Wednesday, April 10 – 8:00p.m Local time – Old Trafford, Manchester, United Kingdom
Manchester United may have inveigled their way through to the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League when they outwitted Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16, but there won’t be a magic wand big enough to relinquish the challenge that lies in wait.
United are poised to play host to Barcelona on Wednesday night in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal; with the second and most decisive leg to the settled next week at the Camp Nou.
Despite having a tough match in the run up to their trip to England, Barca warmed up for the encounter with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the La Liga over the weekend. Diego Simeone’s charges were expected to provide stern opposition; something they did for much of the encounter until the attacking duo of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi struck late in the match to decide the contest.
It looked like an evenly matched tie, given Atletico’s high defensive discipline, up until the match turned on its head in the 27th minute. Feeling aggrieved after center referee Jesús Gil Manzano failed to award an advantage play, Diego Costa vented his frustrations at the match official; possibly uttering profanities that led to an immediate dismissal through a red card.
Although it wasn’t Diego Costa’s finest hour, Atletico still managed to maintain their shape, and even looked to be on the verge of salvaging something out of the match thanks to a series of acrobatic saves by Jan Oblak; until they were undone by the individual brilliance of Suarez and Messi.
Left-back Jordi Alba made a brilliant run on the left flank before cutting the ball back to Suarez; with the former Liverpool striker setting himself up before tucking in a low shot from 25 yards that sailed under the arms of the Slovenian goalkeeper and into the back of the net—five minutes to stoppage time.
Matters quickly escalated from bad to worse in under a minute, as Lionel Messi struck the second goal to secure maximum points in the fiery encounter. Having been set through on the right flank, the Argentine didn’t need much help after that, as he cut inside and danced his way past two defenders before simply guiding the leather into the back of the net in the 86th minute.
With that, Messi had scored his 33rd La Liga goal of the season whereas the outcome enabled the league leaders to collect 73 points; going 11 points clear of second placed Atletico Madrid.
Manchester United may be heading into the mouthwatering tie with Barcelona with a well rested squad having last taken to the turf a week ago against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but it is the outcome of that encounter that has undoubtedly haunted them in the build up to Barca’s visit of Old Trafford.
Despite being off to a flying start thanks to Scott McTominay’s low flying shot from long range after 13 minutes, United let the lead slip away 12 minutes later through an ice-cold finish by Diogo Jota.
Evidently struggling to keep up with the high tempo at the Molineux Stadium, United crumbled after skipper Ashley Young was sent for an early shower having collected his second yellow card of the match in the 57th minute.
Wolves in the end went on to claim a 2-1 win over the visitors, albeit through a Chris Smalling own goal in the 77thh minute after a goalmouth melee. The defeat, which was their second against Wolves in two weeks, saw United drop to sixth on the log; two points behind Arsenal in fifth, and three points behind fourth placed Chelsea.
Lionel Messi odds and specials vs Manchester United
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Messi to score 1st half||+250 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Messi to score/Barca to win||+162 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Lionel Messi is hands down the greatest footballer of his generation. The 31-year old has scored a staggering 41 goals in all competitions this season; further playing a part in 15 goals for his club in this campaign.
Barca seemed to be thrown out of kilter when Messi sustained a groin injury during Argentina’s 3-1 defeat to Venezuela in the most recent international break, but the calibrated genius came back flying and firing, as he inspired Barcelona to a 2-0 win over Espanyol—scoring both goals.
There is no describing the kind of nightmare the Manchester United defenders are going to endure against perhaps the most naturally gifted footballer of all time.
Manchester United vs. F.C Barcelona match result betting
Ole Gunner Solskjaer and Mike Phelan, United’s first and second in command, witnessed Barcelona’s first hand brutality when they watched their match against Atletico Madrid from the stands at the Camp Nou.
Old Trafford is, by and large, expected to be in full voice on Wednesday night, and the hosts will strive to contain the visitors during the opening half, but Barcelona have done this kind of thing quite too often not to leave Old Trafford with a win.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Draw 1st half/Barca to win 2nd half||+400 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Manchester United vs. F.C Barcelona recent results
Barcelona 3-1 Man United (May 28, 2011)
Lionel Messi 54’
David Villa 69’
Wayne Rooney 34’
Barcelona 2-0 Man United (May 27, 2009)
Samuel Eto’o 10’
Lionel Messi 70’
Man Utd 1-0 Barcelona (April 29, 2008)
Paul Scholes 14’
Barcelona 0-0 Man United (April 23, 2008)
Man United 3-3 Barcelona September (16, 1998)
Ryan Giggs 16’
Paul Scholes 24’
David Beckham 63’
Sonny Andreson 47’
Giovanni 59’ (P)
Luis Enrique 70’ (P)
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