Manchester United predicted line-up vs Barcelona: No Martial but Lingard to start
It is perhaps the epitome of Manchester United‘s entirely unpredictable season to date that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will lead the Reds into a Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona at the Camp Nou with Scott McTominay looking to repeat his man-of-the-match performance from the first game of the tie.
Little can match the heroics of that night in Paris that saw United become the first team in the history of the European Cup to reverse a two-goal deficit away from home in the knock-out stages, though you sense the Reds will have to eclipse the performance from their 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain to earn a semi-final berth for the first time since 2011.
McTominay, the orchestrator in United’s midfield on Wednesday night, was rested for Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of West Ham and there is every chance that the 22-year-old Scotland international will resume his position at the base of a midfield trio at the Camp Nou. The question is which players join him there.
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Paul Pogba covered more ground than ever before in a United shirt in the first leg and the Frenchman will be key to United ensuring they right the wrong of the first leg and register an effort on target against Barcelona. Fred has been impressive in recent weeks and his energy should give him the nod over Nemanja Matic, who could return from injury.
Solskjaer might be tempted to play Jesse Lingard in the false nine position, as he did so successfully away at Tottenham in January. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku could play in slightly wider positions to ask questions of Barcelona‘s defensive structure with United on the counter-attack. Anthony Martial has done little to convince of his worth of a starting berth at the Camp Nou.
Luke Shaw’s penchant for yellow cards this season rules him out of United’s biggest game on the season to mean that Solskjaer has an unenviable decision to make at left-back. Marcos Rojo could feature there, though Ashley Young is perhaps the wiser option – even after a poor showing in the first leg. Diogo Dalot – and his impeccable delivery – should start at right-back to push Young out to the other side. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling should start between the in front of David De Gea, though keeping Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele quiet on the Camp Nou’s enormous pitch could prove more challenging than last week’s assignment at Old Trafford.