Six reasons why Manchester United can threaten Barcelona



Barcelona will once again take on a side in the Champions League who bring back good memories.

The Blaugrana won the 2009 Champions League final 2-0 against Manchester United, and followed that up with a 3-1 victory over the same opponent in 2011.

However the Camp Nou also invokes good memories for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United’s head coach, as his 93rd minute goal, after Teddy Sheringham’s 91st minute leveller, won the Red Devils the 1999 Champions League final.

Now on the dugout, he will look to eliminate the Blaugrana after resurrecting the fortunes of United.

We look at the main dangers United pose to the Azulgrana.

Powerful in the air

If there is any area where United may have the edge, it is in height.

Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic are both 1.94 metres tall, Scott McTominay comes in at 1.93m, Paul Pogba is 1.91m, Romelu Lukaku is 1.90m, David de Gea stands at 1.89m, Victor Lindelof is 1.87m, along with Eric Bailly, while Marcus Rashford stands at 1.85m.

This superiority isn’t being translated into goals, though, and surprisingly they only have five goals across all competitions from headers.

Still, Barcelona next to be attentive.

They feel ‘invincible’

The victory at the Parc des Princes, with 10 injured players and having to overcome a 2-0 deficit, has been a tremendous boost to the confidence of the club.

Since the arrival of Solskjaer, the players have felt almost invincible and the numbers reflect it.

In 18 games in charge, he has overseen 14 wins, two draws and two defeats.

In addition, the team has faced plenty of stiff challenges, only losing to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, whilst beating Chelsea and Tottenham away, as well as drawing with Liverpool.

An outstanding Pogba

Pogba is the best example when it comes to analysing the individual growth of a player in the Solskjaer era.

With Jose Mourinho, he played 20 games as he scored five goals and provided four assists.

Under the Norwegian, however, he has eight goals and six assists in only 14 games, with Ander Herrera and Matic acting as his bodyguards and allowing him to have more freedom.

Journalists are beginning to run out of superlatives for the Frenchman.

A No. 9 or false 9?

It is the big question that Solskjaer has to answer between now and game time: bet on a false No. 9, such as a Jesse Lingard, or opt for a classic centre-forward in attack, like Lukaku?

As soon as he arrived, he put his faith in Lingard but Lukaku has taken advantage of the spate of injuries to stake his claim as he has six goals in his last four games, making it difficult to leave him out.

Lethal counterattack

United are not as reactive as they were under Mourinho.

They try to build for themselves, but it is evident that they still have problems in that regard with starting attacks.

Barcelona will take the initiative, while United wait for the slightest mistake to counterattack and go for the jugular.

They took advantage of three errors against PSG to score three goals with just four shots on goal.

When it comes to quickly moving through the paces, they have specialists in Lingard, Rashford, Anthony Martial, Lukaku and Pogba.

Safety between the sticks

The performance the Spaniard displayed in the 2018 World Cup shouldn’t be misleading.

David de Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and the world.

Not coincidentally, he has kept 100 clean sheets in the Premier League and is a four-time Player of the Year in Manchester.

The former Atletico Madrid ‘keeper wins games on his own and made an incredible 11 saves in his win over Tottenham.