UEFA Champions League 2018/19: 3 tactics Manchester United should follow to overcome Barcelona
The biggest European nights have returned to The Theatre of Dreams as Manchester United will host Barcelona for the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal encounters. United have to dig deep against the current La Liga leaders if they have to come out as victors against them.
Barcelona are tipped as the prime contenders for the UCL title, with their talisman, Lionel Messi, enjoying a purple patch. United should go the extra mile if they have to stand a chance against the Catalans.
United must be confident of their chances, as they overcame a mighty PSG side courtesy of a last-gasp penalty kick which sealed the deal for them. Hence, this article will look into the tactical switches required to contain the dominant Blaugrana:
#1 Playing with 3 Center-Backs
Barcelona relies on their intricate passing and swift movements which breaks down the opposition's defense by catching players out of their positions. Full-backs provide the attacking width to this Barca team as the wingers drift inside and play centrally and occupy playmaking zones.
Ole should bring back Eric Bailly into the starting XI alongside Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling and deploy him on the right side of the defensive trio. Bailly's pace and strength will shield against the surging Jordi Alba; a prime attacking outlet from Barca's left side. The presence of Bailly in this area will encourage the wing-back to attack more often.
Lindelof is a tactical defender who can intercept the final third passes of Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic. The Swede has to come up against Luis Suarez and negate his movements which create space for others. Chris Smalling is a physical defender and puts his strength to good effect. The English defender can play a sweeper role making those crucial tackles, clearances, and blocking the shots. The Englishman uses his physique well in set-piece situations, making him a potent threat in the opposition box.