What the papers say
These have been a memorable few weeks for Tottenham. I have not been to their stadium but the images online look incredible and the Spurs supporters’ response to it has been extremely positive. In two games there they have two victories and they are yet to concede a goal. On Tuesday they took control of their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, with Son Heung-min scoring another vital goal.Continue reading...
So Manchester United need a 2-1 win at Camp Nou. Can anybody think of a time when they have done that? Yes, you at the back there – baby-faced man in the grey V-neck?
Really, this cannot go on. Sooner or later Ole Gunnar Solskjær is going to have to do something as manager that does not immediately draw comparison with Sir Alex Ferguson. Perhaps he will inspire a victory away to Barcelona – something United have never achieved. Perhaps there will even be two late goals, one prodded home at the back post in injury time after a corner has been flicked on. But if he does, it will feel less like football management than witchcraft. Give it Melisandre till the end of the season.Continue reading...
• Paul Pogba feels win in Paris could play on Barça minds
Paul Pogba said Manchester United can win at Barcelona and progress to the Champions League semi-finals if they can be “killers in front of goal”.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær insists Manchester United’s spectacular win over PSG in Paris in the last round of the Champions League will give them belief that they can overcome Barcelona in their quarter-final second leg. United slumped to a disappointing 1-0 loss at Old Trafford courtesy of Luke Shaw’s early own goal, and now must win at the Camp Nou, where Barça have been in sublime form this season
- Barney Ronay: United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye
- Manchester United should look to 1999 for Camp Nou inspiration, says Solskjær
• ‘We’ve scored there before from corners and crosses‘
Ole Gunnar Solskjær pointed to Manchester United’s famous 1999 Champions League triumph as evidence they can score the goals needed to knock Barcelona out in next week’s quarter-final second leg after losing Wednesday night’s opening game 1-0 at Old Trafford.
Luke Shaw’s 12th-minute own goal gave Barça victory yet the manager believes United can still progress to the semi-finals despite failing to score in a home Champions League tie for the fourth time this season.Continue reading...
David de Gea Helpless for Barça’s opener and later made an impressive save from a Coutinho piledriver. 7Continue reading...
It is the sign of an undeniably great player. Even when you take away his space, push him to the fringes for 80 minutes, make him look a shadow of his true universe-boss self; he still somehow ends up winning the day.
When the hour strikes Messi o’clock you are simply an algorithm in his game, another zombie in his shoot-em-up
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
After Paris in the last round Manchester United are going to take some convincing that this result need necessarily be conclusive, and they will travel to Catalonia next week with hope. In their hearts they must know that Barcelona are not Paris Saint-Germain, however, and unless they can find a way to assert themselves at Camp Nou by seeing more of the ball and using it to greater effect they could end up with what they handed out to Lionel Messi: a bloodied nose.Continue reading...
- Minute-by-minute updates from the 8pm BST kick-off
- You can email Paul here or tweet him here
- Ajax v Juventus – join Nick Miller for live updates
- Live scoreboard: the latest from Wednesday’s matches
46 min: Here we go again. No personnel changes during the break.
Here are some latest scores from a crucial round of games in the Championship. So far, it’s good news for Leeds, as Birmingham are holding Sheffield United to a draw. Aston Villa, meanwhile, are a man down but have come back from a goal behind to lead 2-1. And Reading are doing their survival hopes a power of good by leading at Norwich, no less! There is about half an hour to go in all these games.
Birmingham 1-1 Sheffield United
“You spend all that money on players and end up fielding a donkey like McTominay against Barcelona in Champions League quarterfinal,” fumes C Noyes. That’s a rubbish comment, to be fair, because McTominay has played well so far. Busquets has been the most donkey-looking midfielder out there. I’d take him off at half-time to avoid him being red-carded later. He can’t seem to handle the pace any more.
“I was resigned to United getting hammered tonight, I could live with it,” writes Oliver Atkinson. “But if we lose whilst actually being the better team but making terrible defensive mistakes and not being able to finish I’m going to be fuming.”
For a while United looked to be in danger of embarrassment .. and then Barcelona scored. Since then, United have rallied to such an extent that they can go into the break with the conviction that they are capable of turning this tie around. When they play on the front foot, they make Barcelona look shaky at the back.
45 min: Messi picks up the ball mid-way inside the United half and pings it low to Coutinho, who flicks it through to Suarez. The striker fires first-time from the edge of the box but gets it all wrong, shanking wide.
43 min: Corner to Barcelona. Coutinho takes it short and works it back to Alba. The Messi tries to one-two his way into the box but Rashford intervenes to clear.
41 min: That’s better from Dalot! A lovely cross from the right, which ter Stegen does well to punch away.
40 min: Rashford curls a cross from the right all the way over to the far post, where Dalot comes in with a free header. But he fails to guide it towards goal and, unlike for Suarez at the other end, no one diverted his effort into the net.
38 min: Moments before that cross by Young, Busquets conceded a freekick for unceremoniously ending a strong run by Pogba. That could easily have been a second yellow card for Busquets. he’s unlikely get away with another foul like that.
38 min: McTominay holds off Coutinho and Busquets mid-way inside the Barcelona half and then spreads the ball wide to Young, whose cross from the right is cleared.
36 min: Lenglet opens up United’s defence with a lofted pass from the back. Lindelof makes a mess of his attempt to cut it out and actually helps it on to Suarez. Smalling sticks a foot in to tip the ball away from Suarez but it falls to Coutinho, who unleashes a low first-time shot from the edge of the area. De Gea makes a superb save with his feet!
34 min: The last few minutes have been much more encouraging for United, and the home fans are responding with loud encouragement. Solksjaer’s side are starting to play the way the manager said they he wanted them to: not dominating, by any means, but certainly making the visitors uncomfortable with aggressive attacking.
30 min: Messi is off the pitch receiving treatment after being dispossessed by Smalling. A little wipe of the nose and he’s back on.
28 min: McTominay bursts into the left-hand side of the box and tries to check on to his right foot. He goes down in proximity to Piqué but there was no significant contact from the defender so the home crowd’s cries for a penalty are in vain.
27 min: Lenglet gets caught trying to play out from the back, but escapes when Young’s ensuing cross floats straight into the keeper’s arms. Again, however, there are clear signs of Barça vulnerability when United put the pressure on.
25 min: Dalot makes good ground down the let and then lays it back for Pogba, who flights a reasonable cross towards the back post. He’s fractionally too high for Lukaku. Despite being dominated, United have hinted at a threat when they go forward. They’re still in this.
24 min: A decent attack by United, insofar as they made some progressive passes in the Barcelona half, with Fred orchestrating them. But it fizzled out with a loose cross from the left by Lukaku. Meanwhile, Matt Dony has had another look at the goal. “As soon as Messi makes his run for the ball over the top, Suarez heads for the back post, entirely untroubled by any of the defenders in the box,” he notes. “It’s great forward play, but such slack defending. When you’re against players of the calibre of Messi and Suarez, you have to accept that there’s the chance they will beat you by doing something vaguely unbelievable with the ball. But that was so avoidable. Did someone say, ‘Bring it on’?”
22 min: Rashford jinks past Arthur and lets fly from 25 yards. He hits it with plenty of power but not enough precision, so it whizzes several yards over.
20 min: Shaw booked for obstructing Messi. For that he gets a yellow that rules him out of the second leg. And on that note, the goal has just been officially attributed to him, too.
19 min: Fred curls a weak freekick into the wall.
18 min: Busquets gets the booking he should have got earlier, this time for an immoral foul on Pogba. Another promising freekick for United, from over 20 yards out, to the left of the D. Barcelona put up a three-man wall...
17 min: By the way, it is now clear that Young is at right wingback and Dalot is wide on the left. Shaw is a left-centreback in a defensive three. That, at least, is how they’re lining up when Barça are in possession.
15 min: No sign of Barcelona taking their foot of the pedal here. They continue to dominate possession. United’s first task is to hang in there and avoid being blasted out of the tie in the first half here.
13 min: Uefa is crediting that goal to Suarez but it looked like he was trying to direct the header across goal rather than into the net. Shaw’s touch seemed decisive. Not that the defender could have done anything to get out of the way.
After prolonged possession, Busquets releases Messi with a clip over the top from deep. Messi chips a cross to the back post, where Suarez tries to head it back across goal and it takes a nick off the shoulder of Shaw and carries on into the net! Var is consulted to see whether Suarez was offside ... but he wasn’t.
10 min: Rashford knocks the ball past Piqué down the left and tries to sprint past him. But Piqué read his intentions and got there first. Still, there’s promising signs for United on the break.
8 min: Pogba plays a lovely pass from the left wing through towards Rashford, who runs past the last defender ... but is beaten to the ball by Ter Stegen, who charges out of the box to welly clear.
6 min: Fred does well to close down Messi on the edge of the area, preventing him from getting off a shot after Semedo fed him. McTominay then followed up with an important tackle, too. Those midfielders are going to have to be as dynamic and precise as that all evening judging by how much possession Barcelona have had so far.
5 min: Rashford bangs a wobbly freekick a couple of yards wide of the far post. Interestingly, Barcelona erected only a small wall. Always wonder why more teams don’t do that when the freekick is far out, given that walls often block keepers’ views rather than the attackers shot.
4 min: Busquets concedes a freekick with a wild tackle from behind on McTominay. He should have been booked. Perhaps United can apply punishment from the setpiece, which is about 25 yards out, a little to the right of the D.
3 min: United are struggling to get the ball as Barça set up camp in their half. Pogba is the most left-leaning of the midfield quartet (in formation terms, no idea about his political views).
2 min: Suarez is booed as he scurries down the left wing, and then Smalling gets a cheer for dispossessing him. Meanwhile, it looks like Dalot is at right-back, with Young in front of him.
1 min: We have kickoff! Barcelona do the necessary and immediately begin knocking the ball about, just like in their warmup
Old Trafford is uncharacteristically loud as the teams enter the arena. United fans are in good voice. Their team are wearing their famous red jerseys and white shorts and socks, while Barcelona are clad in fluorescent yellow.
The teams are in the tunnel. De Gea is embracing most of the Barça team. Ashley Young, United’s captain, reaches over for a quick hug with his counterpart, Lionel Messi. That’s what peers do, you see.
“This Barcelona team are always going to be strong in attack but Man U can trouble them,” trumpets Lee Madden. “Although they top La Liga, Barcelona have conceded more goals than Atletico Madrid (+10) , Getafe (+4) and Valencia (+5). Man U’s front line should be aiming to score at least twice, as you’ve got to assume Barca will score once in any given game.”
There’s a fan in the crowd wearing a big Bulgaria flag. Is he pining for Dimitar Berbatov? Or maybe he’s trying to give United flashbacks to the time Hristo Stoichkov took them to the cleaners?
“We need to improve on the first leg [of the PSG tie]. We know we need to play better at home. It’s down to us to try to dominant the game. If we let them dominate, we’re in for a hard game. So that’s part of the battle, to maybe take control of the ball.”
He’s unsure how long Rashford will be able to last because he’s just recovered his fitness. “But you know Rash, he lives for these games.”.
The teams are on the pitch at Old Trafford going through their pre-game stretches and what not. “Lionel Messi warms exactly how he wants to warm up,” announces Steve McManaman, almost swooning. That warm-up, by the way, seems to involve some gentle stroking the ball about and the occasional caress of a baroque tattoo on his left leg (the tattoo appears to feature a ball and a hand, no doubt Messi’s own tribute to Diego Maradona).
If things go well today, this match could be worthy of a recap by Rob Smyth, who’s done a splendid Joy of Six on great United-Barcelona meetings. Lookit:
BT’s pundits reckon United will play a 4-5-1, with Dalot at right-back and Young in midfield in front of him. That would be less risky than the other version being bandied about, which has Dalot as a Messi-tracking midfield operative. So, United fans, on a scale of one to Zlatan, how confident are you?
“Presumably Coutinho is in the starting XI in the hope that someone in the UK will like what they see?” parps Charles Antaki. “Surely some will take pity and free him from His Barcelona Hell?” Indeed. Pray for Coutinho.
Ander Herrera is not available for United today and that’s something they’re going to have to get used to - because he’s close to agreeing a move to Paris Saint-Germain. Let Jamie Jackson tell you more:
Are you United playing a back three? Or is it a back four with Dalot deployed as some fashion of protective midfielder, probably towards United’s left, where Messi will be looking to make merry.
United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Dalot; Lukaku, Rashford
Hello. How do you follow up a miracle? Maybe by beating the team powered by Lionel Messi. Manchester United can always look back fondly on a thrilling night in Paris in the last round but they have lost three of their four matches since then and there is a risk of their sensational comeback against Paris Saint-Germain being recorded by historians as the set-up to an epic humiliation at the hands of Barcelona. Unless, of course, United actually overcome today’s visitors to Old Trafford, which would mean surpassing anything they have done so far under Ole Gunnar Solskjær or, indeed, Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal. United haven’t even been at this stage of the Champions League since the glory, glory days of David Moyes.
Today United are going to have to strike a dicey balance. They will want to get at least a narrow lead to take to the Nou Camp and that will require scoring, something they have only managed once in four Champions League matches at Old Trafford this season. But they won’t want to leave themselves too open, otherwise Barça could kill the tie with a salvo of away goals. Solskjær must know, however, that no matter how he approaches the game, Barcelona are capable of tearing his defence apart. And Barcelona know the importance of an away goal, because failure to score even one has led to them being eliminated at this stage of the competition in each of the last three years. That fact alone shows that Barça are not quite as mighty as they once were, but they’re still pretty darn good. And they’ll still got Messi. And Luis Suarez, who, you’ve got to think, would take much pleasure in scoring at Old Trafford. David De Gea is going to have to be in top form. And so, too, is Paul Pogba. The eyes of the world, including Real Madrid, are on him. So then, to quote Chris Smalling, bring it on.Continue reading...
• Spaniard is out of contract at end of season
• Herrera failed to agree terms on new deal with United
Ander Herrera is closing on a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the close season after discussions with Manchester United regarding a new contract reaching an impasse.Continue reading...
The Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has said that his side need to perform at their best level to have a chance of beating Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final. Solskjaer also insisted it is not impossible for his team to stop Lionel Messi: 'He is one of the best individual players ever. He’ll be difficult to stop but it’s never impossible'Continue reading...
• Manager says players must learn lessons from PSG defeat
• Chris Smalling looking forward to facing Lionel Messi
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has warned Manchester United they will need to be “streetwise” to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League, with the manager hoping lessons will be learned from their first leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.Continue reading...
England has four representatives in the quarter-finals. How well do you remember their previous outings at this stage?
Who were the first English club to lose a European Cup quarter-final (they were thrashed 9-2 on aggregate)?
Which two English clubs were knocked out of the European Cup in the quarter-finals in the 1982-83 season?
Manchester United and Manchester City
Liverpool and Aston Villa
Everton and Watford
Wolves and Ipswich Town
This is not the first time four Premier League clubs have made it to the last eight. When did four English teams make it to the quarter-finals, with three three making it to the semi-finals, two making to the final and one becoming champions?
Which other country has provided four quarter-finalists in the same season?
No other country has done it
Manchester United thrashed Roma 7-1 in the second leg of their quarter-final back in 2007. Which of these players did not score in that game?
Lionel Messi wreaked havoc against Arsenal in the quarter-finals in 2010, scoring all four goals for Barcelona in a 4-1 rout at the Camp Nou in the second leg. Who gave Arsenal the lead that night?
Who were the only English club to reach the quarter-finals in the 2016-17 season?
Which other English club were knocked out at the quarter-finals in their only appearance in the European Cup?
Leeds made it past the quarter-finals in 2001 thanks to a 3-0 win over Deportivo la Coruña at Elland Road in the first leg. Ian Harte got things going with a thunderous free-kick, but which other players scored that night?
Robbie Keane and Darren Huckerby
Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell
Michael Bridges and Lee Bowyer
Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand
Which player has scored a hat-trick in a quarter-final in England?
2 and above.
3 and above.
Don't worry. It was a tough one
4 and above.
Don't worry. It was a tough one
5 and above.
Don't worry. It was a tough one
6 and above.
That is an impressive score. Nice work
7 and above.
That is a very impressive score. Nice work
8 and above.
That is an extremely impressive score. Nice work
9 and above.
That is an extremely impressive score. Nice work
10 and above.
Perfection. That is very impressive indeed
0 and above.
1 and above.
Oh dearContinue reading...
From the majesty of Atkinson’s cup specialists to the might of Cruyff’s dream team, six epic battles between these Euro giants
Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson brought glory and trophies to Manchester United on an industrial scale, yet they never had an Old Trafford European night such as this. Ron Atkinson’s cup specialists overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit to overwhelm a Barcelona side that included Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster. United’s three goals, two from Bryan Robson and one from Frank Stapleton, were scored from a combined distance of around six yards, an apt reflection of a night on which they stormed the Barcelona goal like it was a medieval fortress. Barcelona, used to a slower pace domestically, simply could not cope with United’s top-gear football.Continue reading...
• Ousmane Dembélé out of Champions League quarter-final
Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has revealed that they were priced out of signing Paul Pogba by Manchester United’s £90million bid.
The La Liga leaders were determined to recruit Pogba in 2016 and held advanced negotiations with Juventus that were ultimately undone when United offered a then record transfer fee that was accepted.Continue reading...
The last time Manchester United and Barcelona met it ended with a plea for mercy. There were 10 minutes left in the 2011 European Cup final when Wayne Rooney approached Xavi Hernández and, the way the Catalan recalls it, said something like: “That’s enough, you’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.” Sergio Busquets, who was alongside him that day, smiles at the memory, laughing a little. Eight years on he is one of only three of the 26 men who played at Wembley who remain as the clubs prepare to meet again on Wednesday and there is nostalgia as well as joy in reliving the moment he calls “the culmination of everything, the highest point”.
Time passes but nothing passes quite like that team. Busquets attempted 82 passes against United during the final, misplacing only five; Leo Messi 100, Andrés Iniesta 115, Xavi 148. The eight players with the most passes were all Barcelona’s, collectively completing almost 700. “They do mesmerise you the way they pass it,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “No one has given us a hiding like that.” In the film Take the Ball, Pass the Ball, Michael Carrick describes Barcelona as “just too good” – words that made it all the more worthwhile, validating an ideal that Busquets represents.
Of course I miss them; everyone misses them. They’re unique, once-in-a-lifetime players and I spent years with them, sharing everything
Everyone wants to win the Champions League. It’s the most prestigious trophy there is, especially how we were eliminated last seasonContinue reading...
As Tottenham move in while Real Madrid and Barcelona show off their plans, Manchester United’s home – all but untouched under the current owners – looks increasingly tatty
There is a scene in Fawlty Towers when one of the customers is checking out of the hotel and wants to tell Basil how much he has enjoyed his stay. So much, in fact, that he passes on what he thinks is a dead cert for the afternoon race at Exeter and puts a few coins into the tip box on his way to the door. At which point Sybil appears and Basil turns to his wife with a slightly startled expression on his face. “Satisfied customer,” he explains. “We should have him stuffed.”
If the Glazer family have spent long enough in England to understand that kind of humour, you wonder whether Manchester United’s owners would appreciate that line. They, too, don’t get many satisfied customers, which probably should not come as a surprise given the way they run the club and the mountains of debt they have stacked up in the process. Or the way, perhaps, they promised to keep an open line of communications and, 14 years on, we have not heard a peep from them since.Continue reading...
The Champions League quarter-final is latest in a line of often spine-tingling English derbies in Europe’s top competition
A new chapter in the colourful history of English teams meeting each other in the Champions League is set to open on Tuesday, when the first European game at Tottenham’s shiny new stadium is bound to generate an atmosphere all of its own.
In such circumstances anything can happen, and all-England European nights already have a reputation for taking on a life of their own, sharing a similarity to derbies in which form and league placing are temporarily set aside.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær could do with help at Manchester United and Gary Neville is a club legend with business experience
In the week Ole Gunnar Solskjær was confirmed as Manchester United’s permanent manager, I’ve been in New York to complete my executive master for international players, which is run by Uefa. It’s been an important commitment for the past two years and I’ve really enjoyed learning about the business side of sports organisations and seeing how they do things differently to football.
One of the biggest aspects I’ve noticed is the importance of sporting directors in US sports – for example all the teams in the NFL and NBA have been using that model for several years and it is now becoming a crucial role in football as well. It’s so important to have someone who is a steady presence and is going to set the culture of the club regardless of who the manager is.Continue reading...
• United may sell De Gea rather than lose him for nothing in 2020
Alexis Sánchez could head a close‑season exodus from Manchester United of at least five players, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær targeting a new right-back and central defender.
The summer window will be Solskjær’s first as the permanent manager and he is willing to sell Sánchez, who has proved a failure since joining from Arsenal in January 2018 in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.Continue reading...