A Ronaldo-less Man Utd have a better chance of beating Barcelona
The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo is the one big difference within the Manchester United squad this year in comparison to their 2009 defeat to Barcelona, but there are reasons to suggest that this may be a positive rather than a negative.
Clearly, Ronaldo’s attacking talents and goal threat will be sorely missed by Manchester United, particularly as the Portuguese forward managed over 50 goals for Real Madrid this season.
However, for a one-off game against Barcelona, Manchester United may find it easier to set up their formation without having to formulate tactics around their star player.
Ronaldo was known for being very direct in his style and was often considered to be quite selfish in the final third of the pitch, especially when presented with a chance to shoot from long range.
Instead this year, Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to select a team with a greater work and team ethic, particularly in their defensive duties without the ball.
Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung may not pose the same troubles as Ronaldo, but there happiness to work in both directions could be a major asset, particularly in preventing Barcelona’s full-backs from having too much of an impact in an attacking sense.
Looking back to the 2009 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, Ronaldo was virtually non-existent for long periods for Manchester United in Rome.
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola may be also expecting Manchester United to be a stronger unit as he feels his team will need to play better than in 2009 if they want to win the Champions League for the third time in six seasons.
Manchester United’s odds are 3/1 to beat Barcelona in the 90 minutes at Wembley, while it is 13/8 that they get a measure of retribution for the 2-0 defeat two years ago by lifting the Champions League trophy.
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