March 27, 2023

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Xavi and ten Hag prepared each other carefully and put on a great show. For Manchester United, the scenario turned out to be more profitable

Johannes Bo is still a man: he suffocated in the last World Cup race, but set a record

Johannes Bo is still a man: he suffocated in the last World Cup race, but set a record

It turned out better than in the Champions League.

Barcelona and Manchester United failed to determine the winner in the first leg of the 1/16 finals of the Europa League – a 2-2 draw. The meeting turned out to be very fun and emotional, despite the fact that both teams made great efforts to neutralize each other. Let’s discuss the moves of Xavi and ten Hag.

Barcelona have two losses in the squad – Dembele and Busquets missed the meeting due to injuries. Despite the status of the match, we saw changes in the starting Xavi from Xavi that can only be explained by the intention to give the main players a rest: Alba instead of Balde (in 2023 more basic than Jordi) and Alonso in the central defender position instead of Christensen (this decision is generally difficult explain somehow).In addition, Xavi has swapped Kunde and Araujo, now with the Uruguayan at right-back and the Frenchman at centre-back.The move, most likely, under the incredible form of Marcos Rashford, but it is worth warning in advance – it did not work. We’ll take a closer look a little later.

United had much more losses: due to the bust of yellows, the match was missed by Lisandro Martinez and Zabitzer, who had just been rented from Bayern, but had already become the main one. The Mancunians also have a lot of injured: McTominay, Eriksen, Martial, Anthony (and these are just the most significant). Luke Shaw moved to the position of the central defender, and Malasia took place on the left in defense. On the right, instead of Dalot, Wan-Bissaka appeared – clearly a move with the expectation that he would have to defend himself more than usual. Ahead the composition is readable,but the content is completely unexpected: on the flanks of Sancho and Bruno, in the attack Rashford, and in the role of “eights” over Casemiro – Fred and Weghorst (!).This is due to the unusual pressure that ten Hag has prepared for this match.

Starting Lineups and Team Schemes

Pressing “United”: personal orientation in the center of the field in combination with the classics

Before the match, the intrigue, although not great, was connected with the football that Erik ten Hag would choose against an opponent of this status:will the Mancunians fight for the ball and territory with Barcelona, and even on her field? Despite the fact that United have been playing positional football at a high level in recent months, I think few people have any illusions on this issue:“Barcelona” is a more formed team within the same principles that are close to Manchester United under ten Hague.That is whythe Mancunians’ plan was to neutralize“Barcelona” – not strongly associated with ten Hag, but it was performed at a high level. Let’s consider in more detail.

The pressure on opposition defenders was the same as in other United matches:the winger moves towards the forward (in this game, Rashford) when the ball is closer to his flank, to put pressure on the central defenders. A fullback in this zone has freedom: