The Europa League round of 32 first leg between Barcelona and Manchester United on Thursday evening is surely one of the most anticipated matches of the season. Two of the biggest clubs in the world will face off, with both in rich veins of form.
After several lull years, both clubs appears to be getting back to their best under newish management in Xavi Hernandez and Erik ten Hag respectively. Thursday’s fixture promises to be a fascinating tactical battle, and one that Barca will be desperate to win.
To do this, they must contain Marcus Rashford. The Englishman has been in sensational form since domestic football resumed following the World Cup, netting 13 times in 15 appearances, making him the most prolific player in Europe at the moment.
According to Diario AS, Xavi is intending on reusing a previous tactical plan in order to contain Rashford. In recent El Clasico fixtures, Ronald Araujo has been used as a right back, instead of his typical position in the centre of defence, in order to contain Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr, and to great effect. The Uruguayan is expected to line up in a similar position on Thursday, with the hope of having a similar impact.
Barcelona will have to be at their best over the course of both legs in order to advance to the last 16 of the Europa League, but they must keep Manchester United’s talisman quiet in order to give themselves the best possible chance of doing so.
I believe so much in my coach xavi
And the entire Barcelona players, they’re dedicated, they’re passionate. I wish them all the best, they will make us proud 💪