The Red Devils were outplayed during the first leg and were lucky to come away with just a 1-0 loss. Luke Shaw’s first half own goal was the difference, although Luis Suarez’s shot was headed into the goal regardless.
Manchester United did get back to winning ways at the weekend with a 2-1 victory over West Ham. The Red Devils struggled through the game and only won thank to two penalties from Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman has 16 goals this season, but eight of them have come from the penalty spot showing his scoring from open play has been lacking. Pogba was wholly ineffective against Barcelona in the first leg in front of goal as he failed to register a shot.
Barcelona head into the second leg at Camp Nou having drawn nil-nil with La Liga bottom club Huesca on Sunday. Manager Ernesto Valverde rotated his side with only goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen keeping his place.
The good news for Barcelona was Ousmane Dembele played over 65 minutes of the fixture. The Frenchman is getting his fitness back and could feature from the start against Manchester United.
Valverde rested Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Neither player was in the team and watched from the stands. They will be well-rested for Manchester United’s arrival.
The trio missed the first leg with Fred and Scott McTominay filling in for Herrera and Matic. Shaw won’t play a part in the game as he serves a yellow card accumulation suspension.
Manchester United did overturn a two goal first leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round. The problem is, the Red Devils must corral Suarez and Messi, two players far more capable of causing Manchester United problems than those who were in PSG’s squad.
Barcelona must attack Manchester United as their defence has shown weaknesses over the last two seasons. It was at this stage in 2017-18 that Barcelona took a 4-1 first-leg lead to Italy against Roma. The Giallorossi scored three goals without reply to dump Barcelona out of the tournament.
That memory will be fresh in the Catalans’ minds as an away goal for Manchester United can completely change the tie. The opening should be cagey with both teams loosening up and going for goal. The second leg should see over 2.5 goals scored as the caution of the first leg wears off.