Rooney’s goal cancelled out Pedro’s goal to keep the scores on even terms as we are at half time. Manchester United dominated the 1st 10 minutes, but Barcelona came back roaring.
Pedro’s Goal: 27th minute
So many interesting things of note in the build up to this goal. First thing being, Xavi in fact made 40 passes prior to that goal, and his pass to Pedro was his 41st completed pass, do the maths. That’s a 100% passing record up to that point. Xavi’s pass was exquisite, as his extraordinary vision once again picked out a player in the Barcelona kit in open space, giving Pedro plenty of time to toe it into the net.
One other point that I found interesting, was Evra’s positioning in regards to that goal. Well, that’s horrible positioning if you ask me, you look at where he’s standing and who he’s actually defending. I guess it’s more of a case of that “how should we mark Messi” dilemma kicking in. He was trying to cut out Messi from the game, and that instead released Pedro to score the goal.
Wayne Rooney’s Goal: 34th minute
A well taken goal by Rooney in all honesty, a lot of composure under the circumstances but much credit has to be given to Javier Hernandez, who broke Barcelona’s offside trap to open up the space for Wayne Rooney to get into and score. Much has to be said of Valdes’ positioning there though, he could have got across the goal much faster in my opinion, but otherwise, a well taken goal.
Barcelona’s Shaky Start
Mascherano and Pique looked really shaky at the beginning as Barcelona seemed shackled by Manchester United’s early period of dominance. Mascherano especially looked out of his dept during that period, but as time wore on, their confidence grew and perhaps it was as scripted going Barcelona’s way up to Manchester United’s quick reply.
When he had the ball, he looked really dangerous dribbling outside the box and he nearly earned himself a goal after some neat play with David Villa. His feints and his fakes were hard to decipher. He struggled in the early periods, with Park Ji Sung cutting him out of the game early on, but he started to get back into his groove.
Flop of the first half: Antonio Valencia
Nobody looked more out of place than the Ecuadoran, and deserved a yellow card for his tackle on Messi later on in the first half. He even managed to get Ferguson so pissed that he had to come down to the touchline to personally reprimand him, now that’s a flop. Valencia simply needs to get more into the game, as Manchester United have made nothing on the right hand side.
Star of the first half: Wayne Rooney
A close call between Pedro and Rooney, but overall, as a team player, Rooney did a lot for the team, as the commentator said “if Rooney didn’t drop back, Manchester United would have been swamped in midfield”. A well taken first touch goal to reply to Barcelona’s goal. A good first half at Wembley for the Englishman.
What to expect in the second half?
I am going for Barcelona to come back with renewed team spirit as I think that Barcelona are simply a class above the Red Devils, so I’m going for a Barcelona win here.
My Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United