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Barcelona vs Manchester United

clfinallogo.jpgWith the final less than 24 hours away FMU will be bringing you all the latest news ahead of the match. To start our coverage off we have produced a prematch report with everything you need to know about the two teams. Keep checking back on the site for more views and news.

Barcelona vs Manchester United

Wednesday 27th May 2009

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

19:45 BST

 Barca kit man utd kit

Intro

United will go into the final with The World Club Championship, Carling Cup and Premiership to their names already and will be looking to make it 4. Barcelona meanwhile will be looking to emulate Man Utd’s treble success in ’99 with the Copa del ray and La Liga tied up. Both teams domestic success has meant they are able to rest their teams in their final match of the season ahead of Wednesday night. With all the stars rested and prepared the stage is set for the ‘perfect final’.

Team news

Barcelona will have more cause for concern coming into the match with injuries and suspensions taking their toll at this crucial time. Henry and Iniesta are both facing a race against time to be fit for the final, the former having been out since the 2nd of May and Iniesta injured his thigh 2 weeks ago.

The Spanish team also have Marquez out for the season which limits the players available in defence with Abidal and Alves both suspended after picking up yellow cards in the 2nd leg of the semi.

Manchester United also have problems in defence, with Fergie anxiously waiting on the fitness of Rio Ferdinand who has missed the last 4 games with a calf injury. In today’s press conference the English defender did however declare himself fit. The impressive Jonny Evans is available to step in should Ferdinand not make it however. The only other injuries are to long term casualties Ben Foster and Owen Hargreaves.

Darren Fletcher’s unsuccessful appeal against his red card he received versus Arsenal also rules him out although he wasn’t a certain starter.

Form guide

All competitions

Barcelona: WDDWLL

Man Utd: WWWWDW

Champions League

Barcelona: DWWDDD

Man Utd: DWDWWW

United would appear to be in far superior form at a quick glance however it needs to be remembered that Barça have had the luxury of resting their first team players for their last two matches having already won La Liga. It can’t be denied though that Man Utd have had the better of the Champions League results and are on a 25 match unbeaten run in the competition. Barcelona have been in more stuttering form, drawing both legs of their semi-final’s against Chelsea requiring a late Iniesta goal to take them through on the away goals rule.

Manchester United have the upper hand when it comes to head to heads they have met 10 times with the red devils winning 3 of them and drawing 4. Their last meeting saw United book their place in the 2008 final, with Paul Scholes hitting a scorching winner in the second leg at Old Trafford, after Barcelona failed to penetrate their visitors back line in the first leg at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona have also won only 1 of their last 8 meetings with English sides, while 5 of the last 6 matches have ended in 0-0 when United have met with Spanish opposition, the exception being of course the 1-0  victory last season. The full Anglo-Spanish record is as follows:

Barcelona: W20 D17 L15

Man Utd:  W10 D16 L11

Players to watch

The attention will be on arguably the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The small Argentinean was winning accolades from all quarters earlier in the season and has notched up a record 37 goals in all competitions this season. Ronaldo was struggling to find his form when he first came back after missing the start of the campaign recovering from an ankle injury. In recent months however Ronaldo has found the form that made him World Player of the Year with a screaming 40 yard winner against his old club Porto followed by another 40 yard goal from a free kick against Arsenal in the second leg of their semi final.

 

 Ronaldo   Messi

Season 08/09 competition stats

4 Champions League goals (25in all competitions)

8 Champions League goals (37 in all competitions)

2 Champions League assists

5 Champions League assists

32 shots on target, 21 off target

11 shots on target 13 off target

920 minutes

837 minutes

36 fouls suffered

23 fouls suffered

1 Yellow card

1 Yellow card

To name just two players to watch in a match of such standing would be foolish and there will be battles all over the pitch with Wayne Rooney looking to present a case for a possible Ballon d’Or nomination while Gerard Pique will be looking to get one over on his former club.

There will be battles all over the pitch, we have produced an article having a more in depth look at this part of the match, click here to read a full profile of the expected battles on the pitch.

Line ups and predictions

People are expecting an open game but both sides know that the other side possess such attacking quality that if they commit too many men forward they will be especially vulnerable on the break. Man Utd’s defence is unquestionably the stronger of the two teams, not least aided by injuries or suspensions to 3 of Barcelona’s first choice defenders. For this reason it would seem likely United will be happier to sit back than Barca who must feel their best chance comes in getting the first goal and forcing the red devils to open themselves up a bit more as they chase the game.

Line ups:

Barcelona: Valdes; Puyol, Piqué, Touré, Syvinho; Keita, Iniesta, Xavi; Messi, Henry, Eto’o

Man Utd: Van der Sar; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Park, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney; Ronaldo.

Prediction: Barcelona 0 – 2 Man Utd

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