Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughChampions League Final... We Assume - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Champions League Final... We Assume - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Champions League Final… We Assume

Assuming Real Madrid and Schalke 04 don’t provide insane comebacks next week we are staring at a Manchester United vs. Barcelona final at Wembley. Manchester United showed dominance over Schalke in the first leg as they were given unbelievable amounts of space by the Schalke midfield which allowed United to pass it around them easily. While United were playing like they were against 10 men, Barca actually had that luxury and the little magician that is Argentine Lionel Messi tore apart Mourinho’s Madrid after Portuguese Pepe was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Dani Alves.

So how are both teams likely to line up against each other? United will be looking to stifle the creativity in midfield of Xavi and Iniesta and Fergie will most likely will deploy either a 5-man midfield as he did last time the two sides met with either Rooney as a lone frontman or as they have played lately with him dropping into the number 10 role he has flourished in.

If Darren Fletcher is fit, he will likely partner Michael Carrick who has returned to form of late in a midfield 5 with Rooney ahead of them in the centre, Valencia on the right and either Nani or Park Ji-Sung on the left. Fergie will be cautious and I can see Nani being benched in favour of Park, due to the fact he is more willing to defend and they will need to double full backs up on the left to deal with Lionel Messi.

At the back Fergie will be relying on the partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to keep David Villa at bay. His choice at left back if almost a certainty to be Patrice Evra while at right back he has an abundance of options, with Fabio enjoying a spell in the first team brother Rafael may be forced to the bench or Sir Alex could bank on the experience of John O’Shea?

As for Barca, the first team marring injury pretty much picks itself although should Cesar Azipaceltzua be kept out by injury, Pep Guardiola may be forced into a defensive reshuffle. Javier Mascherano could deputize at centre back as Carlos Puyol if moved to left back.

The focal point will be of course the performance of Lionel Messi, he could be the difference between the teams and whether he will add to his 50+ goals could prove decisive to the game as I can’t see David Villa with all his talent breaching and causing the United defence many problems.

What do I think the outcome will be then? Well if any team can beat this Barcelona team in the form they are in it has to be Manchester United, it took Inter and Jose Mourinho’s tactical genius to beat them last year and I think Fergie nearing what surely must be the end of his career will be ready for the Catalonians. It may be close, but I can see a fairy-tale finish for the Red Devils with but a goal separating the two sides.  Maybe if United win then Fergie will bow out, or maybe just one more season… yeah just one more…

By John Fernandez

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