Barcelona News: Messi-Suarez-Dembele trident to start vs Manchester United
What's the story?
Ernesto Valverde has been reported to have decided to risk Ousmane Dembele for Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League second leg at home to Manchester United. Although the 21-year old has just returned from a hamstring injury layoff, Valverde feels that his pace and trickery will be much needed as Barcelona look to press on their 1-0 advantage from the first leg win at Old Trafford.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona hasn't progressed past the Quarterfinals stage of the UEFA Champions League in the past three seasons and the pressure is immense on Valverde to deliver, especially since the La Liga is considered to be already in the bag. The defending Spanish champions Barcelona are 9 points clear at the top of the La Liga table, with only 6 games to go.
Barcelona carries a 1 goal advantage going into the fixture, but cannot take Manchester United for granted, especially considering the kind of fight and desire they showed to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit to Paris Saint Germain with a 3-1 victory in Paris.
The heart of the matter
Spanish outlet Sport has reported that Valverde has decided to go on the front foot and start the trickier and quicker Dembele instead of Coutinho, to partner Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in attack.
Coutinho has failed to hit the heights that he achieved during his Liverpool time, in his time at Barcelona and he was particularly disappointing against United, managing just one shot and one key pass in the first leg at Old Trafford. A statistical comparison between him and the 21-year-old Frenchmen shows that they are neck to neck in most parameters, but Dembele has had more impact in terms of match-winning ability.
The mercurial Frenchmen has won 3 Man of the Match awards compared to Coutinho's 1, providing more match-winning contributions to the Blaugrana than the off-colour Brazilian.
Barcelona faces off against Manchester United, at home at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, 12:30 pm Indian Standard Time.