Barcelona vs. Manchester United is the pick of the games in European competition this week. But with the action taking place in the Europa League, it is far from the vintage of 2009 or 2011 when these two clubs met twice in Champions League finals in the space of just three years.
Both Barça and United have experienced falls from grace in recent seasons and it is only now that each appears to be getting back on track.
Financial mismanagement was the problem at Camp Nou. United arguably had the opposite issue, spending far too much without any sort of strategy or long-term team building plans. Both were heading only way when it came to on-field performances and it wasn’t up.
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette look ahead to Barcelona vs Man Utd in the Europa League, Casemiro’s return, the race to buy the club & more. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!
This season in Catalonia and Manchester has been different. Although Champions League struggles resulted in them being dumped into the Europa League, Barça have barely put a foot wrong in La Liga and already look set to land a first Spanish title in four years. United have a little further to go in their project but are still the closest they have been to a genuine title challenge in a decade.
“I think both clubs have the ambition to be in the Champions League and to have an impact in it. To make semi-finals and win, even, but the reality is, we’re in the Europa League, which shows both clubs needed a reset,” United boss Erik ten Hag explained ahead of this week’s first leg.
“I think it’s exciting to face each other tomorrow night because it will help both clubs. With such tests, you get better.”