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Barcelona forward to be available for £37 million this summer, alerting Manchester United and Arsenal – reports

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele could be available for just £37 million this summer, according to reports. This could be something that changes the summer plans of Premier League teams Manchester United and Arsenal, as they have previously held an interest in the player. He is not the first player at the Catalan club to have his asking price slashed.

It has been suggested that Barcelona has put the majority of their squad up for sale this summer, to balance the books because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is stated that at least six players will not be available, presumably including star player Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ten Stegen.

Executives at the club know that they will need to sell a number of players in order to slash the wage bill, keeping the club solvent, which could be great for the buyers market this summer. Dembele was brought from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017 for €105 million with add-ons reported to be in the region of €40 million.

If a sale happened for Dembele and it was this low, it would be a considerable loss for the Catalan club, one to regret. However, the player has not had the best time at the club which could be a deterrent for a number of clubs this summer, unless they feel they could bring out the best of the 23-year-old in the very near future.

This season, despite the coronavirus pandemic suspending world football, the French forward has made just nine appearances at the club, playing in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. He has scored just one solitary goal, playing 492 minutes of football, suffering a number of hamstring injuries this season, which could be a deterrent also.

Since signing for the club in the summer of 2017, Dembele has made a total of 74 appearances at the Catalan club, scoring just 19 goals and 17 assists. At Borussia Dortmund, Dembele made a total of 50 appearances, scoring ten goals and 22 assists. At Rennes, his first senior club. Dembele made a total of 29 appearances, scoring 12 goals and five assists.

Dembele has the ingredients to become a good player but with his number of injuries since signing for Barcelona and the lack of penetration going forward, with very few goals and assists, even £37 million could be an uncalculated risk and something United should stay clear of. However, if could all work out for him away from Spain.

In Spain, football is set to resume on the 8 June 2020 and Dembele is not going to be tested for coronavirus, which suggests he is not going to be fit before the conclusion of the season, therefore his 2019/20 season is over. This could be a reason for the price cut but his injury history needs to be looked at too. United, or anyone else do not need injury prone players.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might keep an eye out for the player and see what develops in the summer, but at this moment in time, he should continue pushing for the number one targets the club want to sign, of which Dembele, at least not this one, will be part of, if indeed he is in the plans of the club at all. I would doubt it right now.

Manchester United contact agent of Philippe Coutinho, along with Chelsea, Leicester City and Newcastle United – reports

Manchester United have apparently contacted the agent of former Liverpool winger, Philippe Coutinho, according to reports. It is not the first time that the Old Trafford club has been linked to the Brazilian, although nothing seems to have come of the previous reports, which personally is a good thing.

Spanish news outlet, Mundo Deportivo has reported that Chelsea would seem to be the player’s first choice, if he was to depart Barcelona this summer, currently with him on loan with Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich. It is also suggested that Newcastle United, who are supposedly being taken over by the Saudi Arabian’s are ‘unofficially’ interested.

The 27-year-old is not currently fit to play, after ankle surgery and his recovery might come too late for him to make an appearance before the end of the season, which will be running late this season. The Bundesliga returned last weekend with the Munich club beating Union Berlin 2-0 at the An der Alten Försterei stadion.

Bayern have the opportunity to make the Brazilian’s loan spell at the club permanent, however, they seem unwilling to meet the £100 million price tag set by the Catalan club, which would be a fee that many top clubs decide will be too high for a player who has not really been in great form since leaving Liverpool a few years back.

This season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Coutinho made a total of 32 appearances, playing in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the UEFA Champions League, scoring nine goals and eight assists. For £100 million, a similar fee that Borussia Dortmund would demand for Jadon Sancho, United could get so much more.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may or may not be interested in the player and this could be, I am hoping, just a rumour to get clicks to news websites. I do not think Coutinho would be a good fit for United. At Liverpool, before seemingly forcing his exit from the club, he seemed to be a tremendous player, scoring 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 appearances.

United will be seeking new additions to the squad this summer, but the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic may see many big moves not happen, which is something that the clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward has warned in recent weeks, with the true figure of the problem being announced on Thursday.

United have been linked with Jadon Sancho or Borussia Dortmund, Jack Grealish of Aston Villa, Mousse Dembele of Lyon, Wassim Ben Yedder of AS Monaco and even the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot of Juventus, who only arrived at the Italian club, as free agents, last summer. Solskjaer clearly has his eye on incoming transfers.

However, in this instance, I don’t see anything solid on the links to Coutinho but felt the need to write about it, as there will. no doubt, be many more rumours circulating before the Premier League resumes and the transfer window opens, whenever that may be. I don’t think we will see Coutinho at the Theatre of Dreams in the famous United shirt though.

Manchester United and Arsenal told £27 million will land French defender this summer – reports

Barcelona have reported made French central defender, Samuel Umtiti, a previous target for both Manchester United and Arsenal, available for just £27 million this summer, according to reports. Earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic, his valuation was £46 million, seeing a considerable drop by the Catalan club.

The La Liga giants financial situation has reportedly worsened, with every club around the world feeling the after effects of the pandemic, which could result in a sale of players who are considered not needed by the club, to balance the books so to speak. United have suffered too with a £28 million loss of their own because of the virus.

Spanish news source, Sport, has suggested the Catalan club will sell players this summer, some with reduced fees. It is thought that Barca want to use Umtiti to lower the fee paid to Inter Milan for forward target Lautaro Martinez, however, the Frenchman has not heard anything from the Serie A club, but has been told to expect contact.

This might be something that leave United and Arsenal high and dry, although the latter club seem to be more interested in Umtiti than United, as I think the Frenchman was a Jose Mourinho target, more than an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer target. United may need to new defender this summer though, especially if some of them leave the club.

It is expected that Chris Smalling will leave, as could Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones, who has been sparingly utilised so far this season. Saying that though, departures would create space for Axel Tuanzebe, who has spent his first season back at the club after a period of loan spells and Teden Mengi, who has been tipped to make his rise to the first team soon.

Solskjaer would probably be a fan of the latter option as the Norwegian manager wants to trust youth more, which is the road to success that Sir Alex Ferguson found and Solskjaer was a fan of his methods. Umtiti has been sidelined with a calf injury but has suffered many injuries at the Catalan club, making him seem injury prone – something United would not want.

Umtiti has made just 16 appearances for Barca this season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football. For a 26-year-old France international, injury aside, I would expect him to play a lot more for the club. The player will be seeking a prominent role under new manager Quique Setien, who took over the club in January.

However, as he has been injured more often than not in his career at the Catalan club, especially this season, it could leave him with a lot of work to do in order to play himself into his manager’s plans for the remainder of the season, and into the future, if he does remain at the club past this summer, whenever the transfer window opens and closes.

My personal opinion is that United could do a lot better than spend dead money on Umtiti. A few years ago the player showed a lot of promise, but now, he has a lot to prove, which could go against him. I would much rather see Solskjaer trim the squad and give chances to youth players, Tuanzebe first and maybe Mengi, if he is needed in the squad.

Marcus Rashford reportedly wants £300,000 a week to sign a new deal with Manchester United

Manchester United could be forced to pay striker Marcus Rashford £300,000 per week if they are to keep him at the Old Trafford club, according to reports. The 21-year-old came through the academy at United, making his debut in the first team in a UEFA Europa League round of 32 match against FC Midtjylland during the 2015/16 season.

The forward will be entering the final year of his contract next month, although United have an option to extend that contract for another year. Current speculation links the England forward with La Liga champions, Barcelona – however, it is not known whether the Catalan club is actually interested in the player. Real Madrid have been linked also.

United have reportedly been trying to tie Rashford down with a new deal at the Theatre of Dreams but with the fact that Alexis Sanchez is on a huge wage deal, ever since he signed for the club in January 2018, which so far has not worked out for the Chilean, Rashford will feel what he offers the club should be matched in terms of his wages.

Rashford, according to reports, has stated that he wants £300,000 per week to remain at United, which is a bit steep for a player who has so much to learn in the game yet. These reports will not enthuse the United faithful, especially coming out a day after the player, along with Jesse Lingard, gave a rendition of a song entitled beans, beans, beans on social media, which has become rather embarrassing.

United seem to be in a poor state at this moment in time. The squad just is not performing, certain players are earning a lot of money, giving very little to be in a position to earn that kind of money and now younger players are demanding big wages from the club in order to stay. United, under Ed Woodward and the Glazers, was always going to become toxic.

Now, it seems to be the time where the toxicity takes a new approach and does more damage than could ever be imagined. If a player is consistently putting in the performances that show they love the club, want the club to kick on and achieve things, there is a chance that high wages would be paid. But looking at every player in the squad right now, none of them are worth this kind of money.

It would seem that a lot of players at United might only be at the club for the money they are on because they know they will not get anything near the wages they get at other clubs. Giving Rashford £300,000 a week, or more as some reports suggest £350,000, would be a massive sign that United are desperate to keep the players they have, who together have not stuck together, dug deep and consistently performed.

Should Rashford be given £300,000 per week to stay at the club? No way. He’s not yet done enough in the game to earn that sort of money. He should think himself lucky to be in a position to play football at this club, let alone even be considered to be a player worth of remaining at the club for a longer period of time.

Ratings: Manchester United outclassed in the Camp Nou; De Gea, Young and Pogba all poor – something needs to change

Manchester United saw themselves beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the quarter-final second leg of the UEFA Champions League at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening, losing 4-0 on aggregate to the La Liga leaders. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needs to lick their wounds ahead of a battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

The match did not start too well for United as Marcus Rashford missed a shot in the opening minute of the match. Barcelona was awarded a penalty in the 11th minute after Fred was adjudged to have fouled Ivan Rakitic. The referee, Felix Brych, used VAR disallowing the penalty, which was lucky for United.

United lasted five minutes before Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a fine finish after Ashley Young gave the ball away on the left and United then gave Messi too much space. Just four minutes later, Messi doubled Barcelona’s lead firing towards David De Gea with the Spanish number one losing the ball underneath himself.

De Gea did start to restore himself later in the first half though, although looking at the save he made, after Messi turned Phil Jones, the Spaniard knew little about it. United had a free kick late in the first half and getting a goal there could have put them back into the game, however, it was not meant to be.

Barcelona scored again just after the hour after Jordi Alba set Philippe Coutinho up to score a beauty of a goal which should be enough to send United packing, although that was effectively done after they conceded the first goal. United did have opportunities in the game but did little to make them important.:

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one will be looking back at the mistakes made in the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening. He managed to stop Sergi Roberto from scoring but was beaten by Lionel Messi twice, one was a howler, and Philippe Coutinho.. I get the impression that De Gea wants to move on, which may happen this summer, if United want a fee for him.

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4 Phil Jones

Turned by the class of Messi. Was not at the same level of any of his teammates. This is United's problem. Too much deadwood at the club. United are outclassed by most teams now, thanks to Ed Woodward resigning these players on long contracts.

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Chris Smalling

Smalling was not disgraced against Barcelona but he was not at his best. Could have done better against Messi, after saying he had a plan to silence him, which may have worked a week ago but failed tonight. Sad to remember that he's signed a new contract and could be here for years yet.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played a part at right back, which may have been better than Jones. United were missing the attacking capabilities from this position, something they may want to find a result for in the summer.

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18 Ashley Young

Committed error after error. Outclassed by Messi on his own. Not good enough to play for United, let alone captain them. Seen enough of Ashley Young now, but hey, we are not allowed to complain about the players, according to some top reds.

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39 Scott McTominay

Provided energy in what was always going to be a tough game for United. Could have got a goal back early in the game. Many will write him off instead of backing him, which is one of the problems at the club; some supporters have no patience at all!

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17 Fred

Could not keep up with the pace of the game, which was controlled by Barcelona. It may have been a baptism of fire for him though, which could heed positive results for him and United. The writing is on the wall with the owners and Woodward. A massive summer is needed for United to become a force again. But we have heard this before, in each of the last six summers.

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6 Paul Pogba

Provided a through ball into Marcus Rashford, in which he hit the crossbar in the first minute of play. The Frenchman was seldom seen after this, which is just one of the problems between him and United. When Pogba can be bothered, he's a great player to have, however, the matches he's bothered to feature in do not come around too often.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Started well but soon went off the boil. This seems to be the same old problem for Lingard and United. He is a confident player and I believe he knows his strengths and weaknesses, however, against Barcelona, there were more weaknesses than strengths.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The 21-year-old was set a challenge by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and it did not pay off. Had two chances on goal, missing both. It could have been a very different game if he had scored in the first minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

When United had a period of dominance in the game, the Frenchman was playing well, but when Barcelona took over in the dominance ranks, Martial was a player who was outclassed and made to look rather plain, which has been coming for some time. Many still rate him as a world beater, which is something that has been shown as not quite right. However, it could change, if he puts in more enthusiasm, which is much-needed right now.

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Substitutes

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Martial 65'. The Portuguese teenager looked lively during his 25-minute cameo. Perhaps he should have started at right-back. Good bit of experience for him at the Camp Nou.

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Romelu Lukaku

Replaced Rashford 73'. I don't think he put enough effort into getting on the ball enough, however, there was a massive lack of creativity. The void between United and Barcelona was massive. I don't blame him if he wants out in the summer. United need a massive rebuild. It doesn't feel like they have had one in six years, despite spending more than £700 million.

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Alexis Sanchez

Replaced Lingard 80'. Could have scored a goal late in the game, which would have been nothing but consolation. He may not have shone but there was some urgency about him. Good to see him fit again and he needs to start performing for the remainder of the season.

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Goals:Lionel Messi 16′, 20′, Philippe Coutinho 61′

Assists: Jordi Alba 61′

Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Lingard (Sanchez 80′); Rashford (Lukaku 73′), Martial (Dalot 65′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Mata, Pereira, Matic

Bookings: Luis Suarez 77′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford and Martial start for United against Barcelona; Lukaku and Sanchez on the bench

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 tonight. 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.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Jones, Smalling, Lindelof, Young;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Lingard;

Rashford, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Dalot; Mata, Pereira, Matic; Sanchez, Lukaku

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.

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 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.

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.

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

Ratings: Scott McTominay can hold his head high after Barcelona defeat at Old Trafford

Manchester United saw themselves beaten once again under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Barcelona won 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford. It was a lacklustre affair with Luke Shaw scoring the own goal which put Barcelona in the driving seat, even if it was awarded by VAR.

Barcelona opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the match which was ruled as offside but VAR gave the goal. Lionel Messi was played in over the top, swivelled inside the box and chipped the ball towards the back post where Luis Suarez was waiting. The ball deflected off Luke Shaw and into the back of his own net.

In the 19th minute of the match, Shaw was booked, meaning he will miss the next leg of this game, along with the two Premier League matches he will miss, meaning he will be out of contention against West Ham United, Barcelona, and Everton, which is not a great position to be in. Sergio Busquets was booked two minutes before Shaw.

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Man of the Match: Scott McTominay

The Scotland international never seems to get much respect from the Old Trafford faithful, well those on Twitter anyway. They don’t seem to be able to see what others can, but according to them, that is delusion. I rate McTominay and I am proud to say I do. He is going to be a decent midfielder in this team. Tonight, he showed his class.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one did not have many saves to make against the Catalan club but what he did do was important in the game, especially in the fact that Barcelona could not double their lead.

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18 Ashley Young

The veteran right-back did the minimum in defence but showed signs of what United were getting with him. Going forward, he just was not good enough to warrant a place in the team. His delivery of the ball was poor and one of the reasons United were poor overall.

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Chris Smalling

The long-serving defender played a part in the match against Barcelona and was superb in the air. He kept the Barca players pretty quiet at times and he could have been one of the reasons that only one goal was scored, and that was by a United player.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swedish international did well against the La Liga leaders. The defence were protected by the midfield and Lindelof mopped up the loose balls and did not have to do as much as he may have been expected to.

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23 Luke Shaw

The England left-back was unfortunate to be the player the ball deflected off, scoring the only goal of the game, an own goal. Shaw was solid in defence but rarely broke forward on the attack.

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39 Scott McTominay

Seems to get the short straw when he gets named in the starting XI but likes to show his critics that he has the skills to play for this club. What do they know, eh? Great at moving forward with the ball, played many long-range passes, which most of the time were delivered to a teammate. His partnership with Fred may be considered a success, so far, at least.

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17 Fred

This has to be the Brazilian’s best performance for United so far, which could give him the confidence to continue. Put in a shift both defensively and in a more creative role going forward. His passing range will have impressed the gaffer.

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6 Paul Pogba

It was not a poor game for the Frenchman but he was outplayed by his midfield teammates, which was good to see. It shows that United has other options, especially if Pogba did leave in the summer. May need to pull something out of the bag to keep his place this weekend.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Grew in confidence throughout the game. Had a great chance in the game, which may have changed the scoreline. Good to see him get the game time which will help him grow as a player.

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Romelu Lukaku

His hold up play was pretty good against the La Liga leaders. However, as the striker in this team, he does need to find the clinical aspect of his game. If Lukaku is not scoring goals, who is?

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward had plenty of energy in the game. He put his head down and worked hard for his team but it was just not his night. United will be lucky they only conceded one goal. Perhaps next week, at the Camp Nou, it could be Rashford’s and United’s night once again?

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Lukaku 68'. Had a through ball played in by McTominay but miscontrolled it. Should have done much better.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Dalot 74'. Booked soon after his introduction. Got little involvement in the game. Should have been better coming off the bench.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Rashford 85'. Cameo appearance but he got forward for United and tried to create. Received a few good balls from McTominay.

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Goals: Luke Shaw 12′ o/g 

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Dalot (Lingard 74′), Lukaku (Martial 68′), Rashford (Pereira 85′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Rojo; Mata

Bookings: Luke Shaw 19′, Jesse Lingard 76′, Chris Smalling 85′; Sergio Busquets 17′, Arturo Vidal 71′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Lukaku and Dalot lead the line against Barcelona; Pogba, McTominay and Fred in midfield

Manchester United are back in action in the UEFA Champions League at the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday evening, entertaining reigning La Liga champions and league leaders Barcelona. It will be a tough match for United, knowing that Lionel Messi will once again be tormenting the back four, which could see United capitulate this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to find the best team to face the Catalan club after losing three of their last six matches in all competitions. United has been in poor form for the last four matches after beating Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital. That will be a worry for Solskjaer ahead of this battle, although it is only the first leg.

The players will need to be on their best behaviour also with Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Antonia Valencia, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera all one card away from a one-match suspension. Valencia won’t play a part in the game so it is one less player to worry about. Barcelona has Nelson Semedo a booking away from a suspension.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Dalot, Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Rojo; Mata, Lingard, Pereira; Martial

United and Barcelona have played 11 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 four times. This will be a big match for United.

United will face the biggest task of the season in their worst form under Solskjaer this season. Three wins and three losses in the last six matches. United’s season could well be over inside the next fortnight, especially if they do not take advantage of Arsenal’s defeat to Everton in the Premier League this weekend.

Barcelona head to Old Trafford in good form, drawing once in the last six matches, winning the other five fixtures. The Catalan side has scored 20 goals, conceding seven times and keeping two clean sheets. Barcelona will be well up for this visit to the Theatre of Dreams with United seemingly the side in worse form this season, however unpredictable.

copyright: JW