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UEFA Champions' League

Barclona v Man Utd: Preview

Manchester United return to the stadium where we experienced our greatest European night. That night in Barcelona was something all United fans would savour, as would Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. Today, however, we will face the home team in the intimidating cauldron that is the Camp Nou.

Much has been made about how mouth watering this clash is going to be but that would be the media talking. Yes, we will get to see the odd flourish or two because of the number of creative players that will be on display. But I think it would be a cagey affair.

Barcelona, for one, are not in the best of form and are full of internal squabbles. United on the other hand are in the rudest of health as far as team unity is concerned. In terms of form though, we’ve come out of a tiring draw against Blackburn. So we can’t really say that we’ve been annihilating teams.

Barcelona have something to cheer about though. The return of their talismanic forward, Messi, the probable return of Deco and the presence of Xavi and Iniesta will ensure that they will always be a threat. Moreover, with nothing else to play for other than the Champions’ League, they would give everything to get past us and save their season.

Formations? I would want Fergie to go with a midfield three of Carrick, Hargreaves and Anderson. The back four and ‘keeper is a foregone conclusion, barring injuries, and the forward line should be Rooney, Ronaldo and Park, with Nani to come on later on. I went for Park because I think Fergie might be swayed by his European exploits against Roma, and by the fact that he was well rested over the weekend.

If Fergie is really sentimental about wanting Scholes to play in the final — although, I’d hope he does not succumb to sentimentality — he could consider playing Scholes in the home leg only and not today because of his propensity of picking silly yellow cards. But then who am I to second guess him.

Prediction: 1-0 to United. It will be an ugly goal by some defender from a corner.

Over to you…