Barcelona host Manchester United tomorrow night, where the home side carry a 1-0 aggregate lead in this Champions League quarter-finals second leg. A Luke Shaw own goal at Old Trafford last week was the difference between the two sides, and United now face the tough task of going to the NouCamp.
United have lost their last three away games in all competitions, twice against Wolves and one against Arsenal.But a controversial win against West Ham at the weekend has steadied the ship for Old Gunner Solksjaer, who was given the full-time job at Old Trafford late last month.
Chelsea have overtaken United into fourth place; two points clear of the Red Devils who have a game in hand. Progressing in the Champions League has then gained importance if United are to compete in the competition next season, even more so with a difficult Premier League finale where they face Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea.
According to Rio Ferdinand, United have every chance, after their heroics in Paris last month got them to this stage. Heading into the Round of 16 second leg against PSG, United looked all but out of the Champions League, but for an inspired performance which saw then leave 3-1 victors, andput them into the hat for the quarter-finals.
Solksjaer will have limited selection though, Eric Bailly, Andre Herrera and Luke Shaw are all ruled out of the game, with Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez doubtful.
According to compareyourodds.com, the best odds on Manchester United to qualify are at 8/1. Solksjaer’s boys defied these odds in the match against PSG, who why can’t they do it again?
Barcelona are on their way to another La Liga title, where they are nine points clear of second placed Atletico Madrid having lost just two league games all season. That nine-pointgap was cemented in Barca’s last game at the Nou Camp where they beat Diego Simeone’s team 2-0 – That’s 46 goals in just 16 home games in La Liga for Barcelona.
In their last Champions League game at Nou Camp, Ernesto Valverde’s Barca put five goals past French outfit Lyon to progress to the quarters. But United will gain confidence from the fact that Tottenham have gone to the Nou Camp this season, where they snatched a late equaliser in the ChampionsLeague group stages.
Valverde rested ten first team players in Barcelona’s 0-0 draw at bottom side Huesca last weekend, readying for the Champions League clash against United. Only Ivan Rakitic is a doubt, with Barca looking to field a fully fit side.
Bet Victor put Barcelona at 4/11 to qualify on Wednesday, which seems quite fair. Barcelona put in a relatively poor performance at Old Trafford last week, but it’s hard to see them doing the same at the Nou Camp.
Head to head
Since 1994, these two clubs have met 12 times in the Champions League, with Barca winning five and drawing four, and United winning three. But it wasn’t till earlier this month when Barca got their first win at Old Trafford, whereas United have won two of their last four trips to Nou Camp – in 2011 and 2015.
In 2011 it was Nani and Michael Owen who gave United a 2-1 win against Barca, and four years later it was Wayne Rooney, Jesse Kingard and Adnan Januzaj who contributed to a 3-1 win. Solksjaer will be hoping that his team can replicate their PSG heroics tonight, but it will be the toughest test yet against a Barcelona side looking for the La Liga and Champions League double.