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Barcelona vs Manchester United: Europa League preview, team news & predicted starting XI

Manchester United will return to European action this week when they face Barcelona in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie.

Barcelona are in the Europa League after exiting the Champions League earlier this season.

United enjoyed a strong group stage run but ultimately finished second behind Real Sociedad and must now navigate the play-offs.

The Red Devils have lost their last four competitive games against the Catalan outfit and will be looking to end that streak this week.

When and where will the game take place?

United will head to the Spotify Camp Nou for the first leg of their continental clash.

The match is set to be played on Thursday evening as one of the first four games of the day.

Match Preview


The home side endured a disappointing run of results in the Champions League group stage, picking up just two wins from six games to finish third.

However, they have shaken off their continental struggles and have taken La Liga by storm, going full steam ahead in pursuit of a 27th league title.

The Spanish giants faced Villarreal in their last game, picking up a 1-0 win to record their 11th straight victory across all competitions and will head into Thursday’s game with confidence.

Head coach Xavi will be unable to call on the services of Ousmane Dembele and team captain Sergio Busquets this week as they are injured.

Manchester United

United started their Europa League run with a 1-0 defeat to Sociedad but bounced back to win their subsequent five group games, although it was not enough to leapfrog La Real at the top of the pile.

The Red Devils have strung together a consistent run of results of late and are the only Premier League side competing on four fronts.

The hectic run of fixtures has left manager Erik ten Hag with a threadbare squad, with Donny van de Beek, Christian Eriksen, Antony, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay all injured.

Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer will also sit out the trip to Spain as they are suspended.

Players to watch – De Jong vs Casemiro

Ten Hag rotated his starting XI against Leeds United on Sunday but should reintroduce some familiar faces into the team this week.

Frenkie de Jong was United’s prime target last summer but has since rebuilt his relationship with Barcelona and will be looking to help the Spanish side clinch a home win on Thursday.

Casemiro was viewed as a fallback option after the Old Trafford outfit missed out on De Jong, but has quickly cemented himself as one of the most important players at the club.

The Brazilian has missed United’s last two games due to a suspension and will be itching to return to action against a familiar foe this week.

Barcelona vs Manchester United Predicted XI

Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Alejandro Balde; Frenkie de Jong, Franck Kessie, Pedri; Raphinha, Gavi, Robert Lewandowski.

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Wout Weghorst.