Forget the history. Let go the sympathetic feelings and sentimentality regarding the UCL match later tonight. Stop the mathematical calculations on probability because sometimes, football makes no sense. The Mighty Barcelona take on Man United at Camp Nou in a return leg match, with a 1-0 away win advantage. Much was talked about regarding the game at Old Trafford last week, but the results left a lot of a sour feeling in our mouths. The return leg is do or die affair for both teams, and for sure, either side would love to come out triumphantly so as to advance to the semis of the UCL. Exit as such an advanced would be painful for all the 8 contenders competing, as PSG, Real Madrid, Atletico and Roma watch from the sidelines.
I am a big fan of the Red Devils, and frankly I am concerned with the way the team has been playing of late. It has been a disorganized, disjointed, lethargic, laboured performance with the poor results but showing. Defeat after defeat have done the players and the recently appointed gaffer OGS no good. Lukaku, Martial, Rashford have all been wanting in finishing with wasted opportunities killing the team. There is a big difference between playing badly but getting results and playing badly and getting hammered by even the weakest of opponents. Looking at Manchester United currently sitting 6th on the EPL log, It must concern the manager and the players that making to the top 4 chances are as slim as one could see it. Missing out of the UCL would mean reduced club revenues and wage cut to the players, as they will have to play mid-week games in the lesser prestigious Europa League. Players like Pogba, David de Gea would evaluate their options and may want out to get more UCL game time.
Back to the match at night. Bookmakers have already ruled out Man United doing any damage to a strong Barcelona contingent. Messi and Co. seem more than keen to win the match and eventually the UCL trophy, with the domestic la Liga Cup all but secured. The same story-line highlighted the media and newspapers in Turin and Paris when Ronaldo led Juventus and Mbappe inspired PSG took on the seemingly weak Manchester opposition. Even Man City, running hard to claim the EPL in the 2017/18 campaign had their train all oiled and pumped up. Then, at the blowing of the final whistle, embarrassment, shame and defeat ruled the headlines as Manchester United carried the day and the results that mattered. This is another famous night, where the game could go either way, with the 22 men on the pitch sweating it out until the 90′ are over.
In moments like this, when big players like Pogba rise to the occasion to boss the midfield, spray pinpoint passes to strikers and stamp their authority, a result worth of the talent and huge wages money they are paid weekly. Rashford, Lukaku and Martial need to be ruthless, and relentlessly attack the defense and Marc-André ter Stegen to get the ball behind the net. Considering Messi, Dembele and Semedo would be causing all manner of problems on the opposite end, hitting them hard, on target and making goal would certainly count. David de Gea, with the defense cover of Smalling and
Victor Lindelöf needs to prove he is the best goalkeeper in the world, by saving Manchester from embarrassment. Dembele, Messi and Suarez on a good day in the office would wreck havoc on any defense line in the world, and de Dea need to stand his ground to scoop, dive, and do all the reflexes he has ever imagined to keep Barcelona in line. With a constant threat on the wings stretch the Barcelona defense, a well-oiled and inspired engine room going pound for pound against the purring Barcelona thrift midfield, we will be in for a thrilling encounter. Pogba, McTominay and Fred need to unshackle their opponents and ensure good balls reach their attackers who have the responsibility to hit home fast and hard. Offensive and effective counter-attacks could as well win OGS the game.
With a quick and fast start of the game to make it 1-1, it would be game on. The rest, will be upto to the discipline of the players, tactics of the gaffers, key decisions by the referee and the brilliance of the most important people on the pitch, the game changers. This is when we sit back as spectators and let the athlete professionals have their skills, experience and brilliance do the talking as they huff and puff after the iconic white-starred red-paneled. If I were a Red Devils player, I would buzz and put in such a shift that the coach and the entire would be surprised and ask, who is that. Ronaldinho Gaúcho , a football legend hit such high and fine notes in a memorable match for Barcelona against Real Madrid that all fans at the Santiago Bernabeu , gave him bow and standing ovation for his legendary and unforgettable performance. Maybe it is time for Pogba to hit such a fine form, single-highhandedly win the game and have Barcelona seeking his shirt, and signature on a new mega millions worth contract come 2019-20. He wanted a big stage, against the big boys, and it could not be better