Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will impress on his team that they need to take advantage of the fact they face Barcelona in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg clash at Old Trafford. Keeping a clean sheet against the likes of Messi and Suarez will be a tough ask for the defensive unit, however the newly appointed manager knows better than anyone about upsets in big European nights. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the game and if value is what you are after, head over to our FanBoosts section and have a look at our enhanced odds for the game.
United Need To Make Home Advantage Count
United have lost three of their four outings since sending PSG reeling out of the competition in the previous round, though each defeat came on the road and they’ll feel they have a chance at home to a Barcelona outfit that can slip up on occasion, and especially away from the Camp Nou.
The Catalans took 85 minutes to break the deadlock hosting Atletico Madrid in their last game, despite Diego Simeone’s outfit playing with 10 men from the 28th minute onwards, while their previous fixture saw them go 2-0 up before conceding four times at Villarreal, eventually rescuing an extraordinary 4-4 stalemate.
In fact, they’ve only won half of their last 10 on the road, while in Europe they’re just W3-D5-L1 since the beginning of last season on their travels, as their last away knockout win came versus Arsenal over three years ago now.
Both Sides Injury Free
The 3-1 victory United managed in Paris was made all the more remarkable by an injury crisis at the time, but while those issues have mostly cleared up in the intervening period, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford are the two potential starters of slight concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, both are expected to be fit, though it’s also good news for Barcelona on the injury front as well with Ousmane Dembele reportedly fit enough to make the bench.
He’ll be a powerful weapon to unleash upon tired legs in the closing stages, supplementing the threat provided by experienced duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – who both arrive in fine form.
Messi In Fine Form
Indeed, the Argentinian maestro in particular is wreaking havoc at present, netting 26 goals in 22 club appearances since mid-December, while he’s plundered 12 goals in his last seven starts against English opposition since 2015/16, netting decisive goals as he’s been responsible for the first or last on each occasion. In fact, in the 13 matches where he’s scored versus English sides throughout his entire career, he’s bagged either first or last goal (or indeed both) 12 times.
The Red Devils’ fall from grace has seen them miss out on regular participation at the sharp end of Europe’s premier club competition and the last time they faced Barcelona their ageing team was outclassed 3-1 by in the 2011 final.
With the previous meeting another win for the Catalans during the showpiece event in 2009 – back when Cristiano Ronaldo was a United player – we wouldn’t read too much into those clashes with Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Antonio Valencia the only survivors from that era in the present day and age.
Manchester United v Barcelona Betting Tips
However, although these two haven’t squared off in recent years, Barca have still won four of six trips to England since 2013/14.
Their sole defeat came against Man City in the 2016/17 group stages, perhaps unsurprisingly with Pep Guardiola more familiar and attuned to their tactics than anyone else as the Barca DNA courses through his veins.
The Catalans have kept just two clean sheets in 12 trips to England since 2007/08 though, and with United regularly finding the net under Solskjaer, both teams to score has an inevitable feel to it.
Given United’s current spell of form combined with a squad lacking in continental experience relative to the Spanish giants, the enhanced odds surround the away win and both teams to score looks highly attractive.
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