Fletcher & Giggs Will Be The Key Against Barca

Manchester United overcame their setback against Arsenal in the Premier League to ensure their progress to the Champions League final at Wembley. Though this Manchester United team has been under-rated by many experts, Sir Alex Ferguson's team have shown immense competitiveness as they are on course for a double which would be a huge success for the 2010/11 season.

The Red Devils will meet Barcelona, who progressed to the final beating arch rivals Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate. The Catalan club will be the favourites going into the final which would be a good thing for United, who will enjoy less pressure being the underdogs. However, underestimating the capability of United to perform in crunch situations could prove to be fatal for Barcelona who will be cautious of Ferguson's men.

Though Manchester United were outplayed in the 2009 Champions League final against Barcelona, Ferguson would have prepared to counter the threat posed by Pep Guardiola for the final at Wembley, which will provide the home advantage to the Red Devils. In recent games, the weaknesses of Barcelona and Manchester United have been on display in their games against Real Madrid and Arsenal respectively and both managers will know that they would have to be at their best to win the prestigious trophy in European club competition.

Ferguson will be keen to win the tactical battle against his counterpart Guardiola who enjoyed his first Champions League triumph as manager at the expense of Manchester United. Though this Barcelona team have excellent talent at their disposal, they have shown vulnerability in some aspects which could be exploited by United. United will have to look no further than the defeat of Barcelona to Arsenal to identify certain tactical strategies.

Ferguson is among the best managers around and the longest servant in the history of the game and certain to have a few tricks up his sleeve. He will need to get his tactics spot on and his players to be at their best to beat this talented Barca side. Even then, two players will be playing an integral part and will be key to United's success;

Darren Fletcher must start the game without a doubt and Ferguson has been a keen admirer of Fletcher's work-rate. Although the Manchester United midfielder has missed the last two months due to injury, it is likely that he will start the Champions League encounter against Barcelona. Fletcher's influence can be overlooked by some but he is easily one of the most important players for United, more so against teams that play fluid passing football like Arsenal and Barcelona.

Arsenal's young midfield of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere dominated proceedings in the game against United where Michael Carrick and Anderson struggled to influence the game. However, Fletcher would certainly have not allowed the freedom for the duo. His work rate and ability to cut out dangerous balls to David Villa and Lionel Messi will be the key to United stopping the Blaugrana from scoring.

Fletcher's tackling and partnership alongside Carrick could be the decisive factor int he game. Carrick will also have to be at his best in the game as his passing will be integral to United's counter-attacks. Ferguson has made it clear that Fletcher will go straight into the team after his return and in all probability, he will be trusted with the hardest job on the pitch.

Much of the talk about United scoring goals against Barcelona is likely to be centered around Wayne Rooney who has excelled in a withdrawn role this season. Though Rooney is amongst the most important players for the Red Devils, it will be up to the ageless Ryan Giggs to produce a vintage performance which could seal the tie.

United played a strong team against Arsenal but Giggs was not present in the squad. The Welshman showed his class against Chelsea in the Champions League where he made a number of superb runs into the box and created numerous chances for his team mates. In the game against Schalke, his combo with Rooney was superb and it was only a matter of time before the duo ensured the tie was won by them.

His commitment to the team has been exemplary over the years just as it was in the recent game against West Ham where he played as a temporary left-back. Giggs is likely to come up against Dani Alves who provides great width down the left for Barcelona. Patrice Evra will have the unenviable task of cutting out the dual-threat of Alves and Pedro Rodriguez. However, the experienced Giggs will provide him ample support and his performance going forward against Alves could be decisive in the outcome of the Champions League Final.

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