How Manchester United could look against Barcelona at the Camp Nou; 4-2-3-1 with McTominay and Fred in midfield


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.

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.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one is the best option in goal ahead of the Barcelona clash. It is a must-win match for United like it was that night in Paris. David De Gea will need to be on the ball against the La Liga leaders, despite them not doing much at Old Trafford on Wednesday. This match will be a close one, as it is now. United need to score a few goals and keep a clean sheet. In Paris they proved it was possible.

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Defence: Diogo Dalot, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Matteo Darmian

Ashley Young should not be part of this team, not starting anyway. Diogo Dalot could learn plenty of experience playing against Barcelona and Matteo Darmian, who has played at left-back before, could play a role in that position. Chris Smalling should keep his place and Victor Lindelof should be restored to a starting position.

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Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

The midfield will need to have an assured defensive player and one to knit the midfield with the attacking players. Fred played a good game against West Ham on Saturday so should keep his place in the team. Scott McTominay played well against Barcelona on Wednesday so should keep his place. Despite the criticism, recently, it has been egg on their faces rather than his.

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Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial

This is obviously not the best formation that United can play in but it could counter the 4-3-3 formation that Barcelona utilises. Marcus Rashford is not a winger, but his pace and experience could be good and he may also roam in the more central areas. Anthony Martial needs to put in a good performance and Paul Pogba could provide further forward.

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Forwards: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian is not in the best form but we must remember how capable he is of scoring a goal or two. In the three matches he scored a brace in recently, he was able to find the best positions to score the goals. He needs to be playing like this week in and week out, to get the best out of him. Whatever happens in the summer, he’s a United player now and should be performing at the highest level possible.

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Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic; Mason Greenwood

This bench might not be the one that is involved in Tuesday’s match but based on the current situation at the club, these are the players who could have an impact in the game, should they be needed. Alexis Sanchez probably won’t be fit, but you never know. Nemanja Matic has been ill, so if he has recovered, he could be a good player to involve, if needed.

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