Manchester United welcome Barcelona to the Theatre of Dreams in the UEFA Europa League play off second leg this evening. It will be a big match under the lights at Old Trafford. Last week at the Camp Nou, it was a 2-2 draw between the two teams with Marcos Alonso opening the scoring, Marcus Rashford equalising, an own goal from Jules Koundé putting United ahead before Raphinha equalised for the home side. It was a good match.
That should make this a good match too. Barcelona have been too good for United for many of the last fixtures between the two clubs but this season, this Barcelona team is something reminiscent of what you could order from Wish compared to the Barcelona of old. United will be seeking to remain the only English club to be fighting in all four competitions this season with the Carabao Cup final just under three days after this match – the first cup final of the season.
Erik ten Hag will have done his job to find a way for United overcoming Barcelona in this match, which is what seems to have been done. The players will also need to ensure they do a good job or doing just that. Marcus Rashford’s form, added to the likes of Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, Marcel Sabitzer, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, not to mention Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and David De Gea could see United advance.
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;
Fernandes, Weghorst, Sancho;
Heaton; Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Dalot; Sabitzer, Pellistri, McTominay, Mainoo; Antony, Elanga, Garnacho
Koundé, Araújo, Christensen, Balde;
De Jong, Busquets, Kessie;
Raphinha, Lewandowski, Roberto
Peña, Tenas, Fati, Torres, Alonso, Alba, Garcia, Casado, Torre
United and Barcelona have met 14 times in European competition. United have won three of those meetings, drawn five 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