Champions League, Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona: 5 Men who won the game for Barcelona
Manchester United and Barcelona played out an entertaining encounter in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. The game was billed to be the pick of the four ties, but in truth, the teams were enduring contrasting fortunes this season. While Barcelona were firing on all cylinders, United were only recovering under Solskjaer and the journey for the Red Devils had just begun.
Despite the difference in quality between the two sides, Valverde showed a lot of respect for his opponents and named a strong side for the game. Ter Stegen started in goal, with Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, and Alba making up the back four. Rakitic and Arthur joined Busquets in the midfield, while Coutinho, Messi, and Suarez made up the front three.
The game was an end to end affair which probably deserved a lot more goals. However, Barcelona scored the only goal of the game. It was initially ruled out for offside until VAR intervened and gave Barcelona their deserved lead.
It was a win that Barcelona had to toil to achieve, especially since United gave them a lot of problems in the second half. But Valverde had these 5 men to thank, who were brilliant for Barcelona and won them the game.
#5 Arthur Melo
The Brazilian carried on his usual game at Old Trafford with the same poise and ease that he has shown the entire season. Usually, Arthur is always put under pressure by the opposition, to deny him any chance to assert his influence on the game. Against United though, the Brazilian was allocated a lot of space and time to dictate the proceedings.
At the start of the game, Arthur faced quite a lot of pressure from Fred and McTominay. However, as the game wore on, United lost their tempo and the Brazilian was allowed to spray passes at will. His kept the ball moving, shielded his defense well and also initiated counter attacks on the blink of an eye. He successfully switched play between the flanks and helped Barcelona stay in control of the midfield.