In Review

Champions League: Man Utd vs. Barcelona team news, starting XIs, predictions, odds, TV, live stream

United manager Solskjaer says Messi is one of the best ever but warns that Barcelona are not a one-man team

Manchester United vs. Barcelona
  • What: Uefa Champions League quarter-final first leg 
  • When: Wednesday 10 April 
  • Where: Old Trafford, Manchester 
  • Kick-off: 8pm (UK time) 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 2 and sport.bt.com 
  • Radio coverage: BBC Radio 5 live

Manchester United welcome Barcelona and Lionel Messi to Old Trafford for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie.  

This season Messi has scored 43 goals for the La Liga leaders and has previously been the scourge of United having starred and scored in Barcelona’s 2009 and 2011 Champions League final wins against the Red Devils.

Despite five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi being in “typically brilliant form” this season, Sky Sports reports that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned that the Catalans are not just a one-man team.

“He’s a fantastic player and he will go down in the history [of football] as one of the best individual players ever,” Solskjaer said of Messi.

“He will be difficult to stop but it is never impossible. It’s not like it’s Messi against Manchester United - it’s [Luis] Suarez, [Philippe] Coutinho, [Ivan] Rakitic, [Arturo] Vidal.

“There’s so many good players, we cannot just focus on one player. We know we have play against 11 of them.”

‘You can’t leave United alive’

Gerard Pique has urged Barcelona to go to Old Trafford and try to finish off his former team in the first leg or run the risk of leaving them “alive” in the tie.  

Barca are favourites to progress to the semi-finals, but United pulled off a miracle by coming back to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16. The Premier League side will be hopeful of more heroics against Pique, Messi and Co.

Pique, who played for the Red Devils from 2004 to 2008, told ESPN: “I think the PSG tie is a great example. I think [at Old Trafford], PSG played better. In the second half they scored and could have scored more.

“But you can’t leave United alive. If you can beat them [by] scoring a lot of goals, you have to do it. They have a great history and they showed that in Paris, even with a lot of young lads from the academy.

“It’s a great example for us. We have to be switched on from the first minute until the last.”

European classic

The quarter-final draw sees the clubs continue a classic European football rivalry. Barca beat United twice in Champions League finals - in 2009 and 2011 - while the Red Devils were 2-1 winners in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup final.

Speaking ahead of the first leg Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde said: “They are a powerful team. They are going through a good run, even if they lost their last match. Physically they are really strong and they know how to put pressure on their opponents. They have players who are physically very powerful, and they can be dangerous strategically as well.

“This match is a classic in European football. Barcelona have never won at Old Trafford I believe and we are going to try and change that.”

Solskjaer is demanding hard work from his United stars. He said: “I want my players to really push each other and demand 100% attitude from each other every single day. That’s the only way you can improve and it’s the only way you can win.

“We’re playing against a good team but there is something special about this group of players. It will be fantastic.”

TV, live stream and radio coverage

The match at Old Trafford will be live on BT Sport 2. The broadcaster will also have a live stream for sport.bt.com subscribers. Radio coverage will be on BBC Radio 5 live.

When is the second leg?

The return fixture will be played at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on Tuesday 16 April (8pm, live on BT Sport).

Team news and possible starting XIs

Man Utd injury news and suspensions

United are hopeful that England striker Marcus Rashford will be fit to play, the BBC reports. The 21-year-old has been struggling with an ankle injury.

Midfielders Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera are doubts but could play. Despite returning to training Alexis Sanchez is not expected to feature against his old club.

The Sun says that Solskjaer will be also missing Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia, but Paul Pogba will return to the side. The French midfielder was suspended for the last-16 second-leg victory against PSG.

If booked Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Herrera and Matic would miss the second leg at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona injury news and suspensions

Metro says that Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is expected to name the same XI that beat Atletico Madrid in La Liga last weekend.

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has fully recovered from an ankle injury, BT Sport reports, and will hope to impress at Old Trafford. French forward Ousmane Dembele has also been named in the squad and could be fit to play.

Rafinha has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up at Old Trafford, according to the Independent.

  • Man Utd possible starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku 
  • Barcelona possible starting XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Coutinho

Predictions: who will win the first leg?

Michael Owen, former Man Utd and England striker, Metro: “This is the first Champions League meeting between the sides since Barcelona’s famous 3-1 win in the 2011 final - a game I watched in awe from the United bench as an unused substitute at Wembley. Lionel Messi has failed to score in his last 11 Champions League quarter-final ties for Barcelona and has attempted 49 shots in this barren period. United have already lost at home to Juventus and PSG in the Champions League this season and I feel the Spanish giants will edge what promises to be a cracking game with opportunities at both ends. Score prediction: Manchester United 1 Barcelona 2.”

Charlie Nicolas, Sky Sports: “Barcelona can go at them and Luke Shaw will have to get tight to Lionel Messi. It is a big decision for Solskjaer as they like to attack. [Former Liverpool striker] Luis Suarez will want to do well back at Old Trafford and Messi is the best ever in my opinion. Philippe Coutinho may be in, and then Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets are the feeders for Messi and Suarez. Marcus Rashford is key for Man Utd with his pace and movement. Man Utd will be ready and if you give them too much respect they will beat you. Score prediction: Manchester United 1 Barcelona 2.”

Ben Burrows, Independent: “Manchester United did the unthinkable once in the last round [against PSG], and Barca aren’t the vaunted team of a few years previous, but it’s still hard to imagine the Spanish champions in waiting leaving Old Trafford without at least one away goal. They can be got at and there are goals to be had if United [Romelu Lukaku specifically] strap on their shooting boots - despite the brilliance of Marc-Andre ter Stegen between the sticks - but Messi and Co will be looking to kill the tie this week ahead of next week’s second leg. Expect Luis Suarez to get on the scoresheet, at least once, with United perhaps giving themselves a chance ahead of the trip to the Nou Camp with one in reply. Score prediction: Manchester United 1 Barcelona 3.”

Barney Corkhill, Sports Mole: “United do not come into this match in particularly good form and, while their most recent defeats have come away from home, it is at Old Trafford that they have struggled in Europe this term. Barcelona, by contrast, are in fine form and we are backing them to come away with a valuable away victory on Wednesday. Score prediction: Manchester United 1 Barcelona 2.”

Man Utd vs. Barcelona betting odds

All prices according to Oddschecker, as of 10 April.

Match betting
  • Man Utd to win: 3/1 
  • Barcelona to win: 1/1 
  • Draw: 11/4  
To qualify
  • Man Utd: 3/1 
  • Barcelona: 2/7
To win the Champions League
  • Man Utd: 20/1 
  • Barcelona: 10/3

Champions League results and fixtures

Quarter-final first-leg results: Tuesday 9 April
  • Liverpool 2 FC Porto 0 
  • Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 0
First-leg fixtures: Wednesday 10 April
  • Ajax vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport 3
  • Manchester United vs. Barcelona (8pm, live on BT Sport 2)
Quarter-final second-leg fixtures
  • 16 April: Juventus vs. Ajax 
  • 16 April: Barcelona vs. Manchester United 
  • 17 April: Porto vs. Liverpool (0-2 on aggregate) 
  • 17 April: Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-1 on aggregate)

Recommended

Cameron Norrie: the unassuming new star of British tennis
Cameron Norrie: ‘dogged determination’ at Indian Wells
In Focus

Cameron Norrie: the unassuming new star of British tennis

Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation
Newcastle’s new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and part-owner Amanda Staveley
View from the terraces

Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s superstars compare

Could Djokovic miss the Australian Open due to vaccine rules?
Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 Australian Open men’s singles final
Profile

Could Djokovic miss the Australian Open due to vaccine rules?

Popular articles

Why does the UK have highest Covid case rate in western Europe?
England lockdown lifted
Today’s big question

Why does the UK have highest Covid case rate in western Europe?

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined
Boy receiving Covid vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined

What is blackfishing?
Shot of Jesy Nelson with her hair in braids
In Depth

What is blackfishing?

The Week Footer Banner