Barcelona vs. Man United: 11 Questions Heading into the Champions League Final
Now that the Champions League final is less than two weeks away, attention has been directed at the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United.
So far, both sides have been able to win their respective domestic crowns and can claim that they are among some of the greatest sides to ever win the Champions League.
This matchup will also showcase some of the greatest footballers in the world in Lionel Messi, David Villa, Xavi, Andres Inieista and Carles Puyol for Barcelona and Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Edwin Van der Sar for Manchester United.
Going into this final, there are many different questions that are being asked about these two sides. With this in mind, here are 11 questions that will be faced by both sides in this final.
Will Manchester United Show Up Flat Like in the 2009 Final?
In the 2009 final, Manchester United showed up for all of 10 minutes before they fell apart and allowed Barcelona to take over.
This performance from Manchester United ranks as one of the worst performances in a cup final under Sir Alex Ferguson.
But in this final, I don't expect Manchester United to do that again due in large part to the embarrassment that they suffered in 2009.
Will Barcelona Put Together Another Piece of Football Mastery?
Throughout the first half of the 2010-2011 season, Barcelona put together some of the greatest performances that some people have ever seen in club football.
In 2009, Barcelona were able to master the Red Devils in the Champions League final and many people think that they can do it again.
I don't think Barcelona will achieve the level of dominance that they had in 2009 due to there recent fall in play.
How Successfully Can Manchester United Contain Barcelona's Passing Game?
One of the most important facets of Barcelona's game is their passing game that is led by their amazing midfield.
If anybody is going to beat Barcelona, they have to find a way to stop their midfield before they can focus on beating the Catalan side.
I think that Man United will be able to contain Barcelona's passing game to a degree, but they will need to show an unheard amount of athleticism to completely shut down the passing game.
Will David Villa Score?
Since the start of March, David Villa has only been able to score one goal for Barcelona, which has also been a stretch where Barcelona's play has started to weaken.
If David Villa can show that he can score goals like he is capable of doing, Barcelona can easily win this final but until he shows that his scoring ability is back, then I don't expect Villa to score.
Will Wayne Rooney Show Up in This Final?
In two Champions League finals, Wayne Rooney has failed to score one goal and Manchester United have only scored once in those two finals.
Rooney has been able to put together a strong second half of a season for Man United, but if they are to win, he will need to put together a great performance.
In this final, I expect Wayne Rooney to show up and give Manchester United a strong chance in Wembley.
What Barcelona Side Will Show Up?
The second half of this season has not been that kind to Barcelona and even though they have been able to still register wins and win La Liga, they have not been convincing in the process.
In this final, I expect Barcelona to come out stronger but not to the degree that they were against Real Madrid back in November.
Will Darren Fletcher Start?
In the 2009 final, Darren Fletcher was suspended and watched Barcelona dominate Manchester United without him.
This year, Fletcher will not be suspended but might miss the final due to the prolonged effects that a virus from the winter has put on him.
Fletcher still has two matches (home vs Blackpool and Gary Neville's testimonial) before the Champions League final to achieve full match fitness.
My guess is that Fletcher will start this final and give Manchester United a better chance of winning by keeping up with Barcelona's midfield.
What Type of Performance Will Lionel Messi Provide Us?
In the 2009 final, Lionel Messi proved to the world that he is the best footballer in the world with a Man of the Match performance that featured a brilliant goal off a header.
This year Messi has continued his great form and has scored 52 goals and has 24 assists in just 54 matches.
In this final, I think Messi will put together a great performance for Barcelona that will be remembered by many.
How Will Edwin Van Der Sar Play in His Final Match?
Back in 2008, Edwin Van der Sar was able to put together a great performance in goal for Man United as they won the Champions League final, which was the Dutchman's second Champions League triumph after winning with Ajax back in 1995.
The Dutchman has had an amazing career with Manchester United and his presence will certainly be missed next season.
In the final match of his career, I see Van der Sar putting on an amazing performance to close out an amazing career.
Can Pep Guardiola Beat Sir Alex Ferguson Again?
In his first season as manager, Pep Guardiola was able to stun many people in the football world with the Barcelona side that he assembled that won the Spanish treble.
Now Guardiola will face Sir Alex again in a Champions League final and a win here certainly would put Guardiola among the greatest managers of all time.
Right now, I am unsure if Guardiola will win this final but considering how strong Barcelona are and the fact that he has already beaten Fergie before, there is no question that he can beat the great Scot manager again.
Will This Final Live Up to Expectations?
Going into the 2009 final there were many people who thought that this Champions League final would be one of the greatest finals in Champions League history.
However that final was not one of the greatest finals ever due to Barcelona's dominance and now many people wonder if this final will live up to expectations.
I think that this final will live up to expectations and will be one of the greatest Champions League finals ever due to the immense amount of talent on both sides and Barcelona will not be able to completely dominate like they did in 2009.