In one of the most hotly-anticipated matches, Barcelona will lock horns with Manchester United in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League playoffs at Camp Nou on Thursday night.
Both teams have built up some good momentum heading into this blockbuster encounter, but Barça might have the edge owing to their terrific home record as well as the fact that they are in a much better shape injury-wise than Erik ten Hag’s side.
Indeed, the Premier League giants are without as many as seven players for the Barcelona clash due to injuries and suspensions.
Antony, Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, and Anthony Martial are out on the sidelines while Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are suspended.
But, there is some boost for Manchester United as Casemiro is available for selection, having missed the Premier League encounter against Leeds United due to a three-match ban. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also back after recovering from an illness.
Ahead of this high-profile fixture coming our way from Camp Nou, Barça Universal looks at how Manchester United could line up against Xavi’s men.
David de Gea is an undisputed starter in goal for Manchester United and has put in some clutch performances over the course of the season. However, he does not have the best of records at Camp Nou, something he will be hoping to address.
Despite the return of Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot, a former transfer target for Barcelona, should get the nod at right-back. Raphael Varane will return at the heart of the defence after being benched against Leeds.
With Lisandro Martinez out, Erik ten Hag might opt to field Luke Shaw as the left-sided centre-half, a move that he has tried to a good degree of success earlier this season, leaving Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof on the bench. Tyrell Malacia would then be the left-back.
Casemiro is an undisputed starter in the middle of the park for Manchester United. The former Real Madrid midfielder will look to get one over his old Clasico rivals. With no Christian Eriksen, Fred becomes the obvious partner in the middle for the Red Devils.
Bruno Fernandes will don the creative hat as usual starting in the No. 10 role for Manchester United, behind the main striker Wout Weghorst. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford is a certainty to start as well, slotting in on the left flank, where he might have to battle Ronald Araujo.
Jadon Sancho has only recently returned to the team after a spell away and has looked bright in spots. While Alejandro Garnacho will be pushing for a start, the more experienced Englishman could get the nod.
Rashford · Fernandes · Sancho
Fred · Casemiro
Malacia · Shaw · Varane · Dalot
Alejandro Garnacho has made a great impact almost every time he has come on as a substitute and is certain to get minutes off the bench if he is not starting. Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri could come on if United need more attacking impetus.
It will also not come as a surprise to see Ten Hag decide to move Luke Shaw to the left-back spot in the latter stages by introducing Victor Lindelof.