Manchester United – Barcelona: Ten Hag Changes The Game (2-1)
Manchester United were not at their best in the first half, but much like they did at Camp Nou, they shone in the second half by raising the tempo. This was partly inspired by half time adjustments made by Erik ten Hag, who continues to show his ability to change matches in United’s favor.
Tactical analysis and match report by Josh Manley.
After a promising performance in Barcelona last week, Manchester United had reasons for optimism going into the second leg at Old Trafford. Erik ten Hag once again lined his side up in a 4-2-3-1 shape, with a back four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphaël Varane, Lisandro Martínez, and Luke Shaw. Casemiro and Fred were the central midfield duo, while Bruno Fernandes was shifted to a right sided role to allow Jadon Sancho to start as the number ten. Marcus Rashford played from the left, while Wout Weghorst was the striker.
Barcelona meanwhile were without two key players for the second leg, as Pedri had picked up an injury last week, and Gavi had been suspended. The one positive for Xavi was that Sergio Busquets was now available. Jules Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Andreas Christensen, and Alejandro Balde, while Busquets was the number six. Franck Kessié and Frenkie de Jong completed the midfied of Barcelona’s 4-3-3 shape, while Raphinha and Sergi Roberto supported Robert Lewandowski up front.
Barcelona in control
United found themselves behind within twenty minutes due to Lewandowski’s penalty. Although the penalty was perhaps slightly harsh, the performance overall from . . .