With the Champions League showcasing the quarter-finals this week, Manchester United welcome Barcelona to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
The Red Devils defied all odds in the previous round against Paris Saint-Germain but face an equally daunting task against one of the favourites for the coveted trophy this season.
Ernesto Valverde’s men are yet to be truly tested in the competition, cantering to top spot in the group stages and ruthlessly exposing Lyon during their first knockout tie.
The Catalan club have all-but clinched another La Liga title and will therefore put further emphasis on this match, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the taxing matter of achieving a top-four finish in the Premier League.
This blockbuster bout has provided some memorable moments over the years, and Wednesday night should be no exception.
Read on for Manchester United vs Barcelona live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.
When is Manchester United vs Barcelona?
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Wednesday, 10 April
Kick-off: 8:00 PM BST
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Where can I watch live?
UK residents can watch Man Utd’s game against Barcelona on BT Sport 2, channel 414 on Sky and channel 528 for Virgin Media users. BT Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at sport.bt.com and via their BT Sport app.
Across the 11 encounters these two sides have contested Barca have enjoyed better success, winning four matches to United’s three, though it should be noted they have never won at Old Trafford.
The Blaugrana have also won the last two matches, which were both Champions League finals: the 3-1 win at Wembley in 2011 and the 2-0 triumph at the Stadio Olimpico in 2009.
Man Utd wins: 3 Draws: 4 Barca wins: 4
Having overturned a 2-0 home defeat against PSG in the last-16 – with Marcus Rashford scoring a dramatic last gasp penalty win at the Parc des Princes – United will certainly have a sense of optimism heading into the match.
Domestically, United have hit a stumbling block in recent times after such a promising start to the Solskjaer era, with the club exiting the FA Cup last month and losing ground in the top-four race.
The 20-time English champions are only three points adrift of fourth-place Spurs but now look outsiders to pip their challengers to the much-desired final Champions League qualification spot.
And so, with spirits low after defeat to Wolves, Solskjaer will look to alleviate current frustrations with another miraculous result in Europe, though Barca are no PSG – they have experience and nous in abundance, unlike their French contemporaries.
Valverde’s side have been in stellar form this campaign, sauntering to yet another La Liga title – with the club currently 11 points clear – while they are also through to the Copa del Rey final.
Integral to that success has, of course, been Lionel Messi, with the diminutive marvel enjoying what many believe is his best season to date. Coupled with an in-form Luis Suarez – with both players scoring 14 goals in the last six matches (10 for Messi, four for Suarez) – Barca look devastating.
Can Pogba inspire historic win?
Much of the debate during Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford was about his less-than cordial relationship with Paul Pogba – the pair infamously fell out earlier in the campaign, which ultimately cost the Portuguese his job.
However, following the appointment of Solskjaer, the World Cup winner has transformed his season, looking like the player United thought they were getting when they couriered £89m to Turin three years ago.
But Pogba’s pomp has somewhat hit a snag in recent outings with the Frenchman once again coming under the spotlight for some less-than convincing performances against Wolves – twice – and Arsenal.
The question will now be which Pogba is likely to turn up against Barca: the one who can so often inspire victory through silky play, or the flat-track bully who can go missing in big games?
Should United get the latter then they will have every chance of reaching the penultimate stage of Europe’s premier competition.
Which midfield combination will Barca opt for?
Valverde is a very lucky manager in that the midfield combinations he can choose from seem endless, such is the prodigious talent at the Spaniard’s disposal.
But one such combination that has so often paid dividends this season has been the deployment of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arthur, particularly in recent weeks.
Fundamental to the Barca philosophy has been their ability to form a triangle in the centre of the park, and the aforementioned trident have done an exceptional job in meanly locking up the midfield and dictating play.
Arthur has been one of the standout players in that department. With Andres Iniesta and Xavi leaving the club in recent years, having been cardinal figures for over a decade, there was a growing concern as to who could replace the duo.
Well, Arthur has stepped up and remedied that void, with his playing style similar to that of Xavi, proving to be an elegant deep-lying playmaker.
Given recent form, Valverde will likely opt for this midfield trio, which spells significant trouble for United.
Other than certain absentees Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez, Solskjaer should have a full squad to select from, with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera expected to return after being sidelined for the Wolves defeat.
For Valverde he could welcome back Ousmane Dembele after recovering from a hamstring injury, though Rafinha remains out for the season.
How everyone thinks Manchester United and Barcelona will line up
1. No room for Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho hasn’t quite made the impact in Catalonia many were expecting of him following his £142m move from Liverpool in January 2018, which has interestingly sparked rumours of a possible return to the Premier League.
Among the names being bandied about, United have dominated the headlines in that regard, with the club reportedly lining up a summer swoop, though the Brazilian has since cooled interest.
The No. 7 has started to receive more starting opportunities of late, with Valverde naming him in his XI for the previous three matches, but the Evening Standard believe he will be dropped on Wednesday with Sergi Roberto taking up his position on the wing.
Evening Standard’s predicted Barca XI (4-4-2): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Roberto, Rakitic, Arthur; Messi, Suarez.
2. Rashford to partner Lukaku
Following defeat against Arsenal last month, in which Rashford and Romelu Lukaku started up top, Solskjaer has tinkered with different striker combinations.
In the FA Cup defeat against Wolves, Rashford partnered Anthony Martial in the final third, and despite defeat, the Norwegian decided to stick rather than twist against Watford, with that same partnership starting, and it proved fruitful with a 2-1 win.
However, in the league defeat against Wolves, Solskjaer was forced to shuffle the pack with Rashford out injured, deploying Lukaku as a lone striker, but the Independent believes he will revert back to a two-man attack with Rashford and Lukaku spearheading the line.
The duo have worked well in tandem since Solskjaer took the helm, proving a deadly duo in the final third. It certainly worked a treat in the French capital, and United fans will be hoping for a similar outcome on Wednesday.
Independent‘s predicted Man Utd XI (4-3-1-2): De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard; Rashford, Lukaku.
3. Vidal over Arthur
As previously mentioned, Valverde has an abundance of choice in the middle of the park; it is a manager’s dream to have such a selection headache.
Another player who has impressed this season has been Arturo Vidal, and the Independent are expecting Valverde to choose experience over youth with the Chilean playing instead of his Brazilian counterpart.
At 31, Vidal has a wealth of experience, which could prove very useful at this stage of the competition, not to mentioned his world class box-to-box ability.
Independent’s predicted Barca XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Coutinho.
Barcelona simply have too much quality and with Messi firing on all cylinders, United will struggle to contain him.
Expect a tight contest as United will likely sit back and look to frustrate the Spanish giants, but Valverde and Co should get the job done on the night. Man Utd 0-2 Barca.