Preview: This is the big one for Manchester United. Barcelona or bust…

Barcelona -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Camp Nou, Barcelona

Tuesday 16 April 2019; KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Felix Brych (GER)

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 on Tuesday evening. 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.

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Form: United finally get back to winning ways against West Ham as Barcelona draw blank against SD Huesca although they made 10 changes…

Manchester United: WLLWLL

West Ham United 2-1 W, Barcelona 1-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 L, Watford 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 L, Arsenal 2-0 L

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: DWDWWW

SD Huesca 0-0 D, Atletico Madrid 2-0 W, Villarreal 4-4 D, Espanyol 2-0 W, Real Betis 4-1 W, Lyon 5-1 W

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.

Top Scorers: United’s players have scored many goals this season but they need to become so much better in front of the goal!

Manchester United: 16 – Paul Pogba, 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Barcelona: 41 – Lionel Messi, 20 – Luis Suárez, 11 – Ousmane Dembélé, 7 – Philippe Coutinho, 6 – Gerard Piqué, 4 – Ivan Rakitic, 2 – Jordi Alba, Malcom, Arturo Vidal, 1 – Carles Aleñá, Nélson Semedo, Munir El Haddadi, Rafinha

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Team News: Solskjaer has fullback problems and a lack of experience to rely on against Barcelona but that night in Paris could motivate the players, or at least it should!

Solskjaer currently has five players on the sidelines through injury, some of which may return to have some involvement in the second leg against Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez (MCL), Antonio Valencia (muscle), Eric Bailly (concussion), Ander Herrera (hamstring), and Nemanja Matic (illness) are the five players on the sidelines.

United saw Matteo Darmian return to the bench against West Ham, so he may feature against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Luke Shaw is suspended in this match, so the left-back role will be a problem for Solskjaer, especially as Marcos Rojo did not perform all that well against the Hammers at Old Trafford.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has a few injury problems ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou on Tuesday. Rafinha (cruciate ligament) and Thomas Vermaelen (thigh) are out fo the match but Sergi Roberto (muscular) and Ivan Rakitic (fever) could be fit to face United. There are doubts about Lionel Messi also, but it could just be a game of cat and mouse.

Predicted Starting XI: Form is a massive issue for United ahead of Barcelona test. Beating teams convincingly is a problem.

United need to find a way to start winning convincingly. Of late, United has beaten both Watford and West Ham United – neither of the matches showed that United were able to get the better of their opposition. Romelu Lukaku is out of form and other players are contributing to the problems, which really need to be solved if United get anywhere this season.

Match Prediction: United has lost more times against Barcelona than they have won. Time to make up for that on Tuesday evening?

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.

Barcelona 1-2 Manchester United

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