Man Utd v Barcelona Tips & Betting Preview

Manchester United look ripe for Lionel Messi's picking.

Ryan Elliott
Tue, 9 Apr, 11:26 AM

Manchester United have done incredibly well to get to this stage of the Champions League. It took a dubious handball decision to see them squeak past PSG, but you can’t begrudge them of that; by hook or by crook, they made it.

The likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have no right to be playing in a Champions League quarter-final, let’s be honest, and I’m certain this tie is the end of the road for them. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resolve will be tested – as his side look to bounce back from three defeats in four – but how do they go about facing Barcelona, a side who are unbeaten in 19 La Liga matches (winning 15)? How do you stop Lionel Messi?

United simply aren’t good enough at the back to resist Barca for 90 minutes: Messi alone has scored a ridiculous 22 goals in his last 17 league matches – how will the hapless Smalling handle him?

This will be more one-sided than people think, culminating in a Barcelona win. PSG recorded a comfortable 2-0 win at Old Trafford, and a side containing Lionel Messi in such exceptional form cannot lose against this stuttering United outfit.

Yeah, you guessed it – I’m backing Messi to score.

United have looked hopeless at the back in recent weeks, and the frankly ridiculous Messi will not pass up the opportunity to capitalise.

I’m not sure what more needs to be said. Messi is really, really good, while United have kept just two home clean sheets in the Premier League all season.

This preview aptly revolves around Messi, as my final tip is a longshot: any Barcelona player to score a direct free-kick – priced at $11.

It concerns Messi because the Argentinian magician has scored six direct free-kicks this season alone, and it’s suddenly become a huge part of his goalscoring repertoire. That’s not to say he was bad at them before, but he was never this good.

Manchester United average 15.6 fouls-per-game – the third-highest in this year’s competition – so you can be sure Messi will have a couple of opportunities to unleash.

Good luck, David.

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