Champions League football returns for FC Barcelona and Manchester United on Wednesday night when both teams meet each other in the first left of the quarterfinals in a ‘tie of the heavyweights’. FC Barcelona are favourites to scoop the victory, rightly so because the Catalan giants are always favourites to win virtually every game and they’re also among the favourites to win every title. This is due to their wonderful consistency throughout the season and also the possession of extremely good professionals in their ranks, from Lionel Messi, to Luis Suarez to the Piques, the Rakitics and Sergio Busquets. The odds are well on Barcelona to get the win. We give you give reasons why there won’t be a shocker and Barcelona will get the win.
1. BARCELONA ARE THE BETTER TEAM
Yes. They obviously are. Although it is not exactly a golden ticket for the better team to progress but in this case it is very glaring that Barcelona possess a lot more quality in their squad compared to the Reds. They murder Man United in almost all positions in a player-vs-player comparison and also looking from the team-play perspective. Also, the Barcelona players have more experience in this situation and competition so the odds swing in their favour. Barcelona are more tactically sound and balanced in both defense and attack with their transition fast and smooth enough to break any team down. As a team, they are better; individually, they are better.
2. THE SECOND LEG IS AT CAMP NOU
This may look basic, but if you’ve been following FC Barcelona for quite some time now it’s very noticeable that they have a better record in knockout games when they play the second leg away. In their last eight quarterfinal ties they’ve played away first they progressed in six, hence, this is a huge advantage for them. It definitely won’t be easy for them at Old Trafford and it’s very possible Man United get a good result in England but the return leg in Catalunya will be hell for Solskjear’s men. Barca will have a chance to rest players at the weekend against Huesca and will have 90,000 fans cheering for them in their vet large Stadium, this will be a nightmare for the Man United players most of which have little or no experience in such fixture.
3. THE MIDFIELD BATTLE
FC Barcelona will definitely win the midfield against Manchester United. They have a balanced midfield with anchor man Sergio Busquets in defensive midfield role and controller Arthur holding onto possession and resisting press while Rakitic function as a box-to-box. Arturo Vidal could also feature, doing the tackling and destroying and except these guys have a bad day, the Manchester United midfield will not be able to cope. With the midfield won, Barca will have extra chances of utilising their main threat in Lionel Messi. Basically, Manchester United will have to be on god-mode to contain this.
4. THE UCL IS BARCELONA’S MAIN PRIORITY
Barcelona have been champions of La Liga in 7 of the last ten seasons and are basically winning this year’s edition as they’re comfortably top of the table leading second place Atletico Madrid with 11 points. They’re also on course to win their fifth consecutive Copa del Rey title. Both trophies seem to not be a problem for them to win, but the Champions League they haven’t won since 2015 and have watched their arch rivals Real Madrid won the title on three consecutive occasions. This is why Barca have put the CL as top in their priority list, they will do anything to gain the crown and won’t let Manchester United get past through them by any means. Their hunger and aim will prove deadly for the English side.
This doesn’t need much explanation. Lionel Messi alone gives any team he plays for an upper hand and he will be very essential in Barca’s goal to win not just this game but also the title. The Argentine is 31 but isn’t slowing down a bit as he’s already netted 43 times this season whilst providing 18 assists, more than any other player by far. Messi will be a menace for the Manchester United defence, he’s very dangerous, he can score, can dribble and can create from basically all angles. Solskjear will have to devise a very fantastic plan to curb his menace if they’re to take anything away from this game and that is very difficult. Messi, who has more CL goals vs English teams than anyone else, is very hard to contain and he can’t be stopped by one man, this means Man United will have to put at least two men on him and this can create spaces for others. It’ll be interesting to see how Man United fare.
The game won’t be easy for Man United but it generally will be a very interesting encounter. Thrilling!