The Real Footie Analyst

Stopping the Barcelona Juggernaut

Pencil it in. May 28 signifies the day when the two best teams in Europe will fight it out for a season’s worth of immortality.

Barcelona’s midfield maestro Xavi has already started the battle of the mind games by saying that United are the favorites at Wembley.

Fair enough comment. Yes, United will have the home support and advantage, and have played at the venue twice this season.

However, I have no doubt in my mind that Barcelona are the favorites going into the clash.

The brand of football that the Catalan giants play will always be effective no matter where they are playing.

Now that both teams have practically wrapped up their League trophies, both sides will now focus on the task that lies ahead

So how will United be able to stop Barcelona? Here’s my theory:

1) Possession

If you don’t have the ball, you cannot win the game. Let’s be realistic. Barcelona will have most of the possession. Its in their design.

United will have to use the little possession that we’ll get to its maximum.

If United can somehow manage to get half of the possession on the night, a win could be on the cards.

2) Stop Xavi and Iniesta

If United can stop these two from bossing the game in the midfield, it would be a big step in plotting Barcelona’s downfall.

Xavi and Iniesta make Barcelona tick, they give Messi the license to create chaos.

It’s simple. Shut them out of the game – You stop Barcelona’s main source of creativity.

3) Let’s not focus too much on Messi

Its a bold statement, but if United are going to focus on Messi all evening, we are just going to be caught out some other way.

There is a reason why Messi isn’t that effective for his country, and United are defensively, very capable of handling him as a unit.

4) Get Physical

The Netherlands put it into effect in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, and had several chances to bury a Barcelona filled Spanish side.

With all the spotlight on referees and Barcelona’s ‘diving’, United will have to use this to their advantage.

5) Mind Games

After seeing Guardiola’s strange outburst to Mourinho’s press conference, I’m sure Ferguson will have taken note of how easily a few words gets under his skin.

An unsettled manager means an unsettled team.


That’s my take on how United can beat the best team on the planet right now.

I would like to hear your version of how Barcelona can be beaten, so feel free to add your theory!


  1. footieanalyst says:

    Not a bad theory Jarred.

    I think United have a good chance but they will have to stick to their game plan: quick tempo; suck the defenders out from defending deep with Rooney the focal point; use Hernandez’s pace and movement; counter-attack – it’s one of their strenghths; and get physical with the opposition’s attack so that they don’t settle. David Villa can be the ‘weak link’. Messi has shown that this doesn’t affect him as he oftens proves to hard-tackling defenders so don’t give him any special treatment unless you plan to take him out of the game entirely with a bad tackle.

    I think United can’t afford to base their game plan on trying to stiffle Barca’s attacking instincts, but rather play a patient and disciplined game. Fergie should avoid playing Fletcher just to chase down the Barca midfield as it will just leave more gaps. They nned to overload like Barca do when they don’t have the ball. I saw them do this against Arsenal and it was very effective. I’d expect Fergie to take tips from Wenger after they beat them at the Emirates. On that occasion Arsenal tried to play their own game with keeping the ball but fell apart when they lost the ball. Thye struglled to get it back and were frustrated leading to players not picking up key Barca attackers.

    So, thye should stay compact; don’t allow them to move the ball forward too quickly by trying to get them to play across the aprk; and use Park to give Barca something to think about by unsettling their ‘control’ game. United will have to box clever on the day and try and win by scoring more goals than Barca.

  2. Jarred Manasse says:

    I agree with you fully.

    If United can somehow manage to control the game and keep ball, that should unsettle Barcelona.

    After watching United dismantle Chelsea on Sunday, I agree that Fletcher is not needed as much as I previously expected.

    Barcelona’s defense is not too hot at all..

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