Barcelona – Manchester Utd Predictions
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Barcelona 2-2 Manchester Utd
Date: 16.02.2023 | Match at: 18:45 | League: EUROPA LEAGUE – PLAY OFFS – 1/16-FINALS | Tip: Under 3.5 Goals | Odds: 1.46 | Bookie: Unibet.
Barcelona – Manchester Utd Predictions and Preview
- “Both deserve to be in the Champions League” was how Barcelona manager Xavi reacted at being paired with Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League (UEL) knockout play-offs. Barça dropped into the UEL from the Champions League (UCL) for a second consecutive season after finishing third in Group C behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. The Catalan side have since put that disappointment behind them by stitching together a 16-game unbeaten competitive run (W15, D1) that landed them the Supercopa de España title and a 11-point lead in La Liga after last weekend.
- Spotify Camp Nou is probably the best place for Barça to begin this two-legged tie, having lost just twice against English clubs in UEFA competitive home games (W22, D11). Their backline could be the one leading the charge for another positive result, after they conceded a meagre eight goals from 14 home matches this season, albeit with seven coming in Europe!
- United missed out on topping UEL Group E by goal difference to Real Sociedad, and complicating matters is the suspension of defensive lynchpin Lisandro Martínez for this opening leg. That could have crippled United teams of the recent past, but manager Erik ten Hag has drilled his side into a competitive unit that is now third in the Premier League and has lost just once across 17 competitive matches (W14, D2) whilst managing eight clean sheets along the way.
- The Red Devils are on a five-match winning run in Europe and could post six such victories in a row for the first time since 1965/66! That should spur the visitors who have been troubled by Spanish teams in the past, having not only lost four straight UEFA H2Hs vs Barça, but after also witnessing their last five European campaigns end at the hands of Spanish clubs!
- Players to watch: Robert Lewandowski could become the third player to aggregate 100 goals in UEFA club competitions as he stands just a brace away from the record. He has actually netted a brace in six of his last nine goal-scoring appearances in UEFA matches, but United’s Marcus Rashford could take the limelight away. The visiting forward is in red-hot form after contributing 17 goals (G13, A4) in 15 matches since the World Cup.
- Hot stat: Barcelona have won just two of their last 11 UEFA home games (D4, L5) conceding 3+ goals on six occasions.