Saturday, May 28, 2011

United vs Barca: Attack or sit back? That is the question for Fergie and his players..

United odds Champions League final

The waiting is nearly over, United are about to face Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley. Most expert pundits are tipping Barcelona to win comfortably and worryingly for United fans, Pep Guardiola is demanding an improved performance from his players. The Barcelona manager says that his team must play better than they did in the 2009 final when they last met United. United fans won't need reminding that Barcelona won that final too easily thanks to goals by Eto'o and Messi.

No one outside of the United camp can be sure what formation Feguson will start with. There are two schools of thought; Fergie try to contain Barca in midfield and he will play with just one striker in Rooney, or will he go toe-to-toe with the La Liga title winners and start with Hernandez and Rooney?

If the United manager tells his players to sit back and soak up Barcelona's attacks he will almost certainly be inviting trouble and sooner or later the defence will buckle under the weight of pressure - at least that is the big danger.

If Fergie starts with two strikers it will at least give his midfield players and defenders two targets instead of just one. Starting with just striker would give United more bodies in midfield, but the danger is the lone striker could be come isolated.

There is no easy answers. Barcelona are the most complete team in many a long season. The Catalans are superb midfield, but United must try to match them and they must not allow players like Messi to run unchallenged at the back-four.

There are injury concerns to Carlos Puyol who is being tipped to start at left-back and if that happens Valencia will certainly fancy his chances of success against a defender who is more comfortable in the centre of defence. Former Liverpool midfield star Javier Mascherano is expected to partner Gerard Pique the centre of Barca's defence and here again the United strikers will probably fancy their chances of success against this pairing.

Ahead of what will hopefully turn out to be a good game, United have been pretty much written off by the media; Ferguson will do his level best to use this as motiviation, he will need to use every trick in the book, if he is to pull this off.

We do not expect Nani to start the final, because he doesn't work hard enough when the opposition has the ball. Park and Valencia will more than likely get the nod to play on the flanks. We expect Giggs to start with Carrick in central midfield and Rooney will drop back when Barca have the ball. Hernandez will hopefully get the nod to start. United must take their chances, because we failed to do that in 2009 and went on to pay a heavy price.

United odds Champions League final

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