A Look Ahead to the Champions League FinalPosted: May 27, 2011
On the 28th of May, the biggest club game in World football will be taking place at Wembley in London. This years Champions League final will be contested by recently crowned Spanish Champions FC Barcelona and English Champions Manchester United. Both teams have won the competition 3 times and will be aiming to win their 4th European cup come Saturday night. This game is being billed as one of the closest finals in recent times, with both teams being in exceptional form in this years tournament. Manchester United are Unbeaten so far in the tournament while Barca have been beaten once on the road to London, and that was ironically, in London, against Arsenal in the last 16. Barca beat great rivals Real Madrid in the semi finals, while United beat surprise package Schalke in the last 4.
Both teams met in the 2009 final, in Rome. Manchester United were installed as bookies favourites that night, but even though they started brightly in the eternal city that night, it turned into a horror show as Barca ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Samuel Eto’o that helped secure the treble for Pep Guardiola’s men. It would appear that Barca have got better since 2009 and United have got worse, but the latter isnt true. They have lost Ronaldo and Tevez but they have replaced them with Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez, who have made them more of a team. Barca have definitely strengthened, they have gone from strength to strength since then. They have set new a new points record in La Liga (99 points) and their star player Lionel Messi has gotten better. He has broken his own personal goal scoring record twice in two years and is, without doubt, the best player in the world at the moment.
It promises to be a tight affair on Saturday night. Both sets of players will be chomping at the bit to bring ‘Ol big ears’ back to their respective clubs. It is expected that the Catalans will field their usual 4-3-3 at Wembley. The only question on their team sheet is whether Javier Mascherano, Eric Abidal or Maxwell will accompany Puyol, Pique and Alves in the back four. Manchester United are expected to field a 4-4-2 formation, with Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney leading the line, it is unknown as to who will play at Right back for United, with the experienced John O’Shea expected to get the nod ahead of young Brazilian Fabio. It is a tough match to call, but if If I had to choose a winner, it would have to be Barcelona. If both teams play to potential then there will only be one winner. However, if there is one team who can do it, it is United.
Prediction: Barcelona 2 – 1 Manchester United
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