4-5-1? 3-5-2? Whadda they do?

So, do Manchester United have a chance against Barcelona?

As you were?

Two years ago The Spoiler was sat in a pub with seven friends (no, really) all of whom had a cheeky little punt on Manchester United to beat Barcelona in the final of the Champions League.

‘Can’t see Barca troubling them,’ they said. ‘I can see this being three-nil to United,’ they predicted. Well, they were wrong, Barca (the first 15 minutes aside) were far too good for United and won it.

Will it be even more convincing this time?

When Gordon Strachan wasn’t trying to avoid looking directly at Adrian Chiles, he spent the rest of his time on the ITV sofa last night saying how Barca were the best team he’s ever seen. United are out at around 12/5 with Ladbrokes and some other bookies to win in 90 minutes – that can’t have happened very often?

Sir Alex Ferguson is not getting too worried though and is even pilfering tips that worked so well for Jose Mourinho. Fergie said:

“I don’t think we should be going there lacking in confidence.

“We are playing a fantastic team but we can’t be frightened out of our skins. Their form is there for everyone to see. Our job is to find a solution.

“I speak to Mourinho quite a lot. I think we will depend on our own knowledge of Barcelona. It’s not as if we haven’t seen them before. We’ve watched them many times this season.

“But the experience Real Madrid have from Jose’s angle, you always take information from him like that because he is very helpful in that way.”

Anyway, the skinny is this – Barca are amazing, Man Utd less so.

One Man Utd fan at Spoiler HQ reckons they should just go out there and play how they normally play – they might get stuffed but if they can’t win playing that way, they sure as shite won’t win any other way.

But what does he know? What do you think? Does it even matter? Is it a foregone conclusion? Let us know with a comment below…

13 responses so far
  • Jose // May 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Agreed, play the same way. Their back 4 need testing, rooney chicarito nani and valencia will occupy them. also, forces one of their midfielders to come back and help the defence. when rooney drops off it’s like playing an 2 and a half centre mid’s. then play direct, when we get the ball just get it wide fast and have a go at them. oh… and hope messi doesn’t get the ball

  • chipulu littleson // May 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    we can only beat barca if we go to wembley to play attackin football.lets hope we dont make the same mistake maurinho made in the first leg.with 11 men each barca is beatable.mind u we are manchester united we dont fear any one.mau 4 life

  • TOM_UGANDA // May 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    hopefully and tactically man utd will win barca unless they decide 2 play a defensive game. with a twin of rooney and chicarito plus likes of their better defence than barca and speedy wingers; nani and valencia; man utd will make it.

  • Xavi Hernandez // May 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Lol, you have to be joking to think united have a chance. Chicarito going up against the likes of puyol and pique?? lol, good one. Alves gonna destroy Nani on the wing, then Vidic will have a red card by half time for repeated fouling on Messi, after all its the only way to stop him…

  • Josie // May 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    With all due respect, it is not like Mourinho had consistent success against Barca. Tactics are a wonderful thing, but if the talent isn’t there to execute the tactics it is not going to be successful.

    I just don’t think the present Man United team has the skills particularly in the midfield to deal with Barca. I think the match will start out tight, but once Barca draws first blood it will be a stampede of attacks with the Manu midfield being mauled in the process.

    I think Nani is probably the only midfielder that can handle both the pace and the foot skills. There are Manu U players that can handle the pace, but don’t have quick enough foot skills to keep the ball. And then there are players like Berbatov that have the skills but can’t handle the pace.

    I just can’t see Man U getting out of this alive.

  • Linda // May 6, 2011 at 1:56 am

    I completely agree with Josie. Man Utd.’s midfield is their weakest feature and Barca’s greatest strength.
    Meanwhile Vidic and Ferdinand are mostly about muscling and heading away which certainly won’t work against a team that is so skillful with their feet and rarely sends the ball off the ground. There will be a lot of trip-ups in that box, Barca will be counting on it.
    As with Real and Cassillas, counter attacks and Van der Saar’s brilliance are the only hope to stem the tide. That and their amazzing ability to keep urgenccy and focus to the very end.

  • t10n // May 6, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Have a go at them and play the same you do week in week out. The closest Barca came to getting knocked out was vs Arsenal, and had it not been for a shite touch from Bendtner they probably would have been.

    Let’s be honest Mourinhos tactics didnt look like working for 1 of the 180 minutes they played. All drama aside Barca were comfortable in the tie.

    Pretty simple then, attacking them has seen them at their most vulnerable, changing the way you play to try and stop them has seen them at ease.

  • Josie // May 6, 2011 at 3:39 am

    The thing is I wouldn’t feel this strongly about this if it wasn’t for last Sunday. The Arsenal team are Barca-lite and they beat Man U.

    To me that does not bode well when opposing Barca. Manchester United is more effective when playing against teams that play more direct football. Not the stuff that Barca does.

  • Simon // May 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I had forgotten about Messi’s header. I’m sure the youngest son of the shortest United player was taller than him. He could walk under VdS legs. But he still scored a header.

  • Lionel Messi // May 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Guys! Stop saying Arsenal are a mini-Barcelona! They are not! totally different players, defenders, and attackerd!

    Shut up!

  • Mr Willy // May 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Barca Lite?

    At least Arsenal had the b@lls to attack Barcelona and play their own game instead of spending the entire 90+ min in their own half trying to maintain the onslaught that Barca bring and then hope to get a lucky break on the counter which some of these so called giants of football have been doing against them.

  • iycc // May 6, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    You know, from a certain point of view, Mourinho’s Real tactics v. Barcelona were on as to how win over 2 legs.

    What I saw in the Real Barca 1st leg was that Mourinho was looking for 0-0. If it had ended 0-0, then it would be a game of who scores first in the 2nd leg, or PK. And first off, I won’t claim that at Camp Nou, Barca would feel more pressure to score than Real, and vice versa. Likewise, I won’t say that going into PK favors either team, but I cant recall the last time Barca went into a PK situation. Mourinho may have been confident that besides the Ronaldo choke against Chelsea, he had Ronaldo and Kaka guaranteed as PKs, as much as Messi and David Villa. In Mourinho’s shoes, you think that is 2/2 for either side, and look at the last 3 spots, do you feel more confident as a coach with a combination of Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Dani Alves, Sergi Busquets taking your PKs to get to the finals, or Marcelo, Xabi Alonso (Istanbul 2005), mesut osil, gonzalo higuain, angel di maria. Mourinho may have felt confident he could take it this way, with odds of 2/3 (well not 2/3s because you cant quantify scoring goals and going into PK on the same scale mathematically, but human minds are amazing things). An ordinary person in his shoes, reasonably evaluating his chances, would likely take 2/3 chance of success. (this is of course premised on a 0-0 scoreline in the 1st leg)

    Again this is only one way of seeing it.

    And I don’t think you look for a lucky break at this level of professionalism. Sure the opposing players might misplace a pass, but positionally you have to be there to intercept, break, and finish.

    Right, one last thing. I can have the balls to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. My friend Barca does it all the time to impress his girl, and he’s always alive and kicking when he hits the floor. However, that doesn’t mean jumping out of a plane without a parachute to impress your girl will work for you. The beautiful game is the beautiful game because it can be played anywhere, at anytime, with anybody. How to win while playing the beautiful game though, that’s the beauty of tactics.

  • John // May 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Barcelona have a great midfield but United’s midfield is pretty dam good too just different style. Don’t forget the Gigg’s footwork it’s equal to Barcelona and park is so feisty he’ll hassle them into errors, put that together with Nani and fletcher who’s brilliant plus Valencia sure their midfield has a chance.

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