Man United vs Barcelona Odds, Pick | Europa League Betting Preview

Man United vs Barcelona Odds, Pick | Europa League Betting Preview article feature image

Oli Scarff/Getty. Pictured: Marcus Rashford.

Man United vs Barcelona Odds

Thursday, Feb. 23
3 p.m. ET

Man United Odds


Barcelona Odds

Over/Under2.5 (-126 / +104)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-160 / +126)
Odds via DraftKings. Get the latest soccer odds here.

After a thrilling first leg at Camp Nou ended in a 2-2 draw, Manchester United and Barcelona return to Old Trafford with everything to play for in the Europa League.

Manchester United put on a counterattacking clinic against Barcelona in the previous meeting and now are the favorites to go through to the round of 16. However, this is a weird spot for the Red Devils, as they have the League Cup Final on Sunday against Newcastle.

Barcelona stumbled for the first time since the World Cup break against Manchester United in that first leg. They have a comfortable lead in La Liga, so they can focus all of their attention on getting into the round of 16, but doing it on the road is a different story.

Barcelona lost to both Inter Milan and Bayern Munich on the road during the Champions League group stage, along with a loss to Real Madrid on the road in La Liga. We'll see if they can reverse that trend on Thursday at the Theater of Dreams.

Manchester United Have Key Tactical Plan

Manchester United completely trashed Barcelona in transition in the first leg. The Red Devils only had three 10-plus pass sequences and a 72.8% build up completion percentage, but they were able to get off a whopping 15 shots in the penalty area and create 2.1 xG.

The match was chaotic because of how many times both teams turned it over in their own end. There were a combined 24 high turnovers, and 11 of them were forced by Manchester United.

United's offense is in the best form of anyone in the world right now. They are led by Marcus Rashford, who is scorching hot.

Rashford has scored 16 goals in 17 appearances out of the World Cup break, but it's not just Rashford who is putting up quality outings. Jadon Sancho is finally back in the lineup and playing like the player we saw at Dortmund, along with Bruno Fernandes continuing to be in good form.

Manchester United have created 11.4 xG in their last five matches, and even more impressively, in a sandwich spot against Leicester on Sunday, they created the most xG of anyone in a Premier League game this season.

They are going to have to a better job in this second leg at defending their penalty area, however. While they were great in transition offense, Barcelona still had an xThreat of 1.81, created 1.54 xG and had 21 box entries.

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Barcelona Need to Turn Plan Into Action

The match script in the first leg went Barcelona's way. They held 60.2% possession, tilted the field on Manchester United 60.1% and had a build up completion percentage of 84.1%.

However, they could not counter-press Manchester United at all, which allowed the Red Devils to thrive in transition and create loads of chances. That match was a microcosm of Barcelona this season. When they aren't able to win the ball off you in the final third, they tend to struggle in transition defense.

Even in their La Liga game this past weekend against Cadiz, the relegation side had an xThreat of 1.54 and 10 penalty box shots.

In both meetings with Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage earlier this season, they conceded a combined 3.7 xG. Against Inter they conceded 2 xG in the second leg, and of course 2.1 xG to Manchester United in the first leg.

The injuries and suspensions for Barcelona are starting to rack up as well. Pedri and Sergio Busquets are going to miss this match due to injury, but now Gavi, who has been occupying the left wing, is going to miss this match due to a yellow card suspension.

Man United vs Barcelona Pick

There is so much to play for in this second leg, but it's hard to get behind either side on the moneyline. Barcelona are going through a ton of injuries right now and seemingly don't have an answer for teams counterattacking them at the moment.

The spot for Manchester United is incredibly tricky, with them having the EFL Cup final against Newcastle on Sunday and fixtures starting to pile up. This will be Manchester United's seventh match in 19 days and Erik Ten Hag has hardly rotated his squad.

Both managers are going to have to make tactical adjustments, but with Barcelona missing personnel that would allow them to be more flexible, I think we'll have another chaotic match.

I have 2.97 goals projected, so I like the value on the over at -126.

Pick: Over 2.5 (-126) 

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