It’s the game of the year, it’s the best vs the best, it’s Spain vs England, it’s Guardiola vs Ferguson, it’s Messi vs Evra and it’s Xavi against Carrick, it looks like a match to remember
The Probable Squads
It looks likely that Barcelona will deploy their regular 4-3-3 formation after putting on their second string players for their final match of the season. It will be Victor Valdes in goal, Dani Alves at right back, Pique at centerback and it seems likely that Mascherano will be deployed at centerback for this Wembley showpiece. Carles Puyol will be likely to be playing at leftback, with Eric Abidal still not at full fitness following just recovering from a liver tumour.
At midfield, it will be the familiar faces of Xavi alongside Iniesta and Busquets, so be sure to watch out for them spraying their passes in search for dominance and in attack, it’s the fearsome trio of Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez. So no shortage of entertainment is to be expected here.
One interesting thing you guys should know is that Ferguson’s plans are out and should Barcelona take the lead, Manchester United will change their formation to a 3-4-3 formation to try and give their players more attacking license.
At the start of the final, United are expected to line up in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation with Wayne Rooney supporting Javier Hernandez in attack but dropping back whenever Barcelona are in possession. However, it’s the disclosure that United have also been working in a 3-4-3 formation which is entirely unexpected.
According to the Telegraph, the plan is ‘in place should Barcelona take a lead and leave United chasing the game in the second-half. Chris Smalling, set to be named on the substitutes’ bench on Saturday, has trained as the third man at the back alongside Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
So to the actual squads, Van der Sar will take his place in goal for the last time, O’shea is expected to play at right back to give experience to that spot with Vidic and Ferdinand expected to take their regular places at centerback. Patrice Evra is at left back and he is entrusted with the job of marking Lionel Messi.
In midfield, Manchester United will have Ji Sung and Valencia on the wings, with Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick set to play in the center. In attack, it should be the predictable combination of Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester United defending dilemma
The question now is, how should Manchester United try and defend Lionel Messi in the final tonight. As should they man-mark him, he will eventually find a way to break free, and should you double or even triple mark him, Barcelona have other methods to punish Manchester United.
Noone actually knows the right and best way to mark Lionel Messi, so that attack vs defence encounter that people will surely enjoy watching.
There’s still an obsession with octopuses and predictions with Iker the “psychic” octopus going for Manchester United’s victory tonight. Iker has already predicted 2 matches correctly, predicting Real Madrid and Barcelona’s 1-1 draw in the La Liga and Real Madrid’s victory in the King’s Cup 4 days later, but Barcelona need not worry because it predicted their Champions League encounter with Real Madrid wrongly.
Xavi vs Carrick
It’s the battle of the pass masters in today’s game and it will depend largely on how good their passing is if either side is to win the Champions League. Both have already been instrumental in their league charges so it’s tackling and passing on offer from the duo here tonight.
Messi vs Evra
How do you mark a man like Messi? And it will be interesting to see how Evra interprets that question tonight when he takes on the diminutive Argentinian. Although it has in fact been done on a very few occasions, but put too much defensive focus on Messi and Villa and Pedro will punish you….. hard.
Javier Hernandez vs Mascherano
I’m very sure that Mascherano will be the area that Manchester United want to exploit tonight, with him not actually naturally a center back. So Javier Hernandez will have his work cut out a bit tonight, but he must punish Javier Mascherano for every mistake he makes.