On the eve of the biggest game in the club football calendar, we have to ponder how Sir Alex Ferguson‘s men will overturn arguably the greatest side ever to play the game? Manchester United take on Barcelona at Wembley Stadium tomorrow night, in a game which will decide who will take home the Champions League crown.
The English side rarely go into a game as underdogs, but the majestic and mesmerising football that the likes of Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi play week in week out has placed United in an unusual position.
…getting the ball off two of the finest midfielders the world has ever seen…
The question on everybody’s mind is how United stop Barca’s pocket superstar, Messi. It will be the job of United’s midfield to stop the supply from getting to the Argentinian, which means getting the ball off two of the finest mid-fielders the world has ever seen in Xavi and Iniesta. The task for the likes of Park Ji-Sung, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia, if selected, will be to harass and break up the fluency of the Catalan giants, something which they failed to do in the Final in Rome two years ago.
The key to beating Barca, it seems, is an abundance of energy and concentration when sticking to the game plan. Manchester United are very good at both of those things under Sir Alex. Their never say die attitude may also be priceless in grabbing a late win.
…which will give hope to the Mexican that he can run riot.
Most of the build up to the game has been focused on how United will win. However Barca have some worries of their own. The partnership and movement of Rooney and Hernández can cause any team problems and with the “little pea” upfront United always seem like scoring. Mascherano is likely to play out of position at centre back, which will give hope to the Mexican that he can run riot.
Playing at Wembley will be like a home game for United who expect to have the majority of the support. The first goal for United will be vital, if it goes against them, turning the tide against this Barca side when they are on top is almost unheard of.
Both teams are gunning for their fourth European Cup and a repeat of their first triumphs which both took place at Wembley. Each side has a rich European history and whoever comes out on top will argue this is their finest achievement in Europe.
Valdes, Puyol, Piqué, Mascherano, Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Villa, Pedro.
Van der Sar, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, O’Shea, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Valencia, Rooney, Hernández.