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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Barcelona vs Manchester United CL Final 2009: Live Score and Analysis

If you want to get the live score and updates of Champions league final 2009 between Barcelona and Manchester United, then visit the following link:

Barcelona vs Manchester United UEFA Champions League 2009 Final Live Updates

In the much-awaited final match of Champions league 2008-09 will see defending champion Manchester United and Spanish giant Barcelona facing each other at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy on 27 May 2009. This is the match for which millions of football fans are now eagerly waiting. No doubt, both the sides have been in excellent form so far this season and already clinched their domestic league title. Defending champion Manchester United is looking to make history by successfully defending Champions league title this season, while Barcelona is gearing up to take revenge of last season’s semi final defeat to Manchester United in Champions league and repeat their European success in 2006 when they clinched their second ever Champions league title.


Match: Barcelona vs Manchester United; UEFA Champions League Final 2009;

Date: 27 May 2009, Wednesday

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)


Manchester United ensured their hat-trick of premier league title last week and is now looking for their fourth title this season. They have already won FIFA Club World Cup, Carling Cup and Premier League titles so far this season. Naturally, you do not need to think twice regarding the strength of the Red Devils. The only tournament they failed to win so far is FA Cup where they were knocked out by Everton at the semi final. So, Ferguson boys are now full of confident going into the upcoming showdown against Barcelona.

Catalan club Barcelona also has some tremendous success this season. They have already won Spanish Cup and League titles as some of their star players like Henry, Eto’o are playing at their top. Barcelona is now hoping to win treble this season in what would be an extraordinary debut season for coach Pep Guardiola. Barcelona might have lost their recent league game to Osasuna at home, but they are less likely to be short of confidence while taking on Manchester United in Rome’s final.

Road to Final

Manchester United was drawn into Group E alongside Villarreal, Denmark’s Aalborg BK and Scottish club Celtic. The Red Devils reached the first round of knock out stage as the group champion with 10 points from 6 games. Here, it is noteworthy that Manchester United did not lose any game in the tournament so far. In the first round of knock out stage, Ferguson boys outperformed Italian giants Inter Milan 2-0 on aggregate, before defeating FC Porto 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter final. A semi final with Arsenal was considered to be a highly competitive, but Manchester United thrashed Arsenal 4-1 on aggregate in the semi final, and thus, reaching the final of the tournament. Overall, Manchester United did not have to struggle to reach the final.

For Barcelona, the journey was not as easier as Manchester United. They reached the last 16 as the champion of Group C where Portuguese club Sporting CP, Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel from Switzerland were the other competitors, but Barcelona lost a match to Shakhtar on the road. However, Barcelona showed their attacking strength when they thrashed French giants Olympique Lyon 6-3 on aggregate in the first knock out round of Champions league. They continued their dominance in the quarter final too where they clinched a 5-1 aggregate victory over German club Bayern Munich. However, the Catalan side faced huge challenge against English club Chelsea in the semi final. The first leg was finished in goalless, but an injury time equalizer from Andrés Iniesta in the second leg earned Barcelona a place in the final.

Injury News

The good news for Manchester United fans is that star defender Rio Ferdinand is now available for the Champions league showdown with Barcelona. Ferdinand picked up a calf injury during Manchester United’s second leg Champions league semi final victory over Arsenal on 5 May. Since then the defender was sidelined and even missed the recent 1-0 victory over Hull City in the last match of premier league season. However, the English international took part in the training session at the weekend and is expected to be fit enough to feature against Barcelona. Moreover, Wes Brown made a come back to United’s first team in the match against Hull City alongside Captain Garry Neville. However, midfielder Darren Fletcher will not be bale to play the final match due to suspension.

Barcelona also has a number of reasons to be happy ahead of Manchester United clash in Rome. First of all, two of their key players: Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta- seem to have recovered from their respective injuries and are now ready to come back in action against Manchester United. Striker Henry was sidelined with a ligament injury during Barcelona’s 6-2 mauling of Real Madrid. Iniesta, who scored the injury time equalizer at Chelsea in the second leg semi final, also shook off his thigh injury. Both the players took part in the training session on Monday, before leaving for Rome. There are two suspension problems for Barcelona as right back Dani Alves and left back Eric Abidal both will miss the Champions league final due to suspension. Barcelona’s worry for the back line extends in the absence of centre back Rafael Márquez who is currently suffering from injury.

Manchester United Probable XI and Formation

Manchester United has a long squad in which they have a number of quality players in each and every position on the field. Let us first focus on their defense line up. No doubt, Manchester United’s back line would be boost up, if Rio Ferdinand comes back after recovering from calf injury. Ferdinand would pair up with Nemanja Vidic at the heart of United defense. However, if he can not make it to the final eleven, then Jonny Evans is most likely to play alongside Vidic in the central defense. Ferguson will have to choose between captain Garry Neville, who returned to action in the last premier league victory over Hull City, and John O'Shea. Ferguson also has a fit Wes Brown who returned in action against Hull City, and thus, making it a tough decision for Ferguson to choose the right back. I think, John O'Shea should be in the first eleven because Neville was sidelined most of the season due to injury and did not have enough first team football.

Let us come to Manchester United midfield which boasts of a number of quality players and Ferguson might have some tough time to pick up his midfield general. Michael Carrick will be deployed as a holding midfielder, while Paul Scholes will partner with Carrick in the central midfield as Darren Fletcher is suspended for the final. Anderson is another quality player for central midfield.

In the left wing, there are Ryan Giggs and Nani, but I think, Giggs should come into the first eleven on the back of his experience and excellent form of recent. Left winger Cristiano Ronaldo played as striker on a number of occasions this season with Korean international Park Ji-Sung taking up the role of left winger. However, for the Champions league final, I think, it would be better to play Ronaldo in the left wing position, even though Park Ji-Sung is an excellent left winger who can run all the time and is ready to take up any role given to him. I think, Dimitar Berbatov or Carlos Tévez would be deployed in the up front with creative striker Wayne Rooney playing just a bit behind. I prefer Tevez to Berbatov in the main striker’s role. There is no doubt that Edwin van der Sar would be in United goal as usual.

To me, Manchester United should play in 4-4-1-1 formation. In this formation, they will be bale to make the best use of two wings, creating enough space but without exposing the defense. Rooney will connect United midfield with striker Tevez in this formation. You can see here how the formation would look like:

---------------------------Tevez--------------------------

---------------------------Rooney-------------------------

--Giggs------Carrick--------------Scholes---------Ronaldo--

--Evra------Ferdinand-------------Vidic------------O'Shea--

-----------------------Edwin van der SAR-------------------

The 4-4-1-1 formation could be turned into a 4-2-3-1 formation as well without bringing any big change whenever it is needed. In the 4-2-3-1 formation, there will be no change in the back line, but Carrick and Scholes will be deployed with deeper role. That means, Carrick and Scholes will be playing with more defensive intent in this formation and two wingers: Ronaldo and Giggs will be playing with more attacking intent and both the wingers will be playing in the same line alongside Rooney who will be playing in the middle. Tevez will have to play a busy role in this formation as cross and passes from the two flanks should come in a flurry, and thus, Rooney could create more scoring chances, because Barcelona defenders will spend a busy time to restrict the United wingers. However, I think, Manchester United should start with 4-4-1-1 formation initially, but they could turn it into 4-2-3-1 later on. Here, you can see how 4-2-3-1 formation would look like:

---------------------------Tevez------------------------

--Giggs------------------Rooney----------------Ronaldo--

-----------------Carrick-----------Scholes----------------

--Evra--------Ferdinand-----------Vidic---------O'Shea--

-------------------Edwin van der SAR--------------------

Probable XI (Manchester United)

Edwin van der SAR, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.

Barcelona Probable XI and Formation

As I earlier mentioned that Barcelona is suffering a lot in their defense due to suspension and injury. No doubt, manager Pep Guardiola will face tough challenge to form his back line in the absence of three regular defenders. There is little doubt over the two central defenders: Gerard Pique and Captain Carles Puyol. Sylvinho seems to be the most likely replacement of Abidal, while it will be interesting to see whom between Víctor Sanchez and Martin Caceres will be picked up for the right back position by manager Guardiola. I think, Sanchez should be given priority here because of his versatility.

Barcelona has a very strong midfield, though it is not as big as Manchester United. Yaya Toure will be deployed as a holding midfielder, while Xavi Hernandez will be there with his creativity in the central midfield. Xavi has the ability to control the midfield which will be very important for the encounter against defending champions. Andrés Iniesta is a good dribbler and he could be a threat for Manchester United defense in the left wing. Lionel Messi is a player who could play both in the right wing as well as a second striker or attacking midfielder behind the striker/s deployed up front. I would prefer Messi playing as an attacking midfielder just behind strikers Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o. Víctor Valdes will be in the Barcelona goal.

I think, Barcelona should play in 4-2-2-2 formation. After the back four, Toure and Xavi will be playing as defensive midfielder, while Iniesta and Messi will be deployed a bit ahead of the two defensive midfielders. Then Henry and Eto’o will be the two strikers up front. However, you can also consider it as conventional 4-4-2, but I think, both Xavi and Toure will play with defensive intent, while Iniesta and Messi will have attacking intent. Here, you can see what the formation would look like:

------------------------------Eto’o---------------------Henry-------------------------

---Iniesta-----------------------------------------------------------------Messi-------

-------------------------------Xavi------------------Toure----------------------------

--Sanchez---------------------Pique-----------Puyol----------------Sanchez------

--------------------------------------Víctor Valdes-----------------------------------

Probable XI (Barcelona)

Víctor Valdes, Víctor Sanchez, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry

Online Live Score and Updates

The match will be live on Sky Sports television channel in England and Ten Sports television channel in Asia. However, if you can not manage your time to watch the match live on television, then you can get the live score and updates of the match from the following websites:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Overall, I think, both sides have enough chances to win the match as both teams include some of the match winners who can single-handedly steal the show in favor of their teams. I do not think it is going to be a one-sided affair. Rather, I think, there is every possibility to see a classic match between Barcelona and Manchester United.

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