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Champions League: Man United vs Barcelona preview

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Manchester United host Barcelona at in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday night in a fixture which brings the Catalan giants to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in 11 years.

The Spanish heavyweights have all but wrapped up the La Liga league title after 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the weekend but it’s the Champions League they want the most and they will be keen for a positive result in this first leg.

Manchester United stunned PSG in the previous round to make it to this stage and will have to be at their very best once again with Lionel Messi, who has scored 43 goals in 40 games this season.

Suarez, Coutinho and Dembele are the other stars who will keep United defenders on their toes.

On their last visit at O.T, the tie was decided by just one goal – an unforgettable strike from Paul Scholes – but this time around Ole has claimed he could see the ball finding the back of the net on a few more occasions, given the attacking resources available to both sides.

The Red Devils will look up to the attacking options of Paul Pogba, Mata, Martial, Rashford and Lukaku to step up and deliver a great performance.

Key Stats

This is the first Champions League meeting between Barcelona and Manchester United since the 2011 final, which Barcelona won 3-1 at Wembley.

Manchester United have never lost a home European match against Barcelona (W2 D2 L0), with this is the first meeting between the sides at Old Trafford since the second leg of the 2007-08 Champions League semi-final, a 1-0 win for the Red Devils..

Manchester United have won two of their last 11 Champions League knockout ties (W2 D3 L6), failing to win either of their quarter-final games in the 2013-14 season under David Moyes against Bayern Munich.

Since Chelsea eliminated Barcelona in the 2011-12 semi-final, English teams have been eliminated in 10 of their last 11 Champions League knockout ties against Spanish sides – the exception was Leicester City against Sevilla in the last 16 in 2016-17..

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 Champions League goals in 30 appearances against English teams – more than any other player in the history of the competition.

Lionel Messi has failed to score in any of his last 11 Champions League quarter-final appearances for Barcelona; since netting against PSG in April 2013, the Argentinian forward has attempted 49 shots without success at this stage of the competition.

Form:

Man United: LWLLWWWDWL

Barcelona: WDWWWWWWWD

Possible line-ups:

Man United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelöf, Shaw; Matić, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial

Out: Bailly (concussion), Darmian (unknown), Sánchez (knee), Valencia (fitness)

Doubtful: Herrera (unknown), Matić (unknown), Rashford (ankle)

Misses next match if booked: Herrera, Matić, Shaw, Valencia, Young

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Arthur, Busquets, Rakitić; Messi, Suárez

Out: Rafinha (knee)

Doubtful: Dembélé (hamstring)

Misses next game if booked: Semedo.

The return leg will be played on Tuesday, 16 April in Camp Nou. The aggregate winner over both legs will have to face the winner between Liverpool and Porto in semis.

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