Date: 20th May 2009 at 6:41pm
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Ferguson expects a classic; Giggs gearing up for dream final; It’s the final the neutrals were hoping for etc., etc.

You all heard it, didn’t you? Manchester United will meet FC Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 27 and the expectations are already sky-high: everyone expects a memorable, even legendary classic. The hype is stretching my patience already even though the game’s still a week away.

Is it likely to be such a classic, considering the two games we played against Barca last year? Did they really take into account Fergie’s European negativity? No, I don’t think so.

Saturday’s title clincher against Arsenal showed exactly what kind of game we can expect. United won’t make risks, we won’t commit more than three or four men to the attacks and the priority will be to deny Barcelona the space which they thrive on.

Yes, their intricate passing football and our lightning counter-attacks could, in theory, produce a wonderful game. However, I expect chances to be few and far between especially if Rio, Iniesta and Henry all recover in time. With Rio, our defence will be more solid, with Iniesta and Henry on the pitch, Barcelona’s pressing will be even more effective and United will risk less.

An early goal could tip the balance and open the floodgates – but for me, the surprise would be if it indeed turned out to be a classic final. And I prefer an ugly victory to an epic defeat, if I’m honest…