the round of 16.

The bad news for United are that the Monday draw at UEFA headquarters put the Red Devils in the same tie against Barcelona, meaning we will see two more matches between the two iconic European sides. Although many fans will point out to Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011, in which Barcelona triumphed both times, this time around the two clubs are in a far worse situation. United have been on a decline for a long time, far away from winning trophies, while it seems post-Lionel Messi Barca is heading towards a similar path. But what do we need to know ahead of the matches against Barcelona?

What Was The Outcome Of The Draw?

Manchester United were drawn to play Barcelona. Having in mind the Spanish side joined from Champions League, they will be the hosts in the first match, giving the Devils home advantage in the second leg. The matches will be played on 16 and 23 February 2023. Here are all the remaning ties:

Juventus v Nantes
Sporting v Midtjylland
Shakhtar v Rennes
Ajax v Union Berlin
Bayer Leverkusen v Monaco
Sevilla v PSV Eindhoven
Salzburg v Roma

How Did Barcelona Get Here?

This is the second season for Barcelona without Lionel Messi and it is also their second season in a row in which they failed to get out of the Champions League group. They did get a tough draw, having to face Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen. In the end, the poor results against Inter proved to be the main reason while Xavi Hernandez’s side crashed out of the elite European competition. A 3-3 draw at Camp Nou and a 1-0 loss at San Siro were crucial in another poor Champions League campaign. With two losses against Bayern, it meant Barca ended the group phase with only two wins, both against Viktoria.

How Are Barca Doing Domestically?

In La Liga, however, things are going much, much better for Xavi’s side. In the opening 13 rounds, they have 11 wins, one draw and one loss. They were defeated 3-1 by Real Madrid, while they drew against Rayo Vallecano 0-0, the team which won against Real on Monday night, giving Barca the top spot in the standings once again. Among the sides they defeated, there are teams like Real Sociedad (4-1), Sevilla (3-0), Villarreal (3-0), Athletic Bilbao (4-0) and Valencia (1-0). Clearly, Robert Lewandowski will be by far the greatest threat Man United should think about. The Polish striker already has 18 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions this season. Barca are even somewhat too reliant on his goals, considering Ferran Torres and Ousmane Dembele are next in the goalscoring list, with five goals each. Those matches in February could get really interesting…

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