Manchester United vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League fixture. Read on for analysis and predicted lineups as the Catalan giants travel to England.
|Date||Thursday 23rd February 2023|
|Kick-Off||20:00 (local time)|
|Competition||UEFA Europa League|
Manchester United vs Barcelona Preview
Manchester United and Barcelona lock horns again for the 2nd Leg of what has already been a captivating Europa League tie. It’s 2-2 following an entertaining 1st Leg in Catalunya and neutrals will be hoping for more of the same here.
Marcos Alonso gave Barcelona the lead in the 50th minute last week but United were ahead by the hour mark thanks to quickfire goals, only for Raphinha’s cross to find its way into the back of the net late on. There could easily have been more goals for both sides, but Manchester United will be the happier team as they return to Old Trafford level pegging.
The Red Devils will be looking to in-form Marcus Rashford to spearhead their challenge again here. The England international is playing the best football of his career and will be hoping to give the Barcelona defence another difficult night. Rashford netted two more goals as United saw off Leicester 3-0 in the Premier League at the weekend, although there were opportunities for the visitors in that game and there’s plenty of reason to think Barcelona will score in Manchester on Thursday night.
This will not be Barcelona’s first choice XI though with Pedri and Gavi both absent and both really significant absentees despite their young age. With Ousmane Dembele still sidelined, Xavi will have some selection decisions to make. He picked Eric Garcia, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Ferran Torres in the weekend win over Cadiz with his fringe players getting some useful minutes.
Some of those players will be needed again here given the selection problems but it may be tough for Barcelona to still find the same level, particularly without Pedri who remains key to their creative midfield play. It feels like a particularly big night for Frenkie de Jong as a result, not least given the Dutchman turned down a move to Old Trafford last summer.
Score Prediction: Man United 2-1 Barcelona (AGG: 4-3)
This would be a tough game for Barcelona at the best of times, but they are missing key players with Pedri and Gavi sidelined while Robert Lewandowski has looked someway off his best since the World Cup. Barcelona’s recent away European record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either so they’ll do well to make it through on Thursday against a much improved United side.
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