Manchester United welcomes Barcelona to Old Trafford for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final on April 10.
Manchester United vs Barcelona preview
The last time these two sides met in the Champions League was in the final of its 2011 edition at the Wembley and the Catalan side absolutely steamrolled Sir Alex Ferguson's men. 8 years moved from that night, United is a shadow of their glory days while Barcelona still has the genius of Lionel Messi to bank upon.
The Argentine returns to Old Trafford 11 years after his side was knocked by a Paul Scholes blinder in the 2008 Champions League semifinal. United went on to win the continental competition that season. Since then, Messi played a friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal at the venue and was heavily booed given his opposite number's exploits in Manchester. Perhaps Messi does arrive with a chip on his shoulder and thus, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will have their task cut out on the night.
After a rollicking start to his managerial tenure, the Norwegian has suffered three defeats recently which has knocked United out of the FA Cup and put their top four chances in jeopardy. But Solskjaer has talked in glorious nostalgia about the sense of occasion that accompanies big European nights at Old Trafford and he will require all the abstracts materialising on Wednesday night for United to upstage their Spanish rivals.
United has not been good at home in Europe this season but travelling away they have beaten the competition's elites in Juventus and PSG. The latter was famously upstaged with a stoppage-time penalty in one of the greatest continental comebacks to carry United through to the quarterfinal.
Barcelona comes into this clash on the back of four victories and one draw in their last five matches. Meanwhile, United has lost three of their last five. The home side also has a few injury concerns to deal with as chief game breaker Ander Herrera is likely to miss the tie and along with him, Nemanja Matic also missed United's final training session. For Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele will have to pass a late fitness test to make it to the final matchday squad.
Manchester United: David De Gea; Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba; Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku
Barcelona: Marc Andre Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur Melo; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Phillipe Coutinho
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