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Why United Will Go Out Against Barca

I put my neck on the line and say that United will be knocked out by Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League. You think I do not trust my team? You're wrong.

It's not because we've been stuttering a bit of late - two away draws and a deserved but unconvincing home win over Arsenal -, and not even because some of our key men look a bit off-colour. I have three fundamental reasons for my prediction.

1. Lionel Messi

The little Argentinian is back and by all accounts he's done more in 45 minutes against Espanyol than the rest of his teammates did in the last five games. He'll mainly face Evra but I'm terrified of the prospect of him running at Wes Brown... He is bound to score at least one in both games.

2. Alan Hansen

BBC's 'top pundit' has predicted that United will go through. Yeah, the same man who said 'you'll never win anything with kids'. I fear that the kiss of death has been delivered.

3. It's a Champions League semi-final

And this, chaps, is the most important reason of all. United are serial semi-final bottlers in this competition. A few stats to prove.

Liverpool reached the last four in the old and the new European Cup eight times before 2008 - and progressed to final seven times.

Our opponents, Barcelona got to the semi-finals nine times - and reached the final on five occasions.

By contrast, United also reached this stage nine times before - yep, we had more European Cup semis than Liverpool - but managed to take this last hurdle only on two occasions: in 1968 and 1999 of course.

Sir Matt lost four, Sir Alex lost three semi-finals and for the sake of mathematics and numerology, the second legendary Scot will tie his predecessor. How it will happen?

Well, I think Barca will start strongly while we'll be a bit slowly out of the blocks. They will score in the first 10 minutes and urged on by a suddenly boisterous crowd, they finally find their rhytm that was lacking in the previous months, they proceed to win 3-0 against a United side that completely lose their heads after the first goal.

In other words, we'll do a San Siro. Hopefully I'm wrong. It would not be the first time for me.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 21 2008

Time: 8:31AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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That's the spirit, lads!! :s
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21/04/2008 08:48:00

Love the confidence! Very surprised to read that, on your day I think you can beat anyone. Should be a great game (which usual translates into an awful game!!)
The Fear
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21/04/2008 09:26:00

Great confidence. Inspiring to say the the least!;)
Fan of Blues
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21/04/2008 10:58:00

cant agree, i think we have the ability to beat barca by a good few goals.
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21/04/2008 15:19:00

oh and if anyone can handle messi it is patrice evra
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21/04/2008 15:20:00

c'mon united :D
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21/04/2008 15:53:00

i must admit i am nervous about this....very much because of no.3 - if this had been earlier on in the campaign i would hve been alot more confident. having said that i do think we will win at Old Trafford as we have proven we csan beat anyone there, and we have imporved alot away from home and i cant se eus not scorig. peopel may disagree but if forced to shoose, i would prefer to ein the league than any of the cups - so if we do got out i will not be too disheartened as i think we have the league wrapped up. but hey, i think we can do it, and one thing for sure is that i will be crossing my fingers for the full 180 minutes....(ps- please dont start with giggs in barcelona, and give anderson a game..he ALWAYS steps up to the big games) C'MON UNITED!
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21/04/2008 17:06:00

I don't think we'll do a san siro.I think we're a match for any one.All the talk is focusing on Messi and can we handle him? Can Barca handle Cristiano? If in fact we do happen to go out I think it'll be in the style we went out to Real in 03 when Ronaldo scored a hat trick and got a standing ovasion at OT which would put a lump in anyone's throat.It should be a great match up imo.Two quality teams who try and play football the way it should be played!!!Come on Reds!!!
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21/04/2008 17:09:00

its a good point java - we sit here and fear the likes of messi henry or eto'o having an absolute blinder....but we have those kinds of players too, ronaldo, rooney, tevez, nani, anderson and evra. all have the pace and trickery to create something out of nothing, and thjough it still makes me nervous, i am semi-confident in the knowledge that they fear our star players as much as we fear theirs......but their is NO favourites, two greaet teams, two great matches.....let battle commnence!
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21/04/2008 17:13:00

Can't wait U4L.Unfortunatly I'm going to be stuck in Nevada Smiths in New York for the game."Everyone of the reds will be pi*sed off our heads".....
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21/04/2008 17:31:00

I think your wrong Zae and I'll try to keep it short and sweet. 1) Yes Messi is very good everyone knows this. Liverpool seemed to keep him moderately quiet so why can't United? Not saying this will be all United. But a 3-0 win at Camp Nou? Harsh. 2-1 win for Barca in game 1, 3-2 win for United in game 2. No Puyol in game 1 is huge. That gives Ronaldo some freedom. United MUST play Rooney, Tevez, Nani and Ronaldo to win IMO.
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22/04/2008 03:01:00

early rumours are suggesting SAF will go with a 4-5-1 (4-4-3_ formation with ronaldo up top on his own and rooney on the wing......VDS, Brown, Rio, Vida, Evra, Park, Carrick, Anderson, Hargreaves, Rooney, Ronaldo.....wouldt be too dsheareted with this formation, i expected as much tbh. personallly though, id go for nani in place of park and tevez HAS to come on at some point, he has already proven he can get vital goals at vital times.
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22/04/2008 22:46:00


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