Date: 23rd February 2023 at 10:00am
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Manchester United face Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League play-off tie on Thursday with the two sides level after the first instalment. 

United came from behind to lead their Spanish opponent at the Nou Camp last week, before a late equaliser ensured things are delicately poised ahead of Thursday’s crucial second leg.

Manager Erik ten Hag will have plenty to think about ahead of the tie, and here we predict the XI that he could select for the visit of Barcelona.


Spaniard David de Gea has played every minute of United’s Premier League and European campaigns so far this term, and is set to continue against Barcelona. The 32-year-old produced a number of fine saves to ensure United took all three points against Leicester City last time out, and Ten Hag will be hoping that his ‘keeper can continue his fine form.


A few months ago, Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s Manchester United career appeared to be all-but-over with the Englishman having fallen behind Diogo Dalot in the pecking order at Old Trafford. Fast forward a matter of weeks and the ex-Crystal Palace man has started 12 of United’s last 15 matches across all competitions and is in line to do so once again on Thursday.

Wan-Bissaka has re-established himself as United’s first choice right-back in recent weeks

In the middle, Ten Hag looks likely to select his first choice central defensive pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. The duo have been Ten Hag’s favoured pairing so far this term and they are set to continue against Barcelona, with the manager looking to limit the Spanish side’s attacking threat.

On the left, England international Luke Shaw is expected to keep his place. The ex-Southampton man has been in fine form over the past 12 months and is currently keeping Tyrell Malacia out of the side.


Former Real Madrid man Casemiro is no stranger to important games against Barcelona, and the Brazilian will likely play a huge role at Old Trafford on Thursday. The midfielder has been sensational for United since joining the club last summer, and he is set to start alongside Marcel Sabitzer, who joined on loan from Bayern Munich last month. The Austrian was signed after Christian Eriksen suffered a long-term injury, and the Dane remains sidelined.

Casemiro is in line to start against Barcelona on Thursday

In front of the pair, Bruno Fernandes will start and Ten Hag will be hoping the Portuguese can continue his good form. The midfielder has scored three goals and provided five assists in his last nine league matches, and will be hopeful of adding to either of those tallies on Thursday.


On the left, Marcus Rashford will continue amid his outstanding run of from. No player in Europe’s top five leagues has scored more than Rashford’s 16 since the World Cup, and few would bet against the England international adding to his tally against Barcelona. In total, Rashford has netted a career-best 24 times so far this season across all competitions, as well as providing nine assists.

Rashford scored his 24th goal of the season against Leicester on Sunday

Through the middle, loanee Wout Weghorst is expected to start and will be looking to grab his second goal for United. The Burnley man’s only goal so far came in a 3-0 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg win over Nottingham Forest last month, and Ten Hag will be hoping he can find his second on Thursday.

On the right, Jadon Sancho is expected to take the place of Alejandro Garnacho, who started against Leicester on Sunday. The Englishman has impressed in recent weeks, scoring twice in his last three league matches.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fernandes, Sabitzer; Sancho, Weghorst, Rashford

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