Manchester United play Barcelona at the 82,000-seater Fed-Ex Stadium in what is their last match of their US Tour before heading back down to Europe.
Manchester United have been on a merry little run in the pre-season, with four wins from four matches, including wins against formidable opponents like Real Madrid and Manchester City.
And as Jose Mourinho tends more towards finding out his best eleven and the players that he shall retain in the first-team setup, the Portuguese boss is expected to field a strong starting lineup, with the aim of closing out the US leg of the tour on a high.
Barcelona, on the other hand, kicked off their pre-season on a positive note, with a 2-1 win over Juventus and there were some highly encouraging signs for the club faithfuls in what was their first match under the newly appointed Ernesto Valverde, who would love to follow the result with a formidable display against the Red Devils.
We, at The Hard Tackle, take a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Jose Mourinho has so far given equal minutes to everyone, or atleast aimed at doing so, as he seeks to have all his players up to match fitness going into the season. However, Anthony Martial’s performance against Real Madrid saw him being kept out on the field for the whole ninety and one can expect the French whiz to retain his starting spot.
Ander Herrera and Juan Mata will miss out on the game and are expected to be back when United face Valeranga in Norway, according to Jose Mourinho. Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw – all of whom traveled with the squad – are still long-term absentees.
Andreas Pereira has been impressive on the tour so far and with Ander Herrera set to sit out the fixture, we could expect Mourinho to field the Brazilian in the starting lineup. The Portuguese boss has fielded Rashford and Lukaku together only once on the tour so far and this could be the perfect opportunity to test the pairing again.
Victor Lindelof looked strong despite giving away a cheap penalty against Real Madrid and the player is likely to start again alongside Eric Bailly, with Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia likely to be on either wings.
A wild card for the midfield position could be Scott McTominay, who has impressed with his choice minutes on the pitch thus far. The youngster almost got an assist with a wonderfully crafted early cross against Real Madrid, only for Fellaini to miscue it.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Bailly, Darmian; Pereira, Carrick, Pogba; Martial, Lukaku, Rashford
Ernesto Valverde would have been relieved to get things on track in his first game itself. And while the defence still needs sorting out, the overall playing style was a huge plus going forward. The manager would hope to continue the encouraging signs against Manchester United at the packed Fed-Ex Stadium.
Barcelona have all the players at their disposal and are likely to unleash the destructive MSN trio on Manchester United, which would be an intriguing test for the Red Devils defence. It would be interesting to see if Nelson Semedo plays the match or not.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Umtiti, Marlon Santos, Digne; Iniesta, Alena, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Manchester United had emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline in their previous matchup in the United States as part of the two teams pre-season tour in 2015. However, two of United’s three scorers on the day are now no-longer with the team – Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj have departed the club.
Manchester United 2 – 2 Barcelona
Both the teams are likely to field a strong starting eleven and the majority of action will come in the first-half. The second half is likely to see the two sides make wholesale changes.
A free-scoring game is likely to ensue and it will go down to penalties to decide the outcome.