Arsene Wenger couldn’t do it over two legs, the ‘Special One’ didn’t manage it either and now it’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s turn to try and devise a strategy to get the better of Barcelona in the Champions League.
The task for his Manchester United side in Saturday’s eagerly awaited final, is made slightly easier by the fact that they need to outsmart the Catalans giants only once and indeed they will be encouraged by the fact that Arsenal edged out Barca in the first-leg of the pair’s last 16 meeting at the Emirates Stadium.
Furthermore, as the contest is at Wembley, United almost possess home advantage but they’re nevertheless considered outsiders, at 3/1 with Totesport, to prevail in 90 minutes and are priced at 7/4 (Ladbrokes) to lift the trophy. Betfred meanwhile, offer Barcelona at 1/2 to win Europe’s top club competition for the fourth time in their history and Stan James quote odds of 21/20 for Pep Guardiola’s charges to come out on top in normal time.
It’s 5/2 with bet365 for the mouth-watering contest to require extra-time and given the quality of the two sides in attack, punters could do worse than backing both to find the net, an outcome Betdaq chalk up at 2.0 (evens).
It’s certainly set to be close in the capital, where United might have to alter their tactics ever so slightly to nullify the threat of Lionel Messi, although it’s not in the nature of Fergie’s side to approach a match with a defensive mindset and accordingly it could be a fixture that produces three or more goals (5/4, Sportingbet).
Those strikes are 8/1 courtesy of to be shared two-to-one in favour of the La Liga outfit, whose midfield can dominate the game while Partybets post 13/5 against Barcelona nicking it by a one-goal margin and Coral make Guardiola’s team 7/2 to emerge victorious without keeping a clean sheet.
With eleven Champions League goals to his name this season Lionel Messi will be well backed at 5/1 (William Hill) to break the deadlock and the Argentine maestro, quoted by Paddy Power at 5/4 to notch at any stage, is 7/2 with William Hill to be named man of the match. Bet365 meanwhile, offer 5/1 for the showdown to be decided by a penalty shootout and Betfred quote the two sides at 11/1 apiece to hold their nerve to triumph from the spot.