Barcelona vs United: team news, probable line-ups, predictions & more
The Catalans host the Red Devils in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, 16 April. The first leg resulted in a 1-0 win for Barca.
Ernesto Valverde names the strongest squad possible for the most crucial game of the season so far. Sergi Roberto has recovered from a muscle overload while Ivan Rakitic is also fit after suffering from a fever. Naturally, Lionel Messi is also here after sustaining a brutal blow to his face in the reverse fixture. Thomas Vermaelen only misses through injury while both Jeison Murillo and Kevin-Prince Boateng are discarded.
Former Barca player Alexis Sanchez is included in the squad even though he remains highly doubtful due to an injury and overall dip in form. Both Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford who have reportedly caught the Catalans' interest are included. Luke Shaw is discarded because of the red card suspension. Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly have not travelled due to injuries.
5 stats you need to know
- Barcelona are undefeated in their last nine Champions League matches.
- The Catalans haven't conceded in their last three matches in all competitions.
- They are also unbeaten at home since November.
- Leo Messi has scored 22 goals in 31 games against the Premier League sides.
- However, he hasn't scored in 12 Champions League quarter-final matches.
We expect Ernesto Valverde to start the strongest line-up possible. There is a huge chance he replicates the similar XI that faced Manchester United at Old Trafford last week. Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique would form the defensive duo while Arthur, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic would boss the midfield. The main question is whether Ousmane Dembele is fit to start ahead of Philippe Coutinho.
Leo Messi vs Chris Smalling
The first part of this spectacular duel ended up with a bloody nose for the Argentinean. It is fair to say that Smalling isn't the best defender ever, however, he managed to do the unthinkable last week and almost nullify Leo Messi's impact. Let's hope the Blaugrana No.10 emerges victorious from the second round of this glorious fight.
Evening Standard: "Barca were far off their best at Old Trafford yet still managed to get a result, and it is unlikely that Messi will be as off-colour as he was in Manchester. Expect United to offer more of an attacking threat at Camp Nou - it would be hard to do worse than the total of zero shots on target they managed in the first leg - but Barca will be fresh and ready." Barcelona 2-1 Manchester United.
90Min: "Valverde's side have looked dominant all season, and his key players will all be well-rested, meaning they should be ready to perform on Tuesday. They have lost just once at the Camp Nou this season, and they won't want a second defeat on their hands." Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United.
WhoScored: "You cannot completely write off United here after they overturned a bigger first leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round but it would be absolutely remarkable if they managed to knock Barcelona out on Tuesday." Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United.
Ernesto Valverde: "We will be true to our style but we are also aware of what they have in attack and the game can't become you attack us, we attack you. We don't want them to score but our game plan as always will be to try to score, anything else would be absurd."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "That memory of PSG will help the players. Us, as a team, we know we can turn things around. Barcelona is a difficult prospect. [PSG] is not that long ago and we are one goal better off [now]."
What do you expect from Barca tomorrow?