Manchester United and Barcelona rekindle their rivalry on the Champions League stage when both teams meet at the Old Trafford for the first leg of their last eight tie.
The Red Devils have suffered from at the hands of star player Lionel Messi and his Barcelona side in the past and they will be looking to buck the trend when they meet again later this week.
Manchester United got the better of Barcelona 1-0 on aggregate in their semifinal tie during the 2007/08 season en route the title which was won in that campaign via a penalty shootout win over Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Barcelona then went on to deny Manchester United the Champions League trophy on two occasions.
Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o were amongst the goals as Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the 2009 Champions League final before Messi added another final goal in the 3-1 win over the Red Devils during the 2011 Champions League.
Manchester United are underdogs ahead of their first leg clash against Barcelona with winning odds of 3.70 while the possibility of a draw is at the odds of 3.60.
Five-time European champions Barcelona are favourites to secure victory in the first Champions League meeting with Manchester United this season with odds of 2.00 according to Surebet247.
Why A Fit Paul Pogba Is Crucial For Manchester United
Manchester United gave themselves a fighting chance in the top-four race after the big win over Chelsea in their second League meeting of the season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were 2-0 winners at the home of Chelsea who are at the forefront of the race to finish as the fourth best team in the English top flight.
League leaders Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City are far ahead in the race for Champions League football next season thus leaving the other teams to fight for just a slot. It must be pointed out that Manchester City could open up one more slot after the Citizens were slapped with a European ban for two seasons for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
The fifth-place team in the league will qualify for the Champions League next season if Manchester City lose their appeal against that ruling.
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For now, the target for Manchester United and other teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Sheffield United etc is fourth place and the Red Devils boosted their push for that spot via the away win over Chelsea.
The win over Chelsea took Manchester United to within three points of their opponents with 11 games left to play. Manchester United have put themselves in a fantastic position to meet their target and the return of star player Paul Pogba could help in the following ways:
Paul Pogba has barely played for Manchester United this season but the Frenchman is still the best player at the club despite the recent arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January. He’s still the best creative force at the club when everyone is fit.
Paul Pogba’s absence has coincided with a lack of goals from the Manchester United midfield and his return is expected to guarantee goals in the middle of the park.
Manchester United Transfer Plans For Paul Pogba Revealed
Manchester United have mapped out their transfer strategy for star player Paul Pogba ahead of the next transfer window later this year.
Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United is far from clear as he edges closer to the end of his present contract with the Premier League outfit.
The Frenchman has one year remaining on his Manchester United contract plus an additional year at the discretion of the club.
According to the Daily Mirror, Manchester United have concluded plans to sell Paul Pogba when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
It was revealed that the Red Devils have slammed a transfer fee of £100m on him as they want to raise money from his sale to spend on new players ahead of next season.
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Manchester United have eyes on a lot of young English talents and the funds from the transfer of Paul Pogba will come in handy to get their targets.
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is a major transfer target for the Red Devils though they face a big battle to sign him with rivals Chelsea also interested.
Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish and Leicester City star James Maddison are serious targets for Manchester United.
Young Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham is also attracting the interest of Manchester United.
Pogba has been injured for several month this season and that has prompted him to make just seven appearances in the Premier League since the current season started.
In total, the Frenchman has featured for eight games in all competitions.
He has a lot of suitors as confirmed by his agent Mino Raiola who has been a thorn in the flesh of Manchester United fans.
Manchester United legend Gary Neville has warned the club to stay away from Mino Raiola in the future after their struggles with him.
Liverpool Leading Man Utd In 21-year-old Midfielder Pursuit
Premier League table toppers Liverpool have stepped up their interest in one of the best young players in the top flight of English football.
Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell has been a revelation for the Canaries in the league this season and Liverpool are keen to sign him when the summer transfer window reopens later this year.
Liverpool are not the only Premier League team interested in the 21-year-old English midfielder.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all keen on Todd Cantwell according to The Athletic.
Liverpool have been in sparkling form in the Premier League this season but that has not stopped plans for new players ahead of next season. The Reds have already signed one player this year.
Japanese international Takumi Minamino signed for Liverpool on the first day of this year following his transfer from Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.
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Liverpool paid his £7.25m release clause to secure his signing from the Europa League campaigners.
Takumi Minamino was an obvious absentee at the weekend during the Premier League clash at Norwich City. He was omitted for tactical reasons.
Todd Cantwell impressed a great deal for Norwich City during that game but it was not enough as his team lost narrowly to Liverpool who are miles ahead of all the other teams in the league.
Sadio Mane came off the bench to score the only goal of the game in the second half of the game.
The Senegalese international star had missed the last two games because of a muscle injury.
Apart from Todd Cantwell, Liverpool have also been linked with a move for players like RB Leipzig attacker Timo Werner and the Norwich City teammate of Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons.
Liverpool have 25 more points than their nearest challengers Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Does Solskjaer Wants Permanent Transfer For Odion Ighalo Now?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that Odion Jude Ighalo could join Manchester United permanently at the end of his loan spell at the club.
Ighalo raised eyebrows in the footballing world after he signed for the Red Devils on loan on the final day of last month’s transfer window.
The 30-year-old Nigerian striker joined Manchester United on a short-term loan until this summer.
The former Watford striker was at Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenshua before his loan move to Manchester United was approved last month.
On Ighalo and a possible transfer to Manchester United permanently in the summer when his short-term loan spell ends, Solskajer revealed that the player will be rewarded with a long-term deal if he impresses between now and the summer.
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Solskjaer talked about Ighalo as he gets set to take his team to London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Odion Ighalo is not likely to start the Chelsea game but he’s in line to make his debut for the club he has been supporting in his native Nigeria since he was a boy.
Due to the precautionary measures taken for the dreaded Coronavirus prevalent in China, Odion Ighalo was unable to travel with the rest of the Manchester United squad to Spain where they had their winter break.
Fellow new signing Bruno Fernandes will make the Manchester United starting lineup for the Chelsea having already bonded with the rest of the team. He had earlier made his debut in the last game vs Wolves at the start of this month.
Manchester United have failed to score in their three games in the Premier League and this barren run coincided with the injury to Marcus Rashford.
England international Rashford has three goals in two games against Chelsea this season and he has 19 goals in total.
Why Odion Ighalo Would Perform Miracles For Manchester United Tonight
Super Eagles of Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo is in line for his Manchester United debut when they face hosts Chelsea in a crucial league clash on Monday night.
The ex-Watford striker joined Manchester United on deadline day during the winter transfer window last month and he could be the player to fire the Red Devils back to Champions League football after one season.
Manchester United missed out on Champions League football this season after a sixth-placed finish at the end of the last league campaign and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be hoping to lead his team back to the competition next season.
The Chelsea game is significant for Manchester United as they have the opportunity to close the gap on their opponents who occupy the fourth and final place for Champions League qualification.
Fifth position could still be good enough for a spot in the Champions League next season after second-placed Manchester City were subject of a transfer ban in Europe.
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Manchester City have been banned from any form of European competition over the next two seasons after breaching FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules.
Odion Ighalo was the second signing for Manchester United during the January transfer window after Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes and he could be the man to fire the Red Devils back into the Champions League.
Ighalo could perform miracles for Manchester United in the following ways:
Manchester United have struggled for goals in the absence of Marcus Rashford and Odion Ighalo could add firepower to a lean Manchester United frontline without Rashford who has 19 goals in all competitions.
2. Premier League Experience
He has adequate Premier League experience and that could be a useful ammunition for him and his new team between now and the rest of the season.
3. Plan B
Odion Ighalo will provide Solskjaer with a second option in attack even if Marcus Rashford returns to the team as expected next month.
Man Utd Urged To Sign James Maddison Over Jack Grealish For This Reason
Manchester United have been advised to prioritise the signing of Leicester City playmaker James Maddison over Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish according to former player Paul Parker via the Daily Express.
The Red Devils are expected to make a big splash financially in this summer’s transfer window and the midfield department is an area to be strengthened.
According to Paul Parker, Manchester United should make a move for James Maddison this summer at the expense of Jack Grealish despite the fact that the Leicester City player would be more expensive.
He also pointed out that James Maddison has shown his quality at the highest level on a more consistent basis than Jack Grealish who’s a boyhood Aston Villa supporter.
James Maddison has scored six goals plus three assists in 23 league games for the Foxes this season, while Jack Grealish has found the back of the net seven times in the Premier League in addition to providing five assists.
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Manchester United were seriously keen on taking James Maddison to Old Trafford in the winter transfer window last month but the Foxes were adamant that the one-cap England international player won’t leave the King Power Stadium in the middle of the season.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers spoke several times about James Maddison and the interest from other Premier League sides notably Manchester United. According to him, the player is not for sale.
Manchester United were able to strengthen their midfield last month with the signing of Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in his native Portugal.
The Red Devils could pay as high as €80m for Bruno Fernandes including bonuses and add-ons.
Bruno Fernandes scored eight goals plus seven assists in 15 league matches for Sporting Lisbon before his transfer to the Premier League.
He has already made his debut for the Red Devils.
Manchester United ‘Considering Summer Move For French Midfielder’
English Premier League giants Manchester United are considering a summer move for one of the best young players in French football.
Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar is undoubtedly one of the best young players in France and he has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester United.
According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United have turned their attention to Houssem Aouar ahead of this summer’s transfer window.
The Red Devils have already strengthened their midfield with the signing of Bruno Fernandes last month and the Premier League giants are expected to sign at least one midfielder in the summer.
Bruno Fernandes has signed for the Red Devils from Portuguese Super League giants Sporting Lisbon for an initial fee worth £47m plus bonuses and add-ons that could take the whole transfer to the £68m mark.
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He made his debut for his new team during the last game at home to fellow Champions League contender Wolverhampton Wanderers which ended in a goalless draw.
That result left Manchester United six points adrift of West London giants Chelsea in fourth spot.
Apart from Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United also signed striker Odion Ighalo in the last transfer window. The Nigerian international has moved to Old Trafford on loan from Chinese giants Shanghai Shenshua.
Unlike Bruno Fernandes who’s a certainty for the starting XI ahead of Chelsea game on Monday evening in the Premier League, Ighalo is not a certain starter though Solskjaer confirmed that he’ll be with the squad.
Manchester United target Houssem Aouar has scored eight goals plus six assists in 31 appearances in the colours of Lyon.
The French giants are in the fight for Champions League qualification from the top flight in France and Houssem Aouar is a big part of the team.
Lyon will also face Italian champions Juventus in the last 16 of the competition this season.
EPL: What Solskjaer Said About Odion Ighalo Ahead Of Chelsea Game
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that new signing Odion Ighalo could make his debut for Manchester United ahead of English Premier League [EPL] trip to Chelsea on Monday night.
In his press conference for the game, Solskjaer revealed that the Nigerian striker will travel to London with the squad and that he is in line to make his first appearance for Manchester United whom he joined on loan from Chinese top flight side Shanghai Shenshua.
Odion Ighalo has been training alone since he moved back to England from China as part of the two-week precaution against Coronavirus which has ravaged the Asian country.
He was playing for Watford before moving to China some years ago.
Solskjaer would be hoping that Ighalo can add the much needed firepower to a blunt attack that has gone three games without a single goal.
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Manchester United have failed to score in each of their last three games in the Premier League.
Solskjaer and his players failed to score during the 2-0 defeat at the hands of hosts and league leaders Liverpool before the same scoreline was recorded at home to Burnley.
Manchester United made it three successive league games without a single goal following the goalless draw at home to Wolves and the Chelsea game gives them the perfect opportunity to get back on track especially with the Champions League race now firmly back on after the European ban imposed on city rivals Manchester City.
Only the top four places will guarantee Champions League football in the next campaign but fifth spot could be available after UEFA banned second-placed Manchester City for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules which is subject to an appeal.
Manchester United are six points adrift Chelsea who occupy fourth position, while they are four points below Sheffield United.