It’s fair to say that the Red Devils are playing Barcelona in the Champions League at exactly the right time. While their passage to the Moscow final against Liverpool or Chelsea is far from guaranteed, surely Manchester United won’t have a better opportunity to beat the Catalan club, who are struggling badly at the moment.
Barca have been heavily criticised by the fans and media in recent weeks and they now sit nine points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid in La Liga. Although they beat Schalke over two legs, they have failed to win their last three league matches and The Guardian report that Eric Abidal has urged manager Frank Rijkaard to drop him, such is his lack of form at the moment. Unbelievable scenes!
“I try to be 100% but my results are not satisfactory,” the left-back said. “If I see that I’m not at the highest level, my responsibility obliges me to tell the coach not to play me.” Abidal added he has struggled to adapt to the Spanish culture and later kick-off times since arriving from the French club Lyon in the summer. “Before I handled it better but playing at 10 at night … is something that has affected me.”
Can Manchester United take full advantage of Barcelona’s plight, starting at Camp Nou on Tuesday? The English champions are now favourites for the competition and their morale could seemingly not be higher, especially set against their Spanish opponents who look set for a restructure in the summer.