Football Features

Barcelona vs Man Utd: tactics, formations & line ups explained

By Squawka News

Published: 14:57, 15 April 2019

Manchester United travel to Barcelona hoping to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

By Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s own admission, the Red Devils need to improve significantly if they are to have any hope.

Lionel Messi and Co are unlikely to be in a forgiving mood as they look to progress to the last four for the first time since the 2014/15 season.

Statman Dave has tackled the major talking points ahead of Tuesday’s second leg….


The hosts are expected to dominate the ball on home turf, so United’s front line is likely to be forced to feed on scraps.

Pace is set to be United’s biggest weapon, meaning Marcus Rashford’s influence – and ability to provide an out ball – will be key.

Sergio Busquets and several other Barca players were below par at Old Trafford and will look to take the sting out of the game early on.

However, allowing the Spanish giants to settle into a rhythm would represent a disaster for United. Once Barca are in the groove, they are difficult to stop.


Solskjaer deployed a 3-5-2 in the first leg to mixed effect, bringing out the best in Fred and Scott McTominay in the centre of the park.

However, the system failed to stop Barcelona carving out a healthy number of chances so the Norwegian could make a minor alteration and utilise a 3-4-1-2 system.

The hosts are unlikely to stray from their 4-3-3 set up, which gives Messi the opportunity to drift between the lines and – crucially – cut in from wide areas.

Line ups

Barcelona made big changes for their surprise 0-0 draw with La Liga basement boys Huesca.

A total of four players were handed their league debuts while the majority of Ernesto Valverde’s big hitters stayed on the bench.

Ousmane Dembele made his comeback after a month out with a hamstring injury and will be pushing for a start ahead of Philippe Coutinho.

Meanwhile, United forward Jesse Lingard will be hopeful he has done enough to secure a starting berth but Luke Shaw is suspended – which means Ashley Young is expected to start on the left flank.

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