After a three-month pause, the UEFA Europa League returns this week. However, before the knockout stage begins, a few teams must qualify for the Round of 16. Barcelona and Manchester United will meet in the play-off stage’s headline match, with the first leg taking place at Spotify Camp Nou on Thursday evening.
Details Regarding the Europa League:-
Competition: 2022-23 UEFA Europa League, Knockout Playoffs, 1st leg Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Sergio Busquets, Ousmane Dembélé (out – injury)
Man Utd Outs & Doubts: Anthony Martial, Antony, Christian Eriksen, Donny Van De Beek, Scott McTominay (out – injury), Lisandro Martínez, Marcel Sabitzer (out – suspension)
Date/Time: Thursday, February 16, 2023, 6.45 pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 5.45 pm GMT (UK), 12.45pm ET, 9.45am PT (USA), 11.15pm IST (India)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
How to watch online: Paramount+ (USA), BTSport.com (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a crucial win over Villarreal to keep their perfect record in 2023 and their comfortable lead at the top of La Liga, Barcelona will turn their attention to Europe, beginning their Europa League journey with the first leg of their knockout playoff tie against Manchester United on Thursday night at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.
Last season’s new Europa League knockout system did away with the Round of 32. It replaced it with eight playoff ties between the clubs who finished third in the Champions League group stage versus the sides that came in second in their Europa League groups.
The eight group winners from the Europa League await in the Round of 16, however it’s reasonable to conclude that Barça and Manchester United have a long history of high-profile European confrontations, and, unfortunately, they’re squaring off in the Europa League at this point. However, both sides appear to be on their way back to the top of the continent, and both are eager to show their worth against each other.
This is an enthralling battle between two teams who are extremely similar in terms of their present direction, the transformational influence of their young, lively coaches, and the type of play they utilise. Both are in terrific form, and the victor of this tie will be the obvious favourite to win the Europa League. This one is absolutely tough to predict.
Barcelona (4-2-3-1) : ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Alba; Pedri, de Jong, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Man Utd (4-2-3-1) : de Gea; Dalot, Varane, Shaw, Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho; Weghorst
Xavi’s Barça are in amazing form but haven’t been tested in Europe in 2023. Ten Hag’s United are in amazing form but haven’t been tested in Europe in 2023. These two teams couldn’t be more similar, and I believe the game will show exactly that: 1-1 draw, and everything left to be decided at Old Trafford.