Barcelona vs Man United: Best Manager Faces Best Team In The World

Photo by (Mick Baker)rooster

Saturday’s Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United can easily be considered the biggest club match of all time. The last time these two famous teams played each other at such a competitive level was the 2009 final. But that was on a Wednesday evening. Now with the switch to a Saturday kick-off time, the viewing audience will be significantly larger. There has never been a bigger game between the two biggest clubs in the world.

Not only will this game be considered the biggest club match of all time based on TV ratings. But on the field, you have the best team in the world (Barcelona) competing against the best manager in the world (Sir Alex Ferguson). Who will ultimately succeed? We’ll find out on Saturday evening (2:45pm ET in the United States on FOX television).

The game will help answer the age old question regarding which is more influential — a great football manager or a great football team. There are plenty of theories that argue that a football manager is a mere pawn during a game who can make only limited decisions while the most influential changes can happen by the players themselves. How many times have you seen a manager set up a team perfectly but then is scored for a defeat despite the fact that one striker or two completely miss chance after chance in front of goal. A football manager is at the mercy of his players and will live and die by them.

This makes Saturday’s battle between Barcelona and Sir Alex Ferguson even more intriguing. On one hand you have soccer artisans such as Iniesta, Xavi, Messi and Villa, who play so perfectly it looks like you’re watching a real live game of FIFA 11. On the other hand, you have the mastery of Sir Alex Ferguson who will make one or two changes to his side that will often surprise you (and the opposition) but will often achieve success.

Speaking of success, Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements include two Champions League trophies, 12 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup winners, 1 UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, 4 League Cups and several other trophies. He has the uncanny skill to pick the right players for the right positions. Many may not consider him the best tactician, but he does get the best out of his players and holds them to the highest standards.

So who will conquer on Saturday night? Will it be the best football team (Barcelona) or the best football manager (Sir Alex Ferguson)? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Thank you to EPL Talk reader Denis Coombs for the story idea.

37 thoughts on “Barcelona vs Man United: Best Manager Faces Best Team In The World”

  1. Am I skipping a buddy’s wedding ceremony to watch this? Of course. I mean, the fun really doesn’t start until the reception at 6 p.m. EST.

  2. I can’t see Fergie employing the ultra-negative tactics to try and win, and as a result, I expect Barca to win fairly easily.

  3. Which Barca will show up, the magacians of Catalonia or the divers of Cesspool. Seriously, if the game gets too difficult don’t be surprised to see Barca players holding their faces and rolling around the pitch, maybe even a few racist taunts to Evra and Park. This could get very pig ugly – Barcalona style.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I absolutely hate this aspect of their game.

      However, I hope to see it out in full force on Saturday, as a result of United putting them in a position to revert to such a classy strategy…

    1. Pregame show will be at 2pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel followed by the game at 2:45pm ET on FOX. Sounds like FOX has a lot in store for what will hopefully be a match to remember.

      The Gaffer

  4. I agree SAF is the best manager today but Guardiola is also an amazing manager. Amazingly this guy is underrated because he has great talent AND because he recently took over the team. However, each year Barcelona have gotten stronger by making small but subtle changes.

    In the last two seasons Guardiola has moved Dani Alves forward, gone to a 3 man back when in possession (with the CDM in the back 3), dropped Messi deeper and into the middle, moved the ST out left, and shifted the RW inside more to allow more room for Alves.

    He’s fine tuning a well crafted machine but we don’t see if because (as I mentioned in the points per pound article) it’s harder to recognize the improvement from going from an A to A+ (Barcelona) than from an B+ to an A- (Man Utd).

    Barcelona win 3-2 but hold more than 70% possession. Should be interesting because Barca’s high line might be Chicharito’s coming out party (from very good to star).

  5. I think that Guardiola doesn’t get the credit he deserves simply because it’s widely (and probably accurately accepted) that he manages the best team on the planet. You have to give him a decent amount of credit for putting together a team that plays the way it does.

    Remember, the side was very different, and had a different style under Riijkard.

    SAF is a legend just for the fact he has built and re-built his teams to compete at the highest level time and time again.

    I think it’s going to be a great game. Barca will hold the majority of the possession (yes, I’m a member of MENSA)…United’s counter attacking style should fit well with it.

    I have a feeling United will nick the result.

  6. Sir Alex will play Hernandez up front, swamp the midfield with fletcher being a key player in keeping messi quiet, Rooney playing behind Hernandez, park and Valencia menacing the wings, Ferdinand and Vidic bossing the defence! Tight game but I believe united will win it 2-1

  7. Alex ferguson is a genius manager but this Manchester united team are very under estimated, there is a mixof youth experience and pure skill, no mega stars but a solid team that don’t give up! It’s not best team against the best manager! Wake up who set this page up!

  8. The problem is that Barca fans and a lot of professional commentators completely disregard the work of Xavi and Iniesta just to glorify Messi.
    I simply ask the same question that Rob Train asks: We know Ronaldo can shine anywhere but how good will Messi be outside Barcelona?

  9. Messi is the best player in the world. Period. I don’t know why so many Premier League fans are offended by this. Go on, keep believing he is overrated. Utter nonsense.

    1. messi is a great player, but he plays in a crap league that is a 2 horse race . the premier league is much more competative. ever notice how he just can’t score for argentina yet they have so many great players on their national side? would like to see how messi could hold up in the premier league. the wee man would be battered!

  10. Both set of defenders aren’t very good at handling pacey players or those that move well without the ball. One of Barcelona’s strenghts is that they can get behind defenders and can score. United are very good at getting behind defenders and the movement of Hernandez and Rooney is exceptional at times. I am therefore looking forward to a lot of goals being scored in this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the score was 3-2 or 4-3 for either team. As a neutral I’m looking forward to see what tactics each side employs. If the tactics are even then I think the individual brilliance of one player could be the difference. On that score Barcelona have more individuals who can turn the game. United’s best chance is to play together, which they are very good at, to give them the best chance of winning. This could end up going to penalties.

  11. Best team will beat best manager. Most of the time. The last time United lost to Barcelona they had a slightly better team than the one they have now and had the same great manager. Are Barcelona better now than they were then? I don’t think so. I’ve watched Barcelona quite a bit this season and I think they were better a couple of years ago than now.

    This is going to be a very close game and one where Barcelona will not dominate possession as they did the last time. This game is too close to call. I predict the winner will nick it by the odd goal and in overtime.

  12. I disagree with the premise of this article. They are both great football teams and both have great coaches. It is not one versus the other. In fact Guardiola has won more titles per time, 9 in three years. Time will tell his place amoung great coaches like Ferguson.

  13. this would be the best game of the cup , no doubt.
    i m very perplexed coz both of them are my fav,,,, still i would say GO MAN U.

  14. Sometimes even the underated team in the world can suprise you and defeat the biggest team in the world, we have seen it manytimes without numbers like Egypt defeated Italy, bolivia defeated Argentina, come to think of it Manchester united is a great team with a great coach that can always defeat bacerlona at any time so i dont see why united can take the victory. Glory glory man-united.

  15. Gotta pull for United because a win for them is a win for the EPL. No matter the outcome, I sure hope we get the clean Barcalona, not the dirty diving one of late.

  16. The last couple of weeks, my friends have been bombarding me with the impending doom that “their” Barcelona will bring when they play “my” United. Their argument, like many I have heard recently, is based on the fact that United couldn’t beat this side with Ronaldo, so naturally they are worse and don’t stand a chance.

    There are two key changes to this United team. 1 is Chicharito. Barca’s high line is going to have to cope with him because, as Chelsea very well know, it only takes one through ball for him to change the landscape of a game. 2, and slightly overlooked in my opinion, is the inclusion of Darren Fletcher. Many forget that he was suspended on a rather poor referreeing decision late in the second leg against Arsenal. If there is one player that could help united deal with Messi, it is him.

  17. as every one know,,Barcelona being the best football team in the world en Messi is on form.its am obvious win for Barca en if i had a million dollar,i would bet handcap,1/1,halftime fulltime,en possibly correct score 3-0.Goodluck Messi,Xavi,Iniesta,Pedro,,,to mention buton o…,

  18. Well, as a football analyst, i am not sentimental. I believe that, this match is gonna be a though and at same time, interesting. But am so much optimistic that MANCHESTER UNITED will win the match by 3:2 against Barca. Don’t ask me why now, but after the match . . . . .

  19. if i was in the postion to tell barca one statement i say them
    please don’t lose your focus until the game ends up.

  20. Schole will play and counter Xavi. Iniesta will have a quiet game. Messi will dassle but there’s only so much he can do alone. Effectively Man U are playing a home game and these little things play a big part in cup finals. Man U will win coz for once Barca will meet a side with the same Philosophy of team work. Results 2-1, Rooney and Scholes.

  21. never underestimate the opponent tea, Man Utd Fans.. Barca is a tough team… they have maintain their good record for so many seasons.. and this season, Barca still win the Champions League. =) after watching the game, i can see that Man Utd players didn’t performed well. Ferguson sure feel very disappointed for losing 3-1 against Barca today, hence they’ve recently won the Barclays Premier League..

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