Manchester United will be travelling to Camp Nou to face off against Barcelona in the first leg of the Europa League playoffs on Thursday night.
The Red Devils will be coming into this game off the back of a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Leeds United in the Premier League. And following that result, they have managed to solidify their place in the top four as they are currently seven points ahead of the fifth-placed Tottenham.
United have been showcasing impressive displays in recent months so talks have started about whether Erik ten Hag’s side are now in contention to challenge for the title as they are only five points behind league leaders Arsenal. But, their main objective for this season is believed to be finishing in the Champions League spots.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s opponents tomorrow night, Barcelona, have dropped down to the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group – which contained Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen.
However, despite the Champions League disappointment, the Blaugrana have been enjoying a stellar campaign in La Liga this term, sitting at the top of the league with 56 points from 21 games, 11 points ahead of Real Madrid. So, this will be a great matchup as both Barcelona and Man Utd have been enjoying a purple patch in recent weeks.
Expected Man Utd lineup
David de Gea is set to continue in goal, while Raphael Varane should return to Man Utd’s starting eleven following the weekend off. Lisandro Martinez is suspended for this encounter so Luke Shaw is likely to start alongside the Frenchman at the back. Meaning Harry Maguire will return to the bench alongside Victor Lindelof.
Diogo Dalot could keep hold of his place in the right back position and Tyrell Malacia could commence on the opposite side. Therefore, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is expected to find himself on the bench.
Casemiro is available for selection as he is only serving a three-match domestic ban so he will return to United’s starting eleven tomorrow. New arrival Marcel Sabitzer is suspended for this game so Fred is likely to start alongside his compatriot in the engine room. Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay are out through injury.
Bruno Fernandes is expected to keep hold of his place in the number ten position for Manchester United and Marcus Rashford will commence on the left flank.
Jadon Sancho made his first start last weekend following a lengthy period out of action due to personal reasons. But, he failed to impress and was eventually taken off in the second half.
However, with Antony being out injured, Sancho could keep hold of his place on the right side tomorrow, meaning Alejandro Garnacho would be on the bench. Wout Weghorst is set to continue leading the line for Manchester United as Anthony Martial is likely to remain sidelined through injury.