Manchester United v Barcelona preview: all you need to know

Man. United v Barcelona preview: all you need to know

Manchester United need to turn around their fortunes against Barcelona as they welcome them for Wednesday’s first leg.

©AFP/Getty Images

  • Solskjær: “We need to step up”
  • Valverde: “We want an away goal”
  • United have 1 win in 8 v Barcelona
  • Barça beat United in 2009, 2011 finals
  • Return leg 16 April; winner meets Liverpool/Porto in semis

Reporter’s view (Matthew Howarth, UEFA.com): United clinched their quarter-final place in remarkable circumstances, and may have to deliver something similarly spectacular at Old Trafford to have a fighting chance of reaching the last four. Barça are in irresistible form but in the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has the counterattacking players to hurt the Liga leaders. Paul Pogba, back from a one-match European suspension, could have a key role.

Possible line-ups

Highlights: Paris 1-3 Man. United

Highlights: Paris 1-3 Man. United

Man. United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelöf, Shaw; Matić, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial
Out: Bailly (concussion), Darmian (unknown), Sánchez (knee), Valencia (fitness)
Doubtful: Herrera (unknown), Matić (unknown), Rashford (ankle)
Misses next match if booked: Herrera, Matić, Shaw, Valencia, Young

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Arthur, Busquets, Rakitić; Messi, Suárez
Out: Rafinha (knee)
Doubtful: Dembélé (hamstring)
Misses next game if booked: Semedo

BRACKET PREDICTOR: WIN FIFA 19

Key battle

Chris Smalling v Lionel Messi: Messi has been in particularly scintillating form of late, and all eyes will be on him at Old Trafford as Barcelona seek an all-important away goal. Smalling, enjoying something of a renaissance this campaign, will face his toughest task; how effectively he subdues Messi is likely to have a large bearing on how this tie goes.

Where to watch

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

Highlights: Barcelona 5-1 Lyon

Highlights: Barcelona 5-1 Lyon

Form guide

Man. United
Last game: Wolves 2-1 Man. United 2-1 (02/04)
Form: LWLLWWWDWL

  • United’s defeat in Wolverhampton was their first league loss after taking the lead since August 2015.

Barcelona
Last game: Barcelona 2-0 Atlético (06/04)
Form: WDWWWWWWWD

  • Messi has scored in eight straight Liga home matches for the first time since December 2016, after rounding off this victory against Atlético.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Man. United manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjær talking ahead of the game

Ole Gunnar Solskjær talking ahead of the game©AFP/Getty Images

Every game is the biggest game. Of course when you get Barcelona, with the quality of their team, we know we need to step up our game.

We know we need to perform to our best levels, which we didn’t against PSG at home. The outcome of the second leg gave players and supporters belief. When we saw it was Barcelona in the draw we were smiling because it was another challenge and we will go head on.

Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona coach

United have a lot more in their locker than just set pieces. They are energised by what they did in the last round [against Paris] and in recent months. We want to get through and we’ll have to be wary not only of their set pieces, but their quality, their fans.

We want to score away from home and we’re going out to win the game. In these situations you can’t speculate. You can’t think exclusively about defending or attacking. You’ve got to combine both. We’re confident. We’ve responded well to difficult moments this season.

Leave a Reply