Manchester United travel to Spain where they will take on Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Europa League play off first leg on Thursday evening. United and Barcelona have met in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and the UEFA Champions League but this will be the first time the two clubs have met in the UEFA Europa League. Barcelona’s current form is good with six wins in their last six matches. United have five wins and a draw in their last six matches.
This is a big match for United if they are to continue in the Europa League this season with the winner of this play off round reaching the last 16 in the competition. United and Barcelona have met 13 times in European competition with United winning three times, drawing four times and losing six times. In the last four meeting, United have lost all four – two of them in the UEFA Champions League final – the other two in the knockout stages of the competition.
This is an important period for United with the two matches against Barcelona this Thursday and next Thursday with a Premier League clash with Leicester City at Old Trafford in between the two Europa League matches and the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United coming just three days after the second leg match. During this time, United will contend to remain in four competitions this season and to win one of them – whilst pushing for a top four place.
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Malacia;
Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;
Heaton, Butland; Lindelof, Maguire, Dalot; Iqbal, Mainoo; Pellestri, Elanga, Garnacho
Koundé, Araújo, Alonso, Alba;
Pedri, de Jong, Kessie;
Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Peña, Tenas, Fati, Torres, Christensen, Roberto, Garcia, Balde, Casado, Torre, Alarcon
United and Barcelona have met 13 times in European competition. United have won three of those meeting, drawn four with Barcelona wining six times. United’s best victory over Barcelona came in the 15 May 1991 in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup final in Rotterdam with United winning 2-1 with Mark Hughes scoring both goals seeing United lift their first European trophy of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career. Paul Scholes scored the winner in the last victory over the Catalans.
United also won back in 1984 in the third round second leg of the Cup Winners Cup with Bryan Robson scoring twice and Frank Stapleton scoring the other goal in a 3-0 victory which saw United through 3-2 on aggregate. United made the Champions League final in both 2009 and 2011 against Barcelona, losing 2-0 and 3-1 respectively. In the 2018/19 season, United and Barcelona met in the quarter final of the Champions League, losing 1-0 and 3-0 respectively.
Mark Hughes, Laurent Blanc, Jordi Cruyff, Henrik Larsson, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez and Memphis Depay have all played for both United and Barcelona during their careers. For me, the most notable players on this list would be Pique, Ibrahimovic, Hughes, Sanchez, Valdes and Larsson based on their brilliant careers in the game. Marc Jurado is a former Barcelona player currently in United’s academy playing at U21 level.
Written by John Walker