Date: 26th May 2009 at 3:27pm
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FC Barcelona v Manchester United. A tasty little game of football it looks like, especially for a Champions League final… Unsurprisingly, the teams are evenly matched – and that also means you can find plenty of reasons why one or the other will win.

We’ll start with Barcelona – here are five reasons why their fans can look ahead with optimism.

1. Thierry Henry-Samuel Eto’o-Lionel Messi

They scored a combined total of approximately 736 goals this season and ran riot in some of the biggest games, like against Bayern Munich and at the Bernabeu. Their pace, movement and delightful, silky skills will test United’s defence to the very limit.

2. Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez

The two best midfielders in the world at the moment, I think. Their passing is often out of this world and both have wonderful first touch and a brilliant positional sense. Their combination makes Barcelona tick and their creativity allow the front three to express themselves.

3. Rio Ferdinand is not fully fit

He looks certain to play but he’s missed United’s last four games and he might be a little rusty which could be a very important factor against the lethal attacking trio of Barcelona. Add John O’Shea at right-back into the mix and our celebrated defence suddenly looks a little vulnerable.

4. The absence of Owen Hargreaves and Darren Fletcher

Out of the three players who are capable of harassing and hassling opponents throughout 90 minutes, only Anderson, the least disciplined and intelligent, is available. We’ll desperately miss the energy of Hargreaves and Fletcher against the fluid movement of Barcelona’s midfield even though playing Ryan Giggs might give us a little bit more creativity in attack.

5. United’s sluggish attack

Much is expected of Rooney and Ronaldo but if we play like we did during the majority of this season we’re unlikely to have a lot of chances. Barcelona will dominate possession and our attack was rarely as sharp as at the Emirates. Too often we missed too many chances and too often this season moves simply broke down in the final third due to poor passing or bad decisions. The best example is the away game at Porto where we could have put the tie to bed in the first half but we were woeful around and in the area despite some sweet build-up play.