Date: 27th July 2011 at 6:35pm
Written by:

Anderson Messi

Is the current squad any better equipped to beat the mighty Barca?

It would seem an almost offensive question at first, that the greatest manager in the history of the game would fail to address the most important issue.

After all three major Summer signings, over £50 million spent plus the recall of two important loanees and a promise they wont be going out again this season, is hardly leting the grass grow under your feet.

Yet let’s ask ourselves one fundamental question: Are we now better equipped to beat Barcelona?

I’d argue not.

This Summer I’ve praised Sir Alex for making the side strong enough to mount another successful title challenge as I truly believe we’ve got the strongest squad in the Premier League.

Yet that shouldn’t detract from the two tonne white elephant still siting firmly in the room: how are United going to beat Barcelona?

Last season in the Champions League final it was glaringly obvious we were at least one midfield enforcer short of really being able to give the Catalan side a game.

Never mind the “Fletcher was injured” argument or “Carrick had an off day” or even the “Anderson should’ve started” point. The fact is United as in Rome two years previsouly simply didn’t have the tenacious though tackling terrier to try and break down the Barca play and mix it up a bit.

Ji Sung Park tried his best but simply ended up running himself knackered after half an hour.

With all the rumours surrounding Samir Nasri or Wesley Sneijder, the smart money is that we won’t be buying a player like that even if we do make one more big name signing.

You could argue that Sneijder is that good a player that he will move us a step closer to Barcelona’s level, regardless of the fact he’s an attacking midfielder rather than a defensive or box-to-box one.

All this is academic of course unless had signed Sneijder but at the time of writing we aint.

The loss of Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar is a massive blow no matter what they’re ages but in terms of beating Barcelona it may actually be Owen Hargreave’s departure which is the most telling.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not claiming that the curly haired one is a better player than Scholes, that would be ridiculous. What I’m saying is he’s the one midfielder who had he regained his fitness- admittedly a big ‘if’ then he could have been ideal for the task of getting in Barca’s faces.

Buying players simply to beat one team may seem a little daft to some, but let’s face some simple facts, if United really want to win the Champions League then sooner or later we’re going to have to beat Barcelona and my concern is that problem doesn’t really seem to have been addressed this Summer.

Whenever the subject of beating Barcelona come’s up with many of the Reds I’ve spoken to, the general consensus seems to be that United would need to be on form and simply hope the Spaniards had a bad day at the office.

That’s like expecting the Daily Star to have newsworthy story on the only day you buy it, call me a cynic but I think United’s chances of wrestling the Champions League from Barcelona, look about as likely as they did last season.


21 responses to “Has Fergie Simply Ignored The Barcelona Problem?”

  1. Fido says:

    “Carrick had an off day” LOL! Still have that soft spot for Carrick? Carrick ALWAYS has an off day against Barcelona or any strong opposition. Except for Chelsea(They don’t put pressure on him). Him not playing in such games would be step forward for the club. He is so annoying. Listen to his interviews. He’s all about “we, we, we”!!!! He never takes blame, doesn’t want to stand up and be counted. Just pissing me off. Manchester United has never had a first team midfielder like him. In terms of ability and mentality.

  2. Fido says:

    You are stating the obvious. Although it’s good to note that we need a defensive midfielder. Probably more than an attacking midfielder. Not this “Carrick sitting in front of the back four reading the game nonsense”. A real enforcer is imperative.

    On a side note why does Fletcher seem to be missing in these big Champions league games. The one midfielder we have in our squad that should first on the team sheet against Barcelona Bizarre.

  3. Luke says:

    First of all this article has been written a month too early. Theres still a month left of the window for christs sake!

    And, if you think, that buying a certain player, any single player, will therefore mean your team is now capable of beating Barca, you’re dead wrong I’m afraid.

    We were fantastic last season, and clear and away the official european vice champions 😉 . But we have players who wil have matured and should be even BETTER this season, like Rooney, Nani, Chicharito, The Twins, Young, Anderson – all these players coming into their prime.

    So SAF obviously hasnt forgotten Barca, but he’s clearly expecting and factoring half of his first team to improve their levels. Which is far better, for an already league championship and CL finalist team, than just buying another star player.

    Let’s not forget, Arsenal beat Barca last season in a huge and important game, and they were still on track for qualification deep into the 2nd leg, until their star player got a ridiculous and bizarre red card. We have beaten Arsenal easily in recent years, so Barca are not indominatble. I actually believe we picked the wrong team in the final. Nani shouldve played, along with Ando. Also the loss of Fletcher was big. So there are actually a couple of mitagting circumstances to that final. Especially Fletcher, our most important player for a Barca game – missing.

    • WaNtzTeVeZ2FoOkoFFnOW says:

      Agree with u there fella !

    • Fido says:

      I agree with you on couple of things but we were NOT fantastic last season. Yes, we could have picked a better team for the final. Like we should have started Nani(what was Valencia doing!!?). The difference between us and Arsenal against Barcelona is that Arsenal play without fear and restraint. Pretty much they try to play their game. On the other hand, we tend to play a cautious game(One of the reasons I believe is because Fergie is not comfortable with our midfield)

      • Luke says:

        I don’t buy that stuff that we didn’t play good football last season. For the first few months, yes, we grinded, but the second half of the season we played some great stuff, consistantly, lots of great goals, fluent passing, Chicha was flying, Rooney imo played some of the best stuff of his career, and our defense was simply a sight to behold, an example. We cruised though the CL, and looked dangerous in all our games. The one problem though was our away form in the league.

        As for cautious , disagree, we now play with considered control and defensive solidity in Europe, not caution. We still throw men forward, and play with attacking FB’s. And in the league we play attacking, bullying football like we always have, especially at home.

        As for Carrick, what most of you refuse to acknowledge, is this is the player in the heart of our midfield, when we’ve reached 3 Champions League finals – I don’t care about what you want to say, that there is enough to surely show you the man is no mug. This is the heart of the team.

      • Frank says:

        Arsenal played without fear? Maybe they weren’t terrified at Emirates, but they were certainly lucky to get a few major calls in their favor, disallowing goals and all that. At Camp Nou it was a different story, they managed exactly ZERO shots on goal. That was a direct result of playing scared. And don’t give me that tripe about the referee, they hadn’t managed a shot before and they wouldn’t have even if RVP hadn’t been sent off. They were playing as scared as one of Mourinho’s teams against Barcelona.

    • Mark says:

      Any muppet who half understands the game can clearly see that our only weekness in the side is in the middle of the park and maybe in goal until the youngster settles. It has been that way since Hargreaves got injured and the pace of the english game finally caught up with ginger ninja. Wether it’s defensive or attacking, a world class midfielder is needed!

      • No point arguing ds. Carrick is not formidable enough to get into barca;s face&disrupt dr suave passing. Only a fit Hargreaves could av really done dt. Utd urgently need a Creative/Central midfielder like Sneider, Swanzteinger, Nasri,etc to be able to conveniently challenge barca. Our midfield almost gave fergie stroke d last term, my friend!

  4. seun olufoye says:

    michael garrick has to be 1 of the worst so called passer of the ball i’ve ever seen. He’s 1 of the tallest players we have but he’s the weakest. Any1 would bully him off the ball. We need better! Fact is he had no assist or goal last season. Dont care if he played so deep…van dar sar had an assist!

  5. Fido says:

    People talk about beating Barca. Can we beat Madrid? Maybe. Probably not. Hopefully we can avoid these two teams in the CL especially if we don’t add one or two quality midfielders.

    I am pretty sure we’ll win the league. Knowing that we won it the way we did last year and the fact that we have improved the squad in certain areas the summer. Fergie knows how to navigate the league well and utilize his squad. Now, if Mourinho was coach of Chelsea or City for that matter, I would be a bit worried.

  6. Sorryforbeingstraightforward says:

    The guy who wrote the note and everyone who made comments have their own point of views (especially regarding Carrick! Jeez…don’t put all the blame on him for the final defeat mann…we just didn’t play well enough!) But I think we haven’t even been fans of Man United longer than Sir Alex has been in charge of the club…and he’s won 2 CLs as well…so, I guess, Boss knows best…stay tuned…

  7. Nati says:

    Pastore could be coming….owner said they are making a closed door deal….only fergie likes doing deals closed doors…lets wait and see…

  8. Dan says:

    All very well having a ball winner but if we can’t keep the ball we’ll come unstuck. The gooners didn’t do so well against barca by sitting deep and breaking up their attack. They beat them at their own game, and passed around their midfield. If they could finish half as well as united they’d have beaten us to the league too! Carrick was at fault as he is supposedly our passer, and he couldn’t (nor could giggs or scholes to be fair) string 2 passes together when we did, albeit very rarely, get possession. Whilst I’m a firm believer that 11 players who play are a team are always going to be stronger than a few ‘stars’, what we really missed in may was leadership on the pitch. A keano, Eric, robbo character who could instil some belief in the team, to enable them to have played with more confidence in the middle would have made a huge difference. We then might not have been so frightened of them as to be comfortable retaining possession. And I am old enough to remember life before fergie. Robbo’s demolition of barca in ’84 – maradonna and all – was still one of the best nights at old trafford that will ever happen!

  9. FCBarca says:

    Break down & mix it up midfield terrier?…You mean a destroyer?

    Hardly a solution to beating Barca, there’s a gap in quality at the heart of it…A destroyer doesn’t change that

  10. haris says:

    “That’s like expecting the Daily Star to have newsworthy story on the only day you buy it,”

    now that’s Awesome!