Champions League Final betting – Man United v Barcelona
Man United v Barcelona betting preview, odds and tips
Manchester United: League Position: Champions, Form: LWWDW
Teams Beaten in Knockout Phase: Marseille, Chelsea, Schalke
Like their opponents, Manchester United come into this game with a league title claimed with a few a game or two remaining and able to condition themselves towards this massive tie.
Looking at the side they’ll play, if there are no surprises or tactical changes then the big games of weeks gone by, the league and Champions League ties against Chelsea and first leg at Schalke, would suggest they’ll stick with a flexible 4-4-2 headed by Rooney and Hernandez. The midfield, by this logic, would be Valencia, Carrick, Giggs and Park. A case has been made for the inclusion of Darren Fletcher, who missed out on the 2009 final in which these two teams contested, and whose absence was credited with much of United’s struggles in that game.
This their third final in four years, and United are the only unbeaten team in this year’s tournament. They’ve also the best defence, conceding four goals in 12 games. They will need all their defensive steel to win this tie, and there’s no doubt this will be their biggest test since that tie in 2009.
Barcelona: League Position: Champions, Form: DWDDW
Teams Beaten in Knockout Phase: Arsenal, Shakhtar, Real Madrid
A team that has been part of much debate over the best club side of all time with a player considered maybe the best of all time, is there any team capable of stopping the Catalan giants.
Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Villa, Puyol, Pique and more, a list of the best players in the world right now in a perfectly formed team, playing fantastic attacking football is argument enough to back this side, but the stats back it up. They have scored the most goals this season in the competition (27), have the highest pass completion rate (90.9%), two players who have completed over 1,000 passes in Sergio Busquets and Xavi, they have scored at least once in each of their last 20 Champions League games and Lionel Messi is top scorer this season, like he has been the past two seasons, with 11 goals.
The beautiful football is balanced with a unique pressing game that forces their opponents onto the back foot immediately even when they do win the ball back. In fact, with their short passing game you’ll see players are generally never more than 10 yards from the ball, thus comfortable to close down possession straight away. Defence whilst on the attack.
Match Prediction: Barcelona Win – 2.05 William Hill
The match will be won in midfield, and Manchester United will have to be at their all time best individually and collectively to cope with Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets, who will be joined by Pedro and Messi from the attack.
Giggs, the man who made all three assists in the quarter final ties against Chelsea, was a bystander Rome 2009, and whilst his influence on this United team has only grown, his powers are on the ball. It may say much for the intent of Ferguson’s side if the 37 year old Welshman remains in the side, as he surely can’t compete with the speed of passing in the Barcelona midfield. Carrick has also been a revelation in the Champions League for United this year, but he hardly has the hustle and bustle to combat the triumvirate of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta.
If United stick with Rooney and Hernandez up top it’s so very important that Rooney is disciplined in the task of stopping Busquets receiving the ball from defence with too much time, whilst Hernandez must stop the roaming sweeper play of Pique, who will look to start attacks from defence like an extremely deep holding midfielder.
And can Ferdinand and Vidic deal with Messi’s striker role, in which he barely occupies them and drops deep into midfield? Too high up and Villa and Pedro can be slipped in from the wings. Too deep and Messi and Iniesta get space to run at the defence, and the midfield to attack link gets more space to play in.
All in all there’s too much for United to do defensively against a team with a pretty good defence should they mount a counter attack. Messi will relish the big game atmosphere, see 2009 and his flying header or his solo effort at Madrid in the semis, and is always the man to watch. He’s the best player in the world because you can’t plan for his game, you can’t plan for an attacker beating four defenders and going through one on one.
Over/Under: Under 2.5 Goals – 1.67 Sky Bet
First Goalscorer: Lionel Messi – 6.00 William Hill
Correct Score: Barcelona Win 2-0 – 9.5 Coral
Barcelona to lift the trophy – 1.5 Bet 365
By Chris Wilkerson
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