Two of the strongest and most known teams in the world, Manchester United and Barcelona will face off against each other in the quarter-finals of Champions League in what promises to result in a highly entertaining and exciting two matches. The first leg of the quarterfinals will take place on April 10th, at the famous Old Trafford in Manchester.
The home side, Manchester United had a tough road leading up to the quarterfinals, and their job won’t get any easier as they need to face off against 5 times Champions League winners and 3 times runners-up Barcelona. Manchester United started their Champions League campaign in Group H, where they got grouped with Juventus, Valencia and Young Boys. Despite the disastrous form in the Premier League, while United were still under Mourinho, they managed to advance into the next stage of the tournament after finishing 2nd in the group. With a record of 3-1-2 and 10 points, Manchester United finished 2 points against Juventus and 2 points ahead of Valencia. After all was set and done, Manchester United got paired with one of the strongest teams in the world, PSG, who made them work for a promotion. The first leg of 1/8 finals at Old Trafford ended in 0:2 win for the French side, which at that time looked like it sealed the deal for the Red Devils. That, as we know now was not the case, due to an impressive comeback from Manchester United in France, when they won 1:3, thus advanced on an aggregate score 3:3. The second leg match in France was a real test for Manchester United, and they passed it with flying colours, however, their campaign has only begun. With their next opponent being the red and blue Barcelona, United will need to be on their best game in both legs, if they wish to advance into the next round, where they will face off against the winner of Liverpool – Porto pair.
Barcelona are known as one of the best teams in the world, which is not far from the truth. In their history, Barcelona stood at the top of Europe 5 times (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015), but they were not as successful in their Champions League campaigns since their last title in 2015. In 2016, they got eliminated by Atletico Madrid in quarter-finals (2:3), a year they were once again eliminated in quarter-finals, only this time by Juventus (3:0). And then there is the last season when Barcelona got eliminated by Roma (4:4) after a humiliating defeat in the second leg (3:0) again in quarter-finals. After 3 consecutive years when Barcelona got eliminated in the quarterfinals, they are once again at the same point of the tournament, and we can’t help but ask ourselves; will this be the year Barcelona will get to advance deeper into the tournament?
Looking back at Barcelona road to quarterfinals, they first had to go through group B, where they got grouped with Tottenham, Inter and PSV. Despite two strong teams that threatened Barcelona, the Spanish team managed to walk through the group stage with relative ease. They ended the group stage 1st in the group with a 4-2-0 record. Moving to the playoffs, Barcelona got paired with the French side Lyon, who did not really present a real threat to the LaLiga giants. The first leg in France ended scoreless, while the 2nd leg in Spain was a completely different picture. The match at Camp Nou ended with an impressive 5:1 victory for the home side, which got them a ticket to the quarter-finals.
Manchester Utd vs Barcelona Prediction
Bookmakers seem to agree Barcelona are the favourites to win the first leg, which is a fair assessment. Form-wise, the Spanish side comes out on top, as they have only lost 1 fixture in the last 10, and furthermore only two in the last 20, counting all competitions. On the other side, Manchester United seemed to have cooled down in recent fixtures. They have lost 3 out of their last 5 matches; against Arsenal (2:0) and twice against Wolves (2:1), (2:1). With those poor results, Manchester are now 6th in the Premier League, after what looked like an excellent chance for them to push for the top 4. Nonetheless, I would not be so sure about United slipping in the first leg against Barcelona. I do not expect a dominant performance from United, however, at the same time I do not believe Barcelona will have an easy time. A draw or maybe even a 1 goal win for the home side is possible, which is why we will go for a +0.50 Asian Handicap on the home side.
Manchester Utd vs Barcelona Betting Tip
Manchester United +0.50 AH
Odds: 1.89 Pinnacle