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Tactical Preview: FC Barcelona vs Manchester United UEFA Champions League Final

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24 :   A general view of Wembley Stadium as preparations continue for the Champions League Final, May 24, 2011 in London, England. The UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC will be held at Wembley stadium on May 28. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Andres EhrliCorrespondent IIIMay 26, 2011

With the UEFA Champions League Final coming up this Saturday, we are sure to see a tactical surprise from one of the coaches.

As you will se below, my personal tactical analysis makes me think Ferguson will opt to play sans Chicharito for the match, while Guardiola will trust out of form Eric Abidal as his starter on the left back position.

Here are team-by-team descriptions of what I expect to see come Saturday.

 

FC BARCELONA

Formation:

4-3-3 (one holding midfielder, false nine)

Starting 11:

Valdés / Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal / Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta / Pedro, Messi, Villa

Why?:

Barcelona don't change their lineup. Pep will play the same way he has all season long: forward pressing and possession football.

Players they depend on to win:

The world's best one, Lionel Messi, having a good day.

Xavi & Co. controlling the tempo.

Dani Alves winning his matchup with Park.

Abidal stopping Valencia's speed on the right flank.

 

Don't Rule Out:

Mascherano starting as a central defender if Abidal isn't fully fit.  

Guardiola surprising everyone and starting Iniesta up front and Keita in the middle,

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

Formation:

4-5-1

Starting 11:

van der Sar / O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra / Carrick, Giggs, Anderson, Park, Valencia / Rooney

Why?:

Ferguson might leave Chicharito on the bench. He did it two years ago with Tevez, and he could do it again. Anderson's physical style in midfield will help United stop Barcelona's playmakers in a similar way to what Mourinho did with Pepe.

Sir Alex will look to defend solidly and attack quickly on the counter through the flanks. Especially the one featuring Antonio Valencia.

Players they depend on to win:

Park chasing Alves all over the field.

Valencia being effective when counter-attacking.

Defense not having mental mistakes.

Don't Rule Out:

Fletcher starting instead of Anderson.

Ferguson being bold and offensive and starting Chicharito from the get-go.

Nani instead of Valencia.

Rafael or Fabio instead of O'Shea.

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