Barcelona vs Manchester United: Lineups and LIVE updates
Written by Ossy on February 23, 2023
One team will emerge from Old Trafford with their continental dreams still alive, while another will see their European season come to an early end as Manchester United and Barcelona meet for the second leg of their Europa League matchup.
Drawn against each other much earlier than anticipated in the Europa League knockout stage, the two European giants will put everything on the line knowing there’s much to lose in this affair. Ending their continental journey for the season this early would be a massive disappointment given how their domestic campaigns have shaped out.
The first leg was a thrilling 2-2 draw that leaves it all on the line in the final 90 minutes or more at Old Trafford, and both sides have a large amount at stake. Barcelona are leading La Liga by a significant margin and seem well equipped to maintain their advantage atop the Spanish league table, but bowing out of the Europa League in the playoff stage would still be an embarrassment.
Man United, meanwhile, are looking to cling to a glimmer of hope in the Premier League title race, but are also holding a strong position amongst the top four as Erik ten Hag steers the Red Devils back to their former position as European kings.
While this game is of vital importance, both teams are in awkward positions as well, looking ahead to critical fixtures. Barcelona especially are juggling a number of injuries and a host of important upcoming games, including three games against hated Real Madrid across the next five weeks. United, meanwhile, have the EFL Cup final set for the weekend plus a Premier League road fixture against arch rivals Liverpool in a further week’s time.
MORE: How to watch Man United vs Barcelona in Europa League play
Man United vs Barcelona odds
The absences for Barcelona seem to be affecting the betting market, as the visitors at Old Trafford are 2/1 underdogs. Manchester United are deemed clear favorites, but still boast slightly plus moneyline odds.
After the barnburner first leg that ended 2-2, the game flow odds are swung heavily in favour of the over, with goals expected to fill the back of the Old Trafford nets.
Man United vs Barcelona: 3 things to know
Man United vs Barcelona match facts
- Date: Thursday, February 23
- Kickoff Time: 3:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm GMT / 7:00 am AEDT (Fri, Feb. 24)
- Location: Old Trafford (Manchester, England)
- Official: Clement Turpin (FRA)
- First leg score: Barcelona 2-2 Man United
Man United vs Barcelona team news
Erik ten Hag doesn’t have too many selection problems to worry about for Man United in his game. Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen remain long-term absentees, but otherwise the midfield is finally healthy and available. That means Marcel Sabitzer and Casemiro could start together in the Man United midfield for the first time since the former joined on loan in January. Anthony Martial is back in training, but is not yet working with the first team, instead doing light fitness drills by himself.
Barcelona manager Xavi has a serious selection issue ahead of this critical match. He’s lost vital midfielder Pedri to a hamstring injury at the worst possible time, while fellow youngster Gavi is suspended for yellow card accumulation after his 73rd-minute booking in the first leg. That means Frenkie de Jong will shoulder even more midfield responsibilities and attention, and Franck Kessie will likely see the field. Ousmane Dembele still has not returned from his hamstring injury and will miss out again.
MORE: Updated Premier League table with title, Champions League, and relegation race breakdowns
Man United vs Barcelona key stats
- Man United have lost just two of their last 11 European matches at home, but both defeats came to Spanish opposition, falling to Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad both by 1-0 scorelines in 2022.
- Marcus Rashford has 24 goals across competitions this season, matching Man United’s top goalscorer from the entirety of last season, Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Gavi’s absence (via suspension) will be just the second match he has missed for Barcelona all season across all competitions, after he was an unused substitute in the 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage.
Man United vs Barcelona prediction
- Moneyline lean: Man United (+125)
- Against the spread lean: Man United -0.5 (+115)
- Score prediction: Man United 3-1 Barcelona
There are too many red flags in this match for Barcelona to have any confidence in the Catalan club whatsoever.
Barcelona have been awful on the road, and their defending in European competition just hasn’t been the same as at the domestic level.
Their forward play, meanwhile, has not been of consistent quality. Raphinha has been scoring important goals, but on expected goals (and, if you watched the first leg, on the eye test as well), he’s been getting extremely lucky with his chances in front of net. Robert Lewandowski was blanketed in the first leg, able to rip off just two measly shots, and if Ten Hag develops another plan to quiet the Barcelona talisman, they’ll struggle to find good goals again.