It’s almost upon us, the Champions league quarterfinals offers some historic clashes, not least Manchester United versus Barcelona. 
This European football classic brings a lot of nostalgia for supporters of both sides. For Man United, it is hoped that some of that Ole magic remains and he can navigate past the almighty Catalans. While Barcelona are laser-focused on the treble, they hope to exorcise the demons of last year’s painful exit and assert themselves on a competition they last won in 2015.
Barcelona more or less confirmed an eighth title in eleven seasons with that 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last weekend. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were frustrated by Jan Oblak for long periods but each ultimately provided moments of brilliance. Messi is in particularly imperious form at the moment; turning in super performances every time he’s on the pitch for Barcelona, he now has 33 league goals and another eight in the Champions league.

Messi and his free kicks have gone about proving why he’s the best player in Europe this season. (Image: Getty Images)

Manchester United meet Messi and Barça at the very worst moment. They have lost three games in four since that wonderful night in Paris but that’s exactly why they dare to dream. Marcus Rashford’s 93rd minute penalty saw them past Paris Saint Germain to become the first team to overcome a two-goal deficit away from home in European knockout rounds.
Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer’s honeymoon period might be over, but he experienced the highest of highs of his playing career, when scoring the winning goal for Man. United in the 1999 Champions League final at Camp Nou. He would be setting his team out to play for glory.
Paul Pogba’s pinpoint passing and the blistering pace of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard on the counter is key to United exploiting spaces behind Barcelona’s defence. The Spanish side have conceded five times in eight Champions League games; and Ole and Mike Phelan must have seen enough at Camp Nou to add to that record. 

Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer and his assistant on a scouting mission on Saturday evening. (Image: AFP/Getty Images)
Barcelona, however, are a shoo-in for goals against Man United’s unconvincing defence. Their last outing against Wolves would have been pleasing to watch for Leo Messi; but a week is a long time in football, and United would be prepared for a massive rearguard showing.
Man United need to maintain discipline and be clinical when their chances arrive; the Old Trafford crowd would see their team without the ball for unusually long periods, and I suspect they would be up for it. They must be pleased to know that their team has never lost to Barça at Old Trafford; although Messi has a habit of destroying such pre-match myths, it must be noted.
The Red devils have lost their last two Champions League finals to Barcelona and a Spanish side has won the last five editions. Can the sleeping giants roar up a revenge?

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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