Man Utd v Barcelona: Rooney returns but Reds still against it

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Manchester United’s pre-season preparations are set to conclude tonight, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are 11/4 underdogs to sign off with a win against Spanish superpowers Barcelona in Gothenburg.

United will likely field as strong a side as they have throughout their world tour, as youngsters such as Ryan Tunnicliffe and Davide Petrucci have returned home to be replaced by the likes of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

That bodes well for Red Devils backers, though they should be very wary of 4/5 Barca, who have racked up a massive 12 goals in just three friendly outings under new boss Tito Vilanova.

In contrast, the Red Devils have found the net on just three occasions, though have shown impressive defensive resolve which sees them unbeaten from four pre-season outings.

With that in mind, some may be tempted to back the draw at 12/5, a result which has emanated from two United friendlies so far, and from the last of the Catalan giants.

To say the stakes were higher the last time these teams met is somewhat of an understatement, considering Barcelona triumphed 3-1 to lift the 2011 Champions League in that encounter.

However, it could be worth taking on both sides to score in the match as they did then, as an 8/15 chance, bearing in mind the returning Rooney and Welbeck, and obvious attacking threats within the Spanish sides’ ranks.

Indeed, Lionel Messi has already struck four times from open play in three friendlies, and those fancying him to inspire Barcelona to a dominant win can take advantage of half markets on the game.

Punters can back the La Liga side to be leading at half-time and full-time at 13/8 here, while punters envisaging a repeat of the 2011 Champions League final, which Messi scored in, can have 12/1 odds about a 3-1 Barca success.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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