UEFA 2019

Man Utd vs Barcelona: How United can hurt Barca at Old Trafford

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At their brilliant best, Barcelona look unstoppable, yet the Catalan club have exited at the quarter-final stage in each of the last three editions of the Champions League and Manchester United will believe they can be beaten.

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In Europe, the Catalans have gone out to Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Roma over the last three seasons, proving they are vulnerable in knockout ties over two legs.

In La Liga, meanwhile, Leganes and Betis have both defeated Ernesto Valverde’s side this season, while Villarreal came within seconds of a win in the teams’ thrilling 4-4 draw last week.

So what can United learn from those matches to give themselves the greatest chance of success at Old Trafford tonight?

Pace and physicality
Barcelona rarely look entirely comfortable in a physical battle and United will need to play with intensity to unsettle their opponents tonight, albeit without losing their cool and if possible, without giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions.

Pace on the counter-attack will also be a vital weapon for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and Valverde admitted on Tuesday that he does not want to leave space for United to attack in tonight’s game.

Barca’s high defensive line means they do give rivals a chance to break at speed, though, and quick transitions could be key to hopes for the Premier League side tonight.

Expose Busquets

Sergio Busquets is one of the world’s finest midfielders and is still a wonderful player with the ball at his feet, but he has looked vulnerable at times this season and is a player United will look to target in tonight’s game.

Against Villarreal last week, Busquets gave the ball away on a number of occasions and looked uncomfortable when he was forced to chase back on fast breaks, thumping the ground in frustration at one point.

His lack of pace and mobility make him a potential weak link if United press effectively in midfield.

Isolate Messi
One feature of Barcelona’s defeats in Europe over recent seasons is Lionel Messi dropping deep into midfield in an attempt to influence the game. If the Argentine can be isolated, he can be frustrated.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Messi has scored eight times in his last five La Liga matches. (AP)

That is easier said that done, of course, but the key for United will be to cut the supply line to the Argentine from deep positions, and possibly even man marking the Barca captain.

Keeping Messi off the ball for as much as possible will be essential to their hopes of success.

Make Ter Stegen uncomfortable

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers and the German’s distribution is excellent. However, he can be targeted by rival teams and made to feel uncomfortable.

Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited United could make life for Ter Stegen uncomfortable tonight. (AFP/Getty Images)

Villarreal pressed the 26-year-old in last week’s match and cut off his passing options, forcing the goalkeeper to go long and resulting in a loss of possession at times.

Earlier this season, meanwhile, Sevilla unsettled the German with high balls into the area. Both of those tactics could be effective for Solskjaer’s side tonight.

Save some energy until the end

Barcelona’s relentless attacking football can wear teams down and rivals often fold in the latter stages of games when they are unable to maintain their intensity, allowing Messi, Luis Suarez et all to take advantage.

That was evident as Barca beat Atletico with two late goals on Saturday and also in the last 16 of the Champions League as the Catalans hit three in the final 12 minutes to seal a 5-1 win over Lyon.

Overall fitness will therefore be important for United tonight and their recent break could help in that respect, while Solskaer’s substitutions will also have a vital part to play in the latter stages.

Man Utd vs Barcelona: How United can hurt Barca at Old Trafford
Man Utd vs Barcelona: How United can hurt Barca at Old Trafford

Click here To Watch Live Stream

At their brilliant best, Barcelona look unstoppable, yet the Catalan club have exited at the quarter-final stage in each of the last three editions of the Champions League and Manchester United will believe they can be beaten.

Free Sing Up To Watch Man Utd vs Barcelona

In Europe, the Catalans have gone out to Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Roma over the last three seasons, proving they are vulnerable in knockout ties over two legs.

In La Liga, meanwhile, Leganes and Betis have both defeated Ernesto Valverde’s side this season, while Villarreal came within seconds of a win in the teams’ thrilling 4-4 draw last week.

So what can United learn from those matches to give themselves the greatest chance of success at Old Trafford tonight?

Pace and physicality
Barcelona rarely look entirely comfortable in a physical battle and United will need to play with intensity to unsettle their opponents tonight, albeit without losing their cool and if possible, without giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions.

Pace on the counter-attack will also be a vital weapon for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and Valverde admitted on Tuesday that he does not want to leave space for United to attack in tonight’s game.

Barca’s high defensive line means they do give rivals a chance to break at speed, though, and quick transitions could be key to hopes for the Premier League side tonight.

Expose Busquets

Sergio Busquets is one of the world’s finest midfielders and is still a wonderful player with the ball at his feet, but he has looked vulnerable at times this season and is a player United will look to target in tonight’s game.

Against Villarreal last week, Busquets gave the ball away on a number of occasions and looked uncomfortable when he was forced to chase back on fast breaks, thumping the ground in frustration at one point.

His lack of pace and mobility make him a potential weak link if United press effectively in midfield.

Isolate Messi
One feature of Barcelona’s defeats in Europe over recent seasons is Lionel Messi dropping deep into midfield in an attempt to influence the game. If the Argentine can be isolated, he can be frustrated.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Messi has scored eight times in his last five La Liga matches. (AP)

That is easier said that done, of course, but the key for United will be to cut the supply line to the Argentine from deep positions, and possibly even man marking the Barca captain.

Keeping Messi off the ball for as much as possible will be essential to their hopes of success.

Make Ter Stegen uncomfortable

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers and the German’s distribution is excellent. However, he can be targeted by rival teams and made to feel uncomfortable.

Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited United could make life for Ter Stegen uncomfortable tonight. (AFP/Getty Images)

Villarreal pressed the 26-year-old in last week’s match and cut off his passing options, forcing the goalkeeper to go long and resulting in a loss of possession at times.

Earlier this season, meanwhile, Sevilla unsettled the German with high balls into the area. Both of those tactics could be effective for Solskjaer’s side tonight.

Save some energy until the end

Barcelona’s relentless attacking football can wear teams down and rivals often fold in the latter stages of games when they are unable to maintain their intensity, allowing Messi, Luis Suarez et all to take advantage.

That was evident as Barca beat Atletico with two late goals on Saturday and also in the last 16 of the Champions League as the Catalans hit three in the final 12 minutes to seal a 5-1 win over Lyon.

Overall fitness will therefore be important for United tonight and their recent break could help in that respect, while Solskaer’s substitutions will also have a vital part to play in the latter stages.