April 16, 2019
Manchester United face their toughest match of the season when they travel to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tonight. United are 1-0 down in the match after Luke Shaw scored the only goal in the encounter at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Shaw is suspended from this fixture.
United beat West Ham United at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening, returning to winning ways after two defeats. It was not a convincing victory but three points in their quest to finish in the top four this season, which should not be a problem for a club of this calibre. However, it is not a problem that has appeared overnight.
Solskjaer will have a problem sorting out the fullback positions with Ashley Young, Diogo Dalot and Matteo Darmian the only fit players for these positions and the latter on returned to the bench after a long period of injury on Saturday. Young was poor in the first leg and involving him in the second leg could see United with a disadvantage from the start.
Jones, Smalling, Lindelof, Young;
McTominay, Fred, Pogba;
Romero; Dalot; Mata, Pereira, Matic; Sanchez, Lukaku
United and Barcelona have played 12 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 7 March 1984, a 2-0 defeat in the UEFA European Cup Winner’s Cup, however, a 3-0 home win followed a fortnight later. United has won three matches, drawn four times and lost five times.
United has won twice in their last six matches, which is poor considering the form they started in under Solskjaer. Last Wednesday, the players did not take advantage of Barcelona, who were unable to finish United off. They must start taking advantage of these scenarios and they are currently not. Failure to beat Barcelona could result in many problems for the players and the manager this summer.
Barcelona seems to be in great form recently, not losing in their last six matches, drawing twice and winning four times. On Saturday, Valverde’s side drew 0-0 with SD Huesca, although he made ten changes, resting several key players for the clash with United. This is alarming as United seemed unable to rest many players due to injury and other things. This will be a crucial match for both teams.