How Barcelona are shaping up for Thursday's first leg

Monday 13 February 2023 13:40

Barcelona are next up for Manchester United following the Reds’ 2-0 Premier League win at Leeds United on Sunday.

Over three months on from United being drawn against the Catalan giants, the first leg of our Europa League knockout round play-off is now the firm focus for Erik ten Hag’s side. 

A trip to the Nou Camp awaits first on Thursday, before next week’s return leg at Old Trafford. But how are Barcelona shaping up for the upcoming tie?


Just like United, they picked up all three points from their league encounter at the weekend, triumphing 1-0 away to Villarreal. 

Young midfielder Pedri’s first-half goal was enough for Xavi’s side to pick up all three points and register their 11th successive win across all competitions. 

It also extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points over Real Madrid, with just over halfway gone in the campaign. 

Barcelona started the match on Sunday with the following team: 

Ter Stegan; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, De Jong, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi.


Outside of La Liga matters, Barcelona are also enjoying a successful season elsewhere, when it comes to domestic matters. 

Xavi’s side recently lifted the Supercopa de Espana, defeating Real Madrid 3-1 in the final last month, to lift their first piece of silverware of the campaign. 

The Catalans also have another two meetings set up with their storied rivals, in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, to be played in March and April respectively.

In Europe, they finished third in their Champions League group before the turn of the year, behind Bayern Munich and Internazionale, hence their inclusion in the Europa League knockout play-offs.
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In terms of team news, the Catalan side will be without stalwart midfielder Sergio Busquets who recently picked up an ankle injury that will at least rule him out of the match in Spain. 

It has been reported in the press that winger Ousmane Dembele is set to step up recovery from his thigh problem and return to the grass this week, although it seems as if he won't be ready to play again until after the two legs against United. 

Defender Ronald Araujo is suspended for the club’s league match against Cadiz next weekend – between the two fixtures versus the Reds – and, therefore, he could be primed to feature in the European ties.

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Here's how our opponents have fared across all competitions following the completion of the World Cup...

Villarreal 0 Barcelona 1
Barcelona 3 Sevilla 0
Real Betis 1 Barcelona 2
Girona 0 Barcelona 1
Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 0
Barcelona 1 Getafe 0
AD Cueta 0 Barcelona 5
Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 3
Real Betis 2 Barcelona 2 (2-4 on pens)
Atletico Madrid 0 Barcelona 1
Intercity Sant Joan d'Alacant 3 Barcelona 4
Barcelona 1 Espanyol 1