The ultimate test for both the Spanish visitors FC Barcelona and their European rivals Manchester United will find its culmination soon at Old Trafford. The Catalans arrive in England carrying certain disappointment following the first leg of this UEFA Europa League play-off round, and will undoubtedly be aiming to come back home as the team that successfully makes it past this stage in the competition.
Date: Thursday, 23rd February 2023
Time: 09:00 pm Central European Time
Venue: Old Trafford ( England )
Competition: UEFA Europa League
FC Barcelona find themselves in a peculiar situation of unease as they visit the city of Manchester to face off against English opponents and a team in resurgence at Old Trafford while missing some key players themselves. Following the conclusion of the first leg, La Blaugrana have since lost both Pedri and Gavi for this upcoming clash, due to a thigh injury and suspension cause respectively.
Now facing a United side that sees most of their usual heroes returning to their side from injuries and suspensions alike, the home side will clearly be looking like the favorites in this otherwise well-balanced battle of two European giants.
Despite losing Pedri however, FC Barcelona managed to showcase their own strengths against Cadiz in their latest match in La Liga Santander, proving that they do indefinitely possess reliable depth within their ranks. Moreover, they regain the services of Sergio Busquets for this upcoming clash as well, as the veteran midfielder and captain return from an injury.
In terms of form, FC Barcelona remain next to flawless with their recent results, having been unbeaten since the last 18 games they have played across all competitions, with 16 of those games having been wins for the Garnet and Blues.
In the case of their similarly in-form opponents from Manchester, the Red Devils are enjoying quite the run themselves as well. Having been unbeaten in the last 8 games, the team led by coach Erik Ten Hag displays all the qualities of an elite team coupled with the mentality of one as well.
Despite this rather comparable sets of data in terms of form and current morale, the teams will both be tested at Old Trafford. Matching each other blow for blow, attack for attack, if the first half at Camp Nou was any indication of what is to come, a brilliant showcase of footballing abilities and tactics can be expected once again from this grand clash of European royalty.