Being an Indian everyone might be thinking that I am talking about Indian Premier League Final tomorrow but well I am talking about something different and something which is huge in front of Indian Premier League well I am talking about UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona to be held on 29th, May 2011, 12:15:00 AM IST at Wembley Stadium — London. Both the teams seem to be equally balanced but Barcelona seems to be favorites for this one. It will be interesting to see who will climb up the 107 steps in Wembley and lift the Champions League Trophy.
The match is supposed to be the highest earning s in any form of sport with 90,000 viewers in Wembley and around 109 Million viewers worldwide. The stage is all set for two of the most successful clubs in Europe to battle for their right to play football. Last time when both the side’s met it was Barcelona who dominated the English side with a score line of 2-0 giving no chance for the Red Devils to come back. Both the clubs has got some major changes in them after their last meeting. The most notable out of this is that Manchester United is without Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona is without Samuel Eto’o. Both the sides have some youngsters included in the side with Javier Hernandez and Valencia in Manchester United and Sergio Bousquets and Pedro in the Catalonian side.
Key Players to watch:
Wayne Rooney: The heart of United attack will be the key for the red devils and will be the one who has to be kept under control if Barcelona has to win. The unselfish United forward who has slender pace, fine finishing and the quality of delivering the final ball makes him one of the most dreadful players on the pitch.
Park Ji Sung: The man of big games would once again be the key player for United. His recent performance has been fantastic and has proved his worth all the times. His continuous and tireless efforts in both defense and attack make him very dangerous. He can cause problems in stopping the free flowing Barcelona game by giving them no time on the ball. His work rate is more than any other United player.
Lionel Messi: The world number one who has already ran rings around Manchester United defense in their last meeting would once again be the key for Barcelona. His brilliance in the field is something which United has to take care of incase if they have to win. His terrific ability to both score and assist from nowhere makes him most dangerous and best player for any defense in the world. He is even the top scorer of Champions league with 11 goals.
Xavi Hernandez: The Spaniard who according to me is robot who never makes a single error on the field is the key player for Barcelona. His ability to score long range goals and to provide fine distribution of the ball all round the pitch from centre makes him the other dangerous player for Manchester United. He has to be closed down right from the start or else he will simply be disastrous.
Some Interesting Facts:
- Manchester United hasn’t conceded a single away goal in champion’s league this season. They have just conceded 4 goals throughout the campaign and haven’t even lost a single match.
- Barcelona has conceded 8 goals in the tournament and lost once to Arsenal in Round of 16.
- This will Van der Sar’s last match and if Manchester United wins the match he will surpass Maldini to be oldest player to lift Champions League trophy.
- Lionel Messi has 11 goals in 12 European appearances this season and one more will see him equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for goals in a Champions League season with 12.
- Barcelona has played Manchester United on 11 occasions but has only beaten the English side three times. Interestingly, neither team has ever won consecutive games against each other.
- The team who eliminated Chelsea in the last three Champions league has turned out to be the winner and this way it could be Manchester United this time.
Possible Line Up:
Manchester United: (4-4-2)
Van der Sar (GK)
Fabio da Silva, Vidic (Captain), Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park Ji sung
Dani Alves , Puyol (Captain), Pique, Abidal,
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta,
Pedro, Messi, Villa
My Prediction: The team who scores first will win. Barcelona are more likely to do that by seeing their recent form and there squad.