A similarly enthralling encounter can be anticipated at the Theatre of Dreams after the two continental heavyweights battled to a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou the previous week. These two teams met in the final of the Champions League just 12 years ago.
- Casemiro will return to the fold after serving a three-game domestic suspension. Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are also back from continental bans they served in the first leg of the match.
- It is currently unknown whether Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek will continue their long-term recoveries. Similarly, it is also unknown whether Anthony Martial, Harry Maguire, and Antony will be able to overcome their niggles in time to play on Thursday. In the event that Antony is unable to play, a return for Sancho rather than Alejandro Garnacho should be guaranteed.
- The Wout Weghorst number 10 experiment did not work as intended in the first half against Leicester. Therefore, the towering Dutchman could back to a central role as Marcus Rashford supports him. Raphael Varane will anticipate that Victor Lindelof will be sent to the bench.
- Barcelona have lost Gavi due to an accumulation of yellow cards, and his fellow Kopa Trophy winner Pedri will also miss out due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the first leg.
- Ousmane Dembele’s thigh injury will also keep him out of contention for Thursday’s second leg, but on the bright side, Ronald Araujo is back after serving a ban for domestic play, and Sergio Busquets returned from an ankle injury to be an unused substitute against Cadiz.
- The experienced Spaniard might potentially link up with Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie in the midfield triangle. Meanwhile, Gavi’s absence leaves the door for Ansu Fati to start on the left, in spite of Ferran Torres’ lively performance against Cadiz.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Alonso, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
Man United’s prolific charges have slain many foes at Old Trafford this season, and an absentee-hit Barcelona should become the latest victims of the Red Devils’ superiority. Even though thoughts of an imminent EFL Cup final derail threaten to derail their train of thought, Man United’s prolific charges have slain many foes at Old Trafford this season.
A more clinical team than Leicester would have converted one of their numerous first-half opportunities at the weekend’s match against Leicester, so while Xavi’s side can still expect joy in the final third, Manchester United’s propensity for multiple-goal performances should carry them through to the round of 16, as Barcelona once again packs their bags early.
Our prediction is Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona (Man United win 4-3 on aggregate)