Barcelona and Manchester United will be facing each other at Old Trafford in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League playoffs, after an intense first leg at Camp Nou.
After a successful weekend in their respective domestic leagues, both Barcelona and Manchester United head into the second leg. Barcelona defeated Cadiz 2-0 at home, thanks to outstanding performances from Ferran Torres, Roberto and Lewandowski, while Manchester United defeated Leicester City 3-0 at Old Trafford.
- Barcelona has won all ten of their away games in all competitions, while United has won nine of their last ten home games.
- Manchester United hasn’t beaten Barcelona since the 2007/08 UCL semifinals, though Barcelona has only won once in their last five visits to Old Trafford. (1W, 2L, 2D)
- Manchester United have only lost two of their last eleven European games at Old Trafford, both against Spanish opponents.
- Although this is Lewandowski’s 2nd game against United, he has 17 goal contributions against English teams in 18 games. However, when it comes to Europa league Lewandowski has only scored one goal in his past twelve appearances (6 each with Lech Poznan and Dortmumd) and has never progressed through the RO32.
- Marcus Rashford of Manchester United is averaging a goal every 76 minutes in the 2022/23 Europa League.
Sergio Busquets returns to the team after medical clearance, whereas Pedri will miss the game due to the thigh injury sustained in the first leg. Beside that, Gavi will miss the game due to suspension, and Alacon, who was part of the squad for the first leg, has been excluded from the trip to Old Trafford.
For Manchester United, Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are available after missing the first leg due to suspensions and McTominay who missed the first leg due to injury may return. However, Maguire, Antony, Martial still remain doubtful while Eriksen and van de Beek will also miss the game.
Xavi was heavily criticized for starting Alba and Alonso instead of our usual defense in the first leg. Since this is a must-win game for Barcelona, Xavi will most likely to start Kounde – Araujo – Christensen – Balde, with Ter Stegen in goal.
With Barcelona’s star midfield duo – Pedri and Gavi – missing, there are questions lingering about who should start in this herculean task. As things stand, Busquets and Roberto are expected to start alongside De Jong.
Following a great game against Cadiz, Ferran is expected to make it to the starting XI along with Raphinha and Lewandowski. However, Xavi will have to make a tough choice on left winger since both Raphinha and Ferran have achieved success in the right flank.
Another mouthwatering matchup awaits us between two emerging strategists, and this will be a great opportunity to put our midfield depth to the test. The winner will remain in the competition, while the loser will be nullified.
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