Manchester United vs Barcelona: Match Preview | UEFA Europa League 2022/23

Alric Fernandes
By Alric Fernandes
7 Min Read

Manchester United host Barcelona in their second-leg UEFA Europa League knockout tie later today as both teams look to move further into the competition. Following a thrilling 2-2 result at Camp Nou, both teams will be keen on performing to the best of their abilities at Old Trafford as both managers remain keen on securing European silverware at the end of their respective campaigns.

Having been amongst the most consistent sides across Europe following the end of the World Cup, Erik Ten Hag’s side will look to secure a compelling victory on home turf. Having succeeded in taking the game to the opposition in the first leg, the Red Devils will be keen on avoiding a hiccup on Thursday as they remain amongst the favourites to move further into the competition ahead of the fixture.

On the other hand, expected to face a resolute United side at Old Trafford, the visitors will be keen on upsetting the home support later today. With Xavi’s side expected to remain competitive on the pitch alongside challenging to retain control of the game for a decent part of the ninety minutes, Barcelona will look to make the best of the opportunity as they aim to establish themselves amongst the contenders for the trophy potentially moving further into the competition.

When & Where?

Venue: Old Trafford.
Date: Thursday, 23rd February 2023.
Time: 20:00 GMT.

Match Officials

Referee: Clement Turpin.
Assistant Referees: Nicolas Danos, Benjamin Pages.
Fourth Official: Jeremie Pignard.
VAR Official: Jerome Brisard.

Team News

Manchester United

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Christian Eriksen and Donny Van De Beek remain out of contention due to injuries alongside forward Anthony Martial who continues to recover from a hip problem. However, Ten Hag is expected to have a strengthened bench on Thursday with both Antony and centre-back Harry Maguire expected to return to the match-day squad following their absence due to injuries.

Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are expected to be included in the starting line-up after both players missed out on the first-leg due to suspension, while Raphael Varane is set to return to the starting line-up after being rested against Leicester City last weekend.


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Youngsters Pedri and Gavi are set to miss out on the second leg at Old Trafford after the former sustained a hamstring injury in the first leg whilst the latter is suspended for the tie owing to an accumulation of yellow cards. Ousmane Dembele remains out of contention due to injury although veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets could return to the starting line-up in midfield later today.

Xavi is unlikely to make major changes to the starting line-up, with the Barcelona boss expecting to witness an excellent display of commitment and competitiveness against United at Old Trafford.

Match Analysis

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With both teams managed by tactically astute coaches, Thursday’s game is expected to provide a feast for the eyes, the world over. Having been innovative and adaptive in his approach to games this season, Ten Hag will be keen on securing a confident victory at Old Trafford whilst the visitors will look to cause an upset; aiming to replicate their league form in the competition moving forward.

Likely to maintain a positive approach in possession, United will look to gain control across the midfield and forward positions later today. With Ten Hag having been clever in his utilisation of players within the squad, the Dutchman is expected to encourage his forwards in disrupting the opposition’s defence using a counter-press alongside prioritising winning the ball higher up the pitch at Old Trafford. Additionally, with the visitors likely to attempt playing through the home side’s set-up, the hosts will be keen on remaining competitive across the pitch later today.

On the other hand, likely to aim at hurting the opposition when the opportunity arises, Barcelona will look to find the back of the net at the earliest later today. With the visitors expected to build up from the back in a bid to create space upfront, Barcelona will be keen on retaining control of the game in parts later today. Moreover, likely to aim in breaking down the opposition gradually throughout the game, the visitors will look to remain resolute in their approach at Old Trafford.

MUST READ: Erik ten Hag vs Xavi — Clash of Guardiola’s disciples

Key Players

Marcus Rashford – Manchester United

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United’s most consistent goal-scorer this season, Rashford will be keen on delivering a valuable contribution later today. With the England international’s pace and movement expected to cause problems for the opposition, the forward will be keen on making a notable impact against Barcelona.

Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona

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Expected to play a vital role in the team’s prospects later today, Lewandowski will be keen on delivering a notable display at Old Trafford. With the forward’s finishing and movement likely to test United’s defence, Lewandowski will be keen on finding the back of the net this Thursday.

Predicted Lineups

Manchester United predicted lineup vs Barcelona: David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Marcel Sabitzer; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Wout Weghorst.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Manchester United: Marc Andre Ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba; Frenkie De Jong, Sergio Busquets, Franck Kessie; Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati.

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