Backing the Reds
Guillem says United are slight favourites to defeat Barcelona in Rome, thanks to their superior defence.
Last Updated: 26/05/09 6:31pm
Manchester United's superb defence will be a key factor on Wednesday night in Rome.
Sir Alex Ferguson will accept his side will only have about 40% of the possession and they will be happy to sit back, keep Barcelona at bay and then take their opportunity when it eventually comes.
They employed a similar tactic against Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final at the Emirates and were so clinical on the break, scoring that fantastic third goal in their 3-1 win. However, you can't compare Arsenal with Barcelona. Arsenal could never win the Spanish league.
Barcelona do have the ability to hurt United. They have the best midfield and attack on the planet with Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Andres Iniesta, who was the best player in the world before his injury.
I hope Iniesta will be fit for the final. When he plays to his usual standards he is just out of this world. As for Henry, who is recovering from a knee injury, he might not quite be ready yet. He's a bit like an old car: he needs time to get going when he comes back from injury.
Messi is keyMessi is also going to be a major factor in determining the outcome of this match. Some say he destroyed Chelsea in the first knockout round in 2006 but, to be more precise, he destroyed Asier del Horno that year.
He seems to get frustrated by English teams, as we saw in this year's semi-final at Stamford Bridge. He relies a lot on inspiration and sometimes it does not come, but he does do the most difficult things in the world: dribble and give the last pass.
Barcelona were beaten by Manchester United last year at the semi-final stage but this is a very different Barca side - that was the worst Barcelona side in history!
Barca's defensive headacheHowever, they do have problems at the back. The injuries to Rafael Marquez and Gabriel Milito have made Barcelona even weaker in a position they were already weak in.
Yaya Toure, if he plays centre-back, will have a tough time against Cristiano Ronaldo who will probably play up front again for United.
My other worry for Barcelona is that they can only play one way. They are married to their style, to their philosophy and they can't change it.
I suspect United will figure out a way to stop them, and Ferguson's side are so good at the back that one goal will probably be enough.
Barcelona also tend to have to play really well to win games while United can stick eight men behind the ball and still win. They are so confident in defence that they can sit back and simply wait for the best opportunity to attack.
If you press Barcelona too far up the pitch, they tire you and kill you in the last 10 minutes but United are cautious in finals.For that reason I think United are slight favourites to win it by a single goal. But any talk of a comfortable victory over Barcelona is wide of the mark.
Guillem answers your questions...
Got a question for Guillem? Then send it in to here or use the feedback form below.
What would be your team of 2008/09, using the best players from La Liga and the Premier League only? Thank you. Mohammed Absughe, Birmingham
GUILLEM SAYS: Hi Mohammed. My dream team from the Premier League and La Liga for this season would be:
Pepe Reina (Liverpool); Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool); Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Xavi (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), David Villa (Valencia), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
This team would certainly score lots of goals, but I think it may concede a few too!!
Hi Guillem. Over the duration of the season Manchester United have been linked with a number players plying their trade in La Liga such as goalkeepers Diego Lopez (Villarreal) and Sergio Asenjo (Vallodolid) aswell as Valencia's David Silva and David Villa. Also I read you saying their is strong English interest in Juan Mata (also of Valencia) and wondered whether United are one of the clubs? Do you feel there is any chance of one or more of these or any other Spanish players moving to Old Trafford over the summer? Thanks in advance. Shane Farrington, Tadworth
GUILLEM SAYS: Diego Lopez might stay another season at Villarreal although his agent has been talking about him as a potential target of Manchester United and others. He would be a great replacement for Edwin van der Sar but neither him nor Sergio Asenjo (he could go to Atletico Madrid) or Mata will be going to Old Trafford.
I don't believe David Silva, David Villa or Kun Aguero, from Atletico who has also been linked with United, will be joining Ferguson either. There was a contact for Silva last season, but just as with Marcus Senna, the first contacts didn't develop into signings.
Hola Guillem. Keep up the good work with your articles, which I have been reading consistently for the last couple of months. I just want your opinion on Atletico Madrid, and in particular Diego Forlan. Being a die hard fan of Atletico Madrid, I simply don't understand why we are such an inconsistent team. We seem to always be able to play on the big stage against teams that are in the top six such as Barcelona and Valencia, but we always struggle to beat teams in the bottom half of the table. Just one more question, as Forlan has been on fire throughout the season, what do you rate the chances of him staying for at least one more season, as I can't really see it happening, but as he is ageing a tad, I don't know if big clubs will risk paying big money for him. Gracias Guillem. Daniel Smith
GUILLEM SAYS: Cheers Daniel! Atletico have been inconsistent this season for a number of reasons. They lack proper midfielders that can sew together the attack and the defence (although Paulo Assuncao has been key for Atletico in the last month). It is a team broken in two! They have also had a very poor defence this season, which was poorly protected by the midfield.
Diego Forlan is going to wait and see whether he will move. He would cost 36m euros but nobody will pay that. However, and I'm only speculating, if David Villa goes to Real Madrid and Barcelona manage to sell Samuel Eto'o (to Chelsea for instance), they will try to go for Forlan.