Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world if not the best. They have a lot of quality players in their ranks and can boast of a very rich history ladened with all sorts of titles and accolades.
The Catalan club are in search of their first UEFA Champions League crown since 2015 and having won the Spanish double in more than one occasion and are on course to repeat it again, the CL is the title the club wants more this term.
They managed to pull a 1-0 win against Man United in the first leg of their quarter final tie at Old Trafford and will be looking to finish up the job at Camp Nou. Here are five reasons why we think Man United stand no chance of getting a passage to the semifinal.
1. BARCELONA HAVE THE ADVANTAGE
Man United are a very good team, and they didn’t play very bad in the first leg, however, they failed to register a shot on target and allowed Barca get a 1-0 win in their own ground.
Now, they go to Camp Nou knowing they will only qualify if they win, and also scoring two goals.
This is a very difficult task as they couldn’t even in their own ground with their own fans supporting them.
Although it is true Man United have the firepower up front to do the job, it’s very unlikely it will happen as Barcelona under Ernesto Valverde have grown to become a very good team defensively and they also will have more possession of the ball, limiting Man United in creating chances.
2. THIS TIME, BARCA GOT THE REST
For the first leg, Man United got an 8-day rest compared to Barca’s four but couldn’t capitalize on this advantage and allowed Barca get a win. Now, the Catalan giants featured a young side in the team’s 0-0 draw vs Huesca on Saturday with the likes of Gerard Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Semedo, Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur, Messi, Coot imho and Suarez getting rests meaning they’ll be fresh for the tie.
Meanwhile, Man United fought hard to get a 2-1 win over West Ham as they fight for top four spot, and aside that, they’ll have to travel from Manchester to Barcelona, bringing in the possibility of fatigue. This is a plus for Barcelona as they will seek to exploit the weaknesses of the English side.
3. CAMP NOU CAN BE HELL
Yes, FC Barcelona rarely slip up in front of their fans and most definitely not in the Champions League. They always seem to get at least a draw in all their home games and that will be enough to see them through to the semis on this occasion.
This is so because the Camp Nou is a special ground, it is massive and seems much more bigger than the average European stadium. Also, Barcelona will have over 90000 fans cheering their names in the tie and this will boost their minds whilst bringing the Morales of the Man United players to the barest minimum.
It won’t be easy for Man United and their players will have to gather all the composure they can get to not get battered at the Camp Nou.
4. BARCELONA CAN FOCUS ON THE CL
Barcelona are definitely more interested in winning the Champions League this season than any other competition, it’s their priority, rightly so because they’ve crashed out of the qurterfinals in the last four editions. They have reached the Copa del Rey final and are well at the top of La Liga, this means they can focus on the Champions League as the competition and workload from other competitions have been reduced.
This means the coach can give some top players rests, and they can put their heart and soul in the top tier European competition. The fact that they desire this trophy so much means they will do all they can to knock Man United out. They mean business this time and it won’t be easy for the visitors.
5. LIONEL MESSI IS HUNGRY
He’s been the best player so far this season and he stated in the beginning of the season that he wants the CL trophy more than anything else this season.
Messi was almost-caged by a sound Man United defence in the first leg although he provided the assist for Suarez that led to Barcelona’s lone goal.
Now, Man United will have to drop a similar defensive masterclass to stop him at Camp Nou with the aim of scoring a goal or two, this will be very difficult to pull.
And Lionel Messi has a fantastic record against English sides in the CL having banged 22 goals against Premier League teams in the competiton. He’ll be a crucial figure in the tie and should he play at his best, Man United stand no chance of getting a result.