Manchester United have a huge challenge on their hands this evening as we’re at the Camp Nou looking to overturn a 0-1 deficit against Barcelona in our Champions League quarter-final tie.
We failed to produce a single shot on target in the first leg but the Spanish La Liga runaway leaders weren’t overly impressive, so repeating what we did to Paris Saint-Germain last month isn’t out of the question.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without the suspended Luke Shaw, whilst Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are still injured. However, the boss does have more players available than a week ago for the first leg.
Here’s the team I think we’ll see lining up in Spain:
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
Nothing our goalkeeper could do with the own goal last week and David de Gea had limited work to do overall. However, Barcelona’s front three can expect to find space on the counter-attack this evening so de Gea should be in for a busy evening.
Defence: Diogo Dalot, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Ashley Young
Diogo Dalot should drop to right-back this evening to match up against Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele as Ole has more attacking players available for the second leg. The Portuguese youngster started the first leg down the right wing. Luke Shaw’s suspension will see Ashley Young move across to left-back as Marcos Rojo was very poor in this role over the weekend. Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will resume their partnership in the middle of our back four.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba; Jesse Lingard
Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay will provide the anchor in midfield that will be looking to prevent Ivan Rakitic and co delivering the ball to the front three. Lionel Messi likes to drop into a central role to collect the ball too. Paul Pogba should be given a more free role to attack but the French international failed to show up in the first leg. Jesse Lingard is the link between the midfield and strikers and his pace could be useful on any counter-attacks.
Attack: Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford
Ole has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez is available again but I certainly don’t expect to see him in the starting lineup. I think the Chilean and Anthony Martial will both be available from the bench. Romelu Lukaku is a target man to hold up the ball and bring teammates into play, whilst also being a great threat in front of goal. Marcus Rashford’s pace should cause Barcelona problems if we get the ball up to him, but don’t be surprised to see the youngster drift out to the left wing.
Here’s our team on paper: