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This Year’s Champions League Final Will NOT Be Ronaldo vs Messi


If you would believe various pundits, the annoying debate that many football fans have been subject to this year and last – Ronaldo vs. Messi – will come to its conclusion in the UCL final in Rome.  On the biggest stage in club competitions, the two most complete players in attacking football will meet head to head.

The winner will be crowned the best in the world, the loser will claim second place.  Fans of the loser will say he was robbed, the winner’s supporters will smugly proclaim that the final underscored the gulf in quality.

To boil the final down to this issue would be a mistake, and would ignore the other much more important battles that will happen on May 27th.  While Ronaldo and Messi are both elite, I doubt the Champions League trophy will really go to whoever plays better on that day.

First of all, neither the Argentine nor the Portuguese has an impressive record against clubs from England and Spain, respectively.  An injured Messi was pretty much ineffective against Barcelona last season in the semis, and Ronaldo was marked out of the game by Barcelona, notably Gianluca Zambrotta, who ironically teed up Paul Scholes for the long range, tie-winning goal.

This year in the final however, I see more of a Barcelona’s attack vs United’s back four.  Vidic and Ferdinand, as it has been repeated so often, are the best two in the game.  Evra looks to be back on form.  The only suspect position, and I use that term only in comparison with the other members of the back-line, is right-back for United.

This is not to take away from the offense, but the free-flowing stuff of last season has been slowed down, maybe by Berbatov’s inclusion (didn’t the United vs. Arsenal meeting last week look like the 2007-08 campaign, with Berba notably on the bench?).  This season the defense has really outshone the offense, not just in the club but in the whole EPL, 4-0 loss to Liverpool excluded.

Barcelona’s attack is frightening, but currently weakened.  Henry and Iniesta both are having problems with fitness, Dani Alves and Eric Abidal (unfairly) are suspended, and Rafa Marquez is out for the season.  These weaknesses in defense force makeshift changes and weaken the midfield, already less flowing and lethal when Iniesta has to play as a forward for the injured Henry.  If neither Iniesta nor Henry play, Pep Guardiola will have to change his “Tridente” formation for the first time this season (or else play out-of-form Bojan or Gudjohnsen), which brings me to my next point.

Everyone playing Barca since late September has known that they will run a 4-3-3 with Messi on the right, Henry on the left, and Eto’o in the middle.  The midfield will include Xavi, Iniesta, and Keita or Yaya Toure.  Dani Alves plays at right back (in reality reality he is an attacking midfielder), Puyol and Marquez stay in the center, unless Pique plays in which case Puyol moves out left.  It’s a formula, and it has worked, but against master tacticians, it won’t.  It literally came within seconds from failure against Chelsea, but a combination of slack finishing, suspect calls, and a non-existant clearance from Essien allowed Iniesta one chance that he buried in style.  Hiddink knew how to shut down Barcelona, and my bet is that Sir Alex will too.

The Scot should be able to field a United side that can take advantage of both the weakness in attack simply by keeping the defense as he has all season, and exploit Barcelona’s defense problems.  The right and left wings will be open all night to  players with pace now that Alves and Abidal are gone, and judging by the Chelsea game, the midfield looks like it can be muscled out by the likes of Carrick and Anderson.  Most importantly, if Puyol moves out left or right, the center will be horribly exposed.

Barcelona are hobbling right now, and certainly cannot field a full strength team.  Messi on his day is the best in the world, but he cannot make up for the obvious defensive weaknesses.  If Iniesta and Henry do return for the final however, it might not matter how weak the defense looks.  If Barca show up to Rome limping in both the attacking and defending third though, I feel that Sir Alex’s carefully planned team will be celebrating at the end of the night.

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  1. fatjoni

    May 16, 2010 at 8:30 am

    messi ti je ma i miri veq ky pederi ronaldo

  2. fatjoni

    May 16, 2010 at 8:27 am

    ej hehe jeni te pa par

  3. Sam

    November 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Oh shit! In term of comparism,u can never compare ronaldo n messi. messi is extraodinarily better than ronaldo in all aspect.hes d man of d moment n hope he will be crown d world footballer one day. Messi jst d best

  4. Anguel

    May 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    As I predicted Barca’s intelligence and technique can not be shut down easily. The line up I posted up weeks before the game was the exact one Pep send out ton the pitch.
    Barca showedn the meaning of their football and badly exposed a team that had been doing things good until facing the little giants from catalunia…
    Barca have the best midfield and once again we saw that. I was disappointed that Man U couldnt fight back but how could they if they are not as spectacular as barcelona.
    I enjoyed the game and I hope Messi wins the best player award…… All barca players kicked ass. Now imagine if the starting line up had been the regulars from all season….
    oh yeah, who said Messi could not shoot or head the ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ask Rio and the rest of Man U..
    Both good teams but only one was the best and will be for a long time.

    Viva FcBarcelona

    ———Eto————– Messi moved more towars the middle which confused the crap out of Mr. Fergie….

  5. BZLCharlie

    May 27, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I don’t think this is going to be a Ronaldo vs Messi affair
    Ronaldo loses his flare in big games and Messi has a hard job to get through ManUs defence.
    I think maybe 2-1 United or possibly extra time/penalties
    if it goes to penalties, my guess is United will win hands down

    United FTW!! 😀

    Oh and I hope this isn’t Tevez’ last match (if he plays that is)
    He’s 1million time better than Berbatov.

  6. Faridski

    May 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

    How can you compare this game to the game with Chelsea?
    Chelsea did’nt play football at all. They Played defensive 9 Chelsea players staying home and f**king around wit htheir goal keeper? Is that football?

    It’s English football, it’s f**king boring! I HATE IT. I Hate sitting around watching a f**king chess game. Football must be entertaining, english football is like watching Barnaby!


  7. FanZine

    May 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I just hope that this will be a cracking game and an exhibition for all.
    But then, I also worry for the emotional trauma that some fans may undergo during the course of the game. Hope the game wont cause some people to go to the hospital for heart failure!

  8. FootballFan

    May 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Real interesting article and comments. I support no club but love the way Barca plays. I’ll love them to win but I really believe that can happen only if they can break Man U’s defence which has been really good this season.

  9. AVisitor

    May 18, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I agree with Anguel. I think too much is being made of Barca’s injuries. Barca are a top team. They many not be able to fill the gap left by Alves and Abidal completely, but they have able players who can step in a hold their own. After all, for instance, Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs didn’t do such a bad job against Ronaldo, did he?

    Another thing people tend to overlook is the importance of discipline and will. Down to 10 men against Chelsea, Barca never lost their heads. They remained committed to their game. They’re also a team of destiny looking to create history as the first La Liga team to win the treble. They will be up for it on the 27th and will play with the will and determination expected of all who wear the Barca shirt.

    I believe that if Man U goes a goal down and find it hard to score they will lose their discipline. Rooney and Ronaldo are two hot heads. Their indiscipline could be Man U’s undoing in this final.

    It will be a tough, close game, and I hope my heart can take it, but I believe Barca will prevail.

  10. FanZine

    May 18, 2009 at 4:42 am

    For a bit of fun comparison, I took some fantasy stats to make a comparison and show that the EPL is indeed the best league in the world. La Liga is a close second.
    Incidentally both Ronaldo and Messi are in the respective EPL and La Liga Select XI. Comparing them individually, fantasy stats-wise, Ronaldo edges Messi in points ranking.
    Anyways, it would be great for Barca to win it, at least it puts romance back into the Champions League.

  11. Afaan

    May 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Alright guys listen to yourselves just to put a few things straight in football anything can happen in a split second to change the game for example when barca got past chelsea.

    Last seasons semi-final went to plan, barca fans say we got dominated but in actuall fact we did not as we stook to our game play, at the nou camp we defended because the nou camp has a very wide pitch which allows them to play their passing game still in this game barca had no very good chances just a bunch of half-hope shots, ronaldo missed a penalty which would have made it much more interesting.

    Second leg at old trafford barca were dominated as the game plan was to get a goal, towards the end of the game barca started to attack and nothing came of it apart from one henry chance which did not go in so it doesnt matter.

    now the huge ronaldo Vs Messi debate, before i start there was someone who said ronaldo does not preform in big games he scored against chelsea in the final last year and just take a look at the preformance against arsenal in the semi final, quarter final against porto united drew at Old Trafford and had to go to porto and win (something an english team has never done) one forty yard screamer from ronaldo and there it was we were through so no one can say ronaldo goes to sleep when it comes to the big games.

    no back to ronaldo and messi they are completely different player as terms of talent if you sit down and think about it ronaldo is without a doubt the better player, fair enough messi is better at dribbling with the ball but what else? can he come close to ronaldo when it comes to heading the ball, freekicks, skill ronaldo can do all these things aswell as being a fantastic dribbler. last season when ronaldo was on top of his game he scored 42 goals last season the season before 23 goals and 26 goals so far this season and for a player who hasnt been playing to the best of his ability this season that is what the best player in the world is about.

    messi has scored 06/07 14 goals with a hatrick against real madrid in their which is very impressive.last season i could not find and this season he has scored 35+ goals which is very impressive but how many have been in the CL i believe if he was playing in the tough tackling EPL not La Liga then he would not be as good

    for me looking at stats and watching the players i come to the conclusion that ronaldo is the better player but we can not judge as they both do different things and play in different leagues were the style of football is played differently the only way for me to fairly compare these to great players is if ronaldo was to join madrid, which i dont think will happen as long as we keep winning the trophys.

    United won the league today and won the treble if they were to go on and lift the CL we would be the first team to win the quadruple a decade from being the first team to win the treble back in 99

    Come on united you can do it!

  12. solomon

    May 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I thing Barca is going to WIN THE MATCH .Eto ,Messi and the company lets go boys

  13. Anguel

    May 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    If the man u defense(not Ferguson) neutralize Barca attack… can they score if their mind is only on defending?????
    Barca can keep total control of the ball. It will be a hardcore game but lets be realistic and think about a team who can keep the ball against any defense, the man u defenders will have a hard time keeping up. Iniesta attacks from the left moving into the middle, Henry shooting and attacking from the left with Eto’o as lead striker, Xavi controlling the middle and Messi attacking from the right into the middle and driving the defense crazy(like last year)…..We will see passing connected and the meaning of football defined by these players……..We will see how well the man u defenders(not ferguson) can neutralize the best of the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Footy Fan

    May 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    For those people who think Man U will not play like Chelsea i.e. 10 men behind the ball – you are extremely naive.

    Honestly, why wouldn’t they? They dont’ have the attacking game nor the passing game to take on Barca – if they try to attack (when they finally get the ball) – they are liable to suffer a counterattack which is far more lethal.

    So, I see no reason why United won’t play 10 men behind the ball – honeslty, it’s just good strategy. If you can’t compete with them on offence, then compete on defence.

    Besides, the long ball strategy would work better for them since Rooney is a better striker than Eto’o (at least of late – his form has been horrible). There’s always a danger off set pieces with Ronaldo – either with his foot or with his head.

    That’s all they have to do. Keep Barca out and wait for set piece opportunities or hope for a long ball goal by Rooney (which is possible with the high line of Barca).

    Honestly, people aren’t realising how ugly this could turn for Barca if they don’t break down Man United defence. But, IMO, they will break it down – Messi wasn’t at his best against Chelsea and it wasn’t just about the space available.

  15. JLay

    May 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Messi may be an artist, but this isn’t an art contest. Evra will ride him like a pony all day long.

  16. Footy Fan

    May 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Let us take a look at the likely starting 11 of both teams:

    Manchester United – Transfer starters –
    Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Van Der Sar, Ferdinand, Berbatov
    Manchester United – Homebred starters –
    GIggs, Scholes, Brown,

    Barcelona – Transfer starters –
    Eto’o, Henry, Yaya Toure, Keita, Sylvinho
    Barcelona – Homebred players –
    Valdes, Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets

    Homebred to team ratios:
    MU – 3/11
    Barca – 6/11

    Even if Alves and Abidal started – only Busquets would be dropped in favour of one of them while Sylvinho would be replaced – so the ratio would just drop to 5/11 compared to 3/11 for MU.

    The basic fact of the matter is that barcelona’s most influential – Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, and Puyol are all homegrown.

    While MU’s most influential players – Ronaldo, Rooney, and their great defence duo – Vidic and Ferdinand – are all transfers (you can include Giggs in that lot – but it would still be only one homegrown influential player compared to 4 for Barca).

  17. The Impeccable

    May 15, 2009 at 1:26 am

    One thing is certain though, this upcoming potential classic final will have a significant impact on Messi and Ronaldo’s fate as far as the crown is concerned.Fernando Torres and Gerrad are actually in the mix as well, Messi is the nearest to the throne right now but Ronaldo is bouncing back at a super pace now.

  18. The Impeccable

    May 15, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Soccer is arguably the most unpredictable game in entire sporting history. Who could have ever predicted that Man United would score 2 goals in the first 12 minutes against Football professor Arsene Wenger ‘s team? The same will apply in the Rome final. From logical analysis though, Man United is the most ordinary, yet lethal of all teams in the UEFA league. As super as Barcelona is billed to be, one can only take the two Chelsea semi final games as an example of what a tactical coach can do to obliterate a superpower team’s greatness. Hiddink completely nuetralised Messi, Eto’o and company home and away such that Barca’s presence in the Rome final was by sheer luck. Excluding Iniesta’s goal, Almighty Barca had only one shot on target for 93 minutes. Manchester United is a “record breaker” team chasing yet another record. Barca is by far the best attacking team on earth. There is no worthy comparison. but what if, ask yourself!! what if ” Sir” Alex Furguson nuetralises their super attack.The answer is obvious, an automatic Man United victory.

  19. Anguel

    May 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Ronaldo is a good player, lets just take a look at the last game between Barca and Man U…..Who was more dangerous? Messi terrorized their defense the only negative aspect was that he didn’t score. However, his conditions this year are superior. It will be fun to watch these teams. Barca have intelligence in every player and that is more important than the physique as talked about by many. I am positive Barca will shine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. NSBG

    May 14, 2009 at 4:59 am


  21. NSBG

    May 14, 2009 at 4:52 am

    If United defenders concentrate their sole duty in stopping Lionel Messi, then Barcelona wins it cause that’s exactly the purpose of the player. Since all defenders fear him and on one to one his at 95 percent sure to beat the opposing defender. I can’t see Evra stopping hi easily. Messi is quick, agile , two foot player with incredible stamina and pace with the ball with tricks too not as Ronaldo who has pace, power and tricks but can be shrugged off by a defender. while Messi in even the smallest of spaces he gets his way through.
    So 3-1 to United, I don’t think so!!!!!!! It’s not as so simple as it seems to be!!!
    and Tyson I think you got something wrong regarding Barcelona, you’re out of it guy!!!!

  22. ba

    May 14, 2009 at 3:23 am

    for sure it’s pep vs fergie.
    the winner taking back 3 trophies this season.

  23. Anguel

    May 13, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I meant,

    Messi Henry

  24. Anguel

    May 13, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    -Messi—— ——Henry-

  25. Anguel

    May 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I understand that Barca has key players out for the Roma Finale, but that does not mean Manchester are superiror. Barcelona’s Team has the best midfield in the world at the moment. We’ve all seen how their attack can smash any defense. Chelsea was able to keep them from scoring for a long time but we saw that even against an 11 men defense Barca has the power to hit the back of the net.
    It is a tough game to call. Manchester are superior than Chelsea and I think they will want to attack thus leaving space for the Barca side to expose their magic. However this magic will be exposed only if the regular attacking players are fit, even if they are not Barca will have a competitive team.
    I’ve seen most of Barcelona’s games this season and no team has been able to completely shut down the blaugranas, not even chelsea!

  26. Alex

    May 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Watch the Iniesta goal again. Chelsea had three defenders on Messi. And Ballack did not move forth to pressure Iniesta as he was ready for intercepting Messi were he to slip through. Chelsea marked Messi with 2 and 3 players throughout the entire two matches. I don’t know of any other player in the world marked like that.

    Ronaldo is an extraoridnary player that has proven himself.

    Messi instead is GENIUS … but he has to do more to prove himself as the best player in the world by FIFA standards.

    Ronaldo is like a machine built to make paintings in an unprecedent scale.

    Messi is like Van Gogh. His master piece is on the make.

    Lets hope that it does get out to the public.

  27. Alex

    May 13, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    If Henry and Iniesta don’t make it for the game, then Manchester shall have a feast. I’m hoping for they to make it. 14 days to go!

  28. Alex

    May 13, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Great article. And great post by Tyson.

    But … Tyson, you should get your facts straight.

    Barcelona is not “a team owned by a rich man who spent as much money as he can so he can watch some of the best players in the world take as many shots as possible and hope they get more than the opposition in.”

    On the contrary, Barcelona is fully owned by its members, who pay 150euros each year and are represented by a randomly-selected group who meet with the board and vote on major decisions.

    The majority of Barcelona’s first team came from Barcelona’s youth divisions: Valdez, Puyol, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi. Only five were purchased: Abidal, Alves, Henry, Eto’o, Toure.

  29. Tyson

    May 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I’ll also go with the prediction of 3-1 to United. If United show up on game night it’s going to be a very short game.

    Football is not about spending a lot of money to buy strikes it’s about forming a proper team and thats what United are. A team.

    Barcelona on the other hand are just a squad and a squad that would find it hard to make it into the top 5 in the Premier League to be frank.

    I think this will be a brutal decapitation by United in all honesty the only time I see Barcelona threatening is when they take wild shots every 5 seconds and hope one goes in eventually like the 80 shots they took against Chelsea before getting one in.

    Tipi you need to take your head out of Messis backside you act like hes your mothers lover the man is over rated he couldn’t muster anything against Chelsea in 180 minutes when Ronaldos United picked apart Chelsea in half that time last time the two met.

    Messi would be irrelevant if he played in the Premier League against a top 4 team as would Barcelona.

  30. FanZine

    May 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Agreed, C. Ronaldo still tend to go missing in big games as was the case in last year’s CL final. Messi will definitely be double teamed, there is no way that he will be left one-on-one. SAF must really rue not having Darren Fletcher for the final. Would have been perfect for “Fletch” to take Messi out of the game.
    As for the Messi-Ronaldo debate? They can’t hold a torch yet to THIS guy….

  31. mdkiswani

    May 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I want barca to win…but I doubt it cause of manchester united’s good defence. anyway…..messi is better than that baby ronaldo…….

  32. tipi

    May 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

    i still dont get u people!!!!
    u can not compare messi genius to some normal player as ronaldo is…do u have eyes??? or mind??? every time messi touches the ball is art,he does not know himself what he will do next..while ronaldos mind is limited,he just does what he always does,like all other normal players..shoot and maybe u get a goal.
    messi`s talent is unlimited..
    he will not be the greates of all time cause he already is…
    he has something that maradona and pele never had…intelligence

  33. JLay

    May 13, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Hiddink proved that Barca’s attack can be shut down pretty easily by a physical, defensively-sound team. United are a better team than Chelsea, Barca are ravaged by injuries, and we don’t have to play them at the Camp Nou. All the fancy footwork in the world won’t help you if you’re shrugging off defenders at first touch.

    3-1 is my guess as well – I wouldn’t rule out a moment of briliance from Barca, but United’s defense won’t give up more than that. On the other hand, Barca’s back line is decimated and their midfield is built to attack.

    Messi is certainly one of the best strikers in the world, but Patrice Evra is probably THE best left back. He has the speed and physicality to match Messi, he’ll cut off the angles and force little Leo to the sideline all day long. It will be a great battle to watch, but I think that Messi can be neutralized, especially if Henry and Iniesta are out.


  34. Hendrik

    May 13, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Messi is still a youngster, only 21. Sure, he’s brilliant, but I think it will be silly for Barca to depend solely on him for victory. That’s why they need the ‘Tridente’ to be fit and ready.

  35. Amjad

    May 13, 2009 at 8:55 am

    c.ronaldo will FAIL as he is over-rated. Last time such a duel was hyped by the media was when ManU played AC milan.

    Ronaldo v Kaka

    There was 1 winner. KAKA!! Ronaldo was nowhere to be seen.

    Again i see a repeat. Messi will win this duel as he is technically far superior to c.ronaldo.

  36. Bestplayerintheworld

    May 13, 2009 at 7:47 am

    You make a good point. These games very seldom allow the big stars to shine. I’m just hoping that Messi and Ronaldo upset this pattern. But even if they do go on to both play great games, neither should be judged on one game alone. I think being the best player in the world is about doing it over a long continuum and showing real bursts of quality that can sometimes even trump having your team win the big trophies. For instance, I think that Barca could lose in Rome and Messi still be considered the best. It’ll be interesting to see what the fans think.

    ~ Vote: bestplayerintheworld dotcom ~

  37. onyekwere chima

    May 13, 2009 at 4:44 am

    i beleive barca is going to win this match against united bcos am glad that henry is back,bcos he will make the defferences that day,up barca,i love all the barca fans

  38. smart

    May 13, 2009 at 4:38 am

    i think barca need to do somehing about there defence with that united will win,so am appealing to barca coach to do something about his defence.i love barca so much

  39. Andrew

    May 13, 2009 at 4:01 am

    but just so we all don’t freak out, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be on the pitch at the same time in a champions league final.

  40. FanZine

    May 13, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Nice article! Agreed that the upcoming CL final is more than just Ronaldo v. Messi. In fact, for me, Wayne Rooney has been the best player for Manchester United this season likewise Iniesta for Barca.
    Ferguson typically goes conservative on CL matches and this being his 2nd final is a chance for him to make history so I dont expect him to take too many risks at the start.
    For me, it will be a counter attacking game from United with their forwards working hard to harass the Barca weakened defence and put the Barca flanks under pressure.
    It’s a Manchester United win for me…but only just!
    Back to the EPL though, the relegation battle is really taking shape, and for once Newcastle show that they do have fire in their bellies.

  41. Thomas

    May 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Stopping an attacking team is quite easy? Not if they have the quality of Barcelona. With Barca you know what you are going to get. But actually stopping Eto’o, Messi, Henry, Xavi and Iniesta is a completely different story.

    Full strength, I think this game would extremely hard to predict. And I won’t count out a team that has players like Iniesta and Messi in their side…but with their back line completely weakened, I think it’s going to be very hard for Barca to compete with Man U. Ronaldo and Rooney are going to have a field day attacking that defense.

    My guess, 3-1 United, with one of United’s goals coming late, on a counter with Barca pushing for an equaliser.

  42. nas

    May 12, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Tyson, u must be an expert genius in football analysis for I couldnt undertsand nothing of what u said. Quite a heavy stuff ur analysis. I can believe muyself having read all what u wrote until the last word. really amazing!

  43. Tyson

    May 12, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Interesting article you give a lot of food for thought.

    I think your defintely under estimating the importance of Messi and Ronaldo though.

    I’ve always thought a footballer shouldn’t be judged on anything other than the way he assimilates into the squad and what he provides for his team.

    You can be the best player in the world theoretically but if your not doing much to drive the success of your team then your really irrelevant in a real world scenario.

    Considering their both key players for me it is a battle of who is the player capable of driving his club to greater heights and who ever takes the win will be a credit to his team and to himself.

    Really this match comes down to Uniteds intelligence vs Barcelonas big money players.

    Manchester United is a carefully constructed team with a mixture of youth and experience and multi million pound superstars and young homebred talent all playing side by side.

    Barcelona is a team owned by a rich man who spent as much money as he can so he can watch some of the best players in the world take as many shots as possible and hope they get more than the opposition in.

    Breaking down a team that only knows one thing and that is constant attacking is very simple. Stop them attacking, stop them counter attacking.

    Manchester United are a side with a significantly more depth but their not going to find this game easy due to counter attacking.

    Last year Manchester United were notable for attacking and not defending and this year its the opposite yet they are largely compose of the same players so whats happening?

    Well last year Ferdinand and Vidic were on the back line as they are this year. The thing about defense is its like a chain. If there is a weak link in a chain the entire chain breaks quite easily. While the United defense is in no way easy to break down the fact of the matter is they are missing a key player in the form of Wes Brown so their defense isnt as good as it could be.

    Also when you take a look at the midfield United have some good options but a regular from last season is also missing. Owen Hargreaves is very notable for his ability to read play and break down counter attacks.

    Last year United had no defensive or midfield woes and they could break down counter attacks effectively leaving the strikers to lead the charge.

    Now though their very susceptible to counter attack so they can’t really attack in the way they would like unless they feel they have nothing to lose or they have a pretty big margin and can just play their hearts out.

    With a neutered and damaged Manchester United Barcelona have a chance of beating them and a little help from the referee is a given from the looks of it.

    Personally I think a little intelligent play will neuter a side that only knows “kick, ball, net, woohoo” and doesn’t have a clue how to beat a team that doesn’t give them 10 yards of space to play beautiful(also know as ineffective) fotoball.

    I think Barcelona can catch out United in counter attacking but otherwise this has a victory for United written all over it.

    You can have the best squad in the world but the job certain players do on the pitch is extremely hard to replicate but again when it comes to intelligent football vs idiots charging at the net only luck can save you.

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