This is a match so huge, we’re concerned they might not be able to fit all of the excitement in Camp Nou stadium. Barcelona – the La Liga leaders and Champions League legends – take on Premier League juggernauts Manchester United in the quarter-finals, with the latter already being a goal down from the first leg. And that’s not been the only mishap for United. Their recent renaissance has been undermined by losses to Wolves and Arsenal. Meanwhile, Barcelona come into this match with plenty of momentum, following an eight-match streak without a single loss.
Nonetheless, the English side haven’t garnered their reputation by accident. In this high stakes environment, they will prove a challenge for any team, even the mighty Barcelona.
Barcelona vs Manchester United Prediction: Barcelona 1-0 Man United
With the quality of the teams involved and the importance of the match, this is likely going to be tough for both. Nonetheless, we do have to give the nod to a Barcelona victory being the most probable outcome. Despite some draws, they have been on an absolute roll lately. Meanwhile, Manchester United still look like they have some kinks to work out, despite recent improvements. They just haven’t had the consistency in their form compared to the home team. When you add to that the home advantage and the advantage from the first-leg, our prediction is for Barcelona to repeat history with another 1-0 victory.
Our recommended tip: Barcelona win to nil
The home side are the clear favourites here, coming into this contest with a huge 70% win probability. In contrast, Manchester United only have a 12% win probability. At Ladbrokes, the Spanish side’s supporters will find low-risk 4/11 match odds compared to high-risk 7/1 odds on a United upset. However, as Barcelona have won three of their last five games without conceding a single goal – including the first leg against Manchester United – we recommend you wager that they will win to nil again here to get 6/4 odds and a higher potential ROI.
Considering how huge these names are, it may surprise you to learn that they’ve actually not faced all that often. In fact, they’ve only met a dozen times, beginning in 1984. It may be a relief to United fans that the overall winning percentage isn’t that different between the two side. Unfortunately though, more recent outings cast a more pessimistic light on their chances. Barcelona, of course, won their last match and they also won the previous two before that, besting United 3-1 in 2011 and 2-0 in 2009. It’s actually been over a decade since United beat Barcelona, showing the extent of the mountain they have to climb here.
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Players to watch: Lionel Messi & David de Gea
Barcelona: Lionel Messi
While Messi might be an obvious choice for player to watch, it’s with good reason. His brilliance barely needs explanation as he seems to break records on an almost weekly basis. We think against a team like United with these stakes, Barcelona will be sticking to what they know. And what they know is that Messi is an absolute force to be reckoned with.
Manchester United: David de Gea
Standing opposite what might be the greatest striker in the world is a man who may be the greatest goalkeeper in the world right now: David de Gea. His ability to stop the unstoppable may be what keeps United alive in this contest. And while we don’t want to imply that Manchester will consistently be on the defensive, there’s little doubting Barcelona’s attacking prowess. David de Gea’s contributions here could be more vital than any other individual player.