Barcelona vs Manchester United UEFA Europa League
Date: 16 February 2023, Thursday
Kick-off at 20:30 UK / 21:30 CET
Venue: Stadium Emirates
On Thursday, Barcelona will host Manchester United at Spotify Camp Nou with both clubs aiming to advance to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League.
After a break of more than three months, the UEFA Europa League returns this week. But a few teams must make the Round of 16 in order for the knockout stage to begin.
The most anticipated matchup of the play-off stage will feature Barcelona and Manchester United, with El Camp Nou hosting the first leg on Thursday night.
After placing third in the Champions League’s death group, Barcelona was eliminated and was forced to compete in the UEFA Europa League for the second consecutive year.
The Blaugrana’s failure to defeat Bayern Munich and Inter Milan was disastrous.
Yet, they have excelled at home, winning the Spanish Super Cup and establishing a significant lead over Real Madrid in the La League standings.
Manchester United, on the other hand, was unable to displace Real Sociedad in the Europa League group stage.
Despite having the same number of points, La Real had a higher goal differential.
But the Red Devils have made progress in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, showing encouraging signs in domestic tournaments.
In the Premier League rankings, they are only five points behind Arsenal.
The most recent European meeting between Barcelona and Manchester United ended in a 4-0 Barcelona victory on aggregate, with the Red Devils failing to advance past the quarterfinals of the 2018–19 Champions League.
In advance of the most recent meeting between the two sides, The dilta takes a closer look at the clash.
Barcelona vs Manchester United Head to head :
These two teams have clashed in two Champions League Finals, and both times the Spanish side emerged with the win.
And in recent years as well, the Catalans have been the better team in h2h clashes.
In fact, Barca are on a four-fixture winning streak against this opponent, and scored two or more goals in three of these games.
Barcelona vs Manchester United Prediction :
Barcelona’s defense may be the toughest in all of Europe; they have kept more clean sheets than any other team in the top five leagues in that continent.
But, they have inadvertently revealed a soft side in recent UEFA Champions League and Europa League campaigns.
And on Thursday, the energized Marcus Rashford will want to take advantage of that.
Barcelona, however, will prevail in the midfield duel. So, Robert Lewandowski will be in a position to make the difference in the last third.
Moreover, the home team should possess enough talent to win the first leg by a slim margin.
Barcelona will prevail by a score of 2-1, according to The dilta, with Manchester United still alive in the match going into the second leg.
Barcelona vs Manchester United Team News :
Due to hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, Barcelona will be missing important players Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Busquets for both legs of their Europa League playoff match.
Gavi, Ferran Torres, or Ansu Fati could play on the left wing in Dembele’s absence, joining top scorer Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha in the front three.
Gavi is another option to replace the injured Busquets in the middle of the field, but Franck Kessie received the nod to start last time out with Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, and the Ivorian may keep that spot on Thursday.
Xavi is unlikely to make many, if any, changes to his defense, which has so far this season kept 16 more clean sheets than any other team in Europe’s top five divisions.
But, he might think about switching Alejandro Balde out for veteran left-back Jordi Alba.
While Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are both suspended, Man United will be without Donny van de Beek (knee), Christian Eriksen (ankle), Anthony Martial (hip), Scott McTominay (muscle), and Antony (leg) due to injuries.
However, Casemiro, who was suspended for the previous two Premier League games, is now available for selection.
He will team up with fellow countryman Fred in center-midfield.
Instead of Harry Maguire at center back, Ten Hag might think about keeping Jadon Sancho on the right wing, where he would join Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Wout Weghorst in attack.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Alba; Pedri, De Jong, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Shaw, Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst