Barcelona vs. Manchester United - Champions League Final, Wembley Stadium, London England 2:45 PM EST Saturday May 28, 2011
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Barcelona 1.90 / Manchester United 3.70 / Draw 3.50
Over/Under: 2.5 goals - Over 2.10 / Under 1.65
Moneyline: Barcelona -111 / Manchester United +270 / Draw +250
Could there be any better of a Champions League final? I think not, as both Barcelona and Manchester United are two of the most storied soccer clubs and both won their respective leagues this season. This is a rematch of the 2009 Champions League final, which Barcelona won. Many are saying that this Barcelona team is the best team of all time. These teams have met 10 times and this match will be the tiebreaker with each side winning 3 and 4 draws.
This season the England Premier League Manchester United scored 78 goals and gave up 37 and in La Liga in Spain Barcelona scored 95 goals and gave up 21.
Barcelona plays an attacking style and they kill team boring them to death with their pinpoint passing. Manchester United must be careful and not fall into that trap and make any stupid mistakes. Man U will have to play especially well in the midfield and try control that area of the field.
One big question in this match is can the Manchester United defense stop Barca striker Lionel Messi? Messi led La Liga, as well as this season’s Champions League, in goals AND he scored the 2nd goal in the 2009 final against Man U.
Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick have to break up the passing mastery of Xavi and Iniesta and if they can do that they have a legit chance to win this match. The more that Barcelona wins the time of possession battle the more of a chance they have to win this match. Manchester United has to be physical in this match and disrupt the Barca passing lanes.
Manchester United Recent Form:
5/22/2011 Manchester United 4 Blackpool 2 (EPL)
5/14/2011 Blackburn 1 Manchester United 1 (EPL)
5/8/2011 Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1 (EPL)
5/4/2011 Manchester United 4 Schalke 04 1 (Champions League)
5/1/2011 Arsenal 1 Manchester United 0 (EPL)
Barcelona Recent Form:
5/21/2011 Malaga 1 Barcelona 3 (La Liga)
5/15/2011 Barcelona 0 Deportivo La Corua 0 (La Liga)
5/11/2011 Levante 1 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
5/8/2011 Barcelona 2 Espanyol 0 (La Liga)
5/3/2011 Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 1 (Champions League)
Both teams are relatively match fit so each squad will be at full strength.
Javier Chicharito Hernandez and Wayne Rooney will have to take advantage of the, likely, few scoring chances they have since Barcelona will probably control the time of possession. Rooney is hitting on all cylinders and is in top form, but I do not think he or the Man U team will find the back of the net in this match.
Barca defenders Gerard Piqu and Carles Puyol will not allow the Man U offense to have a lot of shots, which is why Barcelona will keep a clean sheet.
The Manchester United defense led by Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrick Evra must not allow the Barca players, especially Messi from getting deep in the box and they have to get in the passing lanes, as if they do not Barcelona will find a way to score with their fantastic passing skills.
Man U G Edwin van der Sar will be key in this match, as he will be peppered the by the awesome Barcelona strikers. He has given up 4 goals in his last 3 matches and even though he is still one of the best keepers in the world there is no way he will keep a clean sheet in this match.
In their last 10 matches Barcelona has an Over/Under 2.5 goal record of 6-4 with Manchester United at 7-3.
Jason’s Pick to Win: I think this will be just like last year’s Champions League final between Inter and Bayern, as it will be a more than exciting match. Barcelona simply has too much talent up and down the pitch and they will not be denied. I look for an exact repeat of 2009, as Barcelona will win by a score of 2-0.