Five reasons Man Utd can win


United are the underdogs
It doesn't happen often that United are seen as the underdog, and frankly when it does, it suits the club. Backs-to-the-wall, and all that. Look at how many pundits wrote United off for this Premier League season back in August, and look at how Sir Alex Ferguson and his men responded. I suspect Ferguson will privately be quite happy for most people to expect a Barcelona victory this weekend.


United have a team packed with talent
This may seem obvious to some of you, but is a fact that often seems to have been overlooked or forgotten in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo years. United may lack some of the panache of their previous teams, including their European Cup winners of 2008, but they do have a whole collection of superb players. From the exciting wing play of Antonio Valencia to the seemingly ageless skills of Ryan Giggs, the sheer energy of Javier Hernandez and brilliance of Wayne Rooney, United have the resources to trouble the Catalan giants.

United are playing in their own country
It doesn't always work out that teams playing in their home country win finals. Barcelona supporters of a certain age will shudder when they recall the 1986 final, which they lost to Steaua Bucharest on penalties in Seville. But it should still be seen as an advantage, and United do have previous in north London after their emotional win over Benfica in 1968.

Barcelona are beatable
Barcelona have been receiving plenty of plaudits these past couple of years, and deservedly so after their exploits. But they have been beaten in some important games, let's not forget that. Remember the way they were tactically undone by Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan in last season's Champions League semi-final? What about Real Madrid's recent victory in the Spanish Cup final? Or Arsenal's late comeback to win at the Emirates earlier this year?Barcelona are good, very good, but not invincible.

Look at the Barcelona defence
There isn't much wrong with Barcelona's attacking play, but there are a few nagging question marks concerning the other end. For one thing, it's perfectly possible that Javier Mascherano will play in the centre of defence. That clearly isn't his favourite position, not least because of his height. And it would appear that right-footed Carles Puyol could well play at left-back. Valencia may have some joy on that side of the pitch.

Barcelona are simply brilliant
They have some of the very best players in the world, and as a unit they simply are a joy to watch and brilliantly effective. Some pundits have claimed this version of Barcelona is good enough to be called the best club side ever. I'm not sure about that; not after seeing the AC Milan of two decades back, not to mention some wonderful Manchester United and Liverpool teams in years gone by. Whatever your opinion on that however, Barcelona are probably up there among the best, and that is why they rightly start as favourites for this final.

That man Messi
The Argentine star Lionel Messi is the most spellbinding player of this generation, and only United old boy Ronaldo can compare in today's game. Incredibly skilful and intelligent, Messi can turn a big match in an instant. That brilliant solo goal in the first leg of the semi-final against Barcelona's great rivals Real Madrid said it all about the quality of his play.

Memories of Rome
United actually started fairly brightly in the 2009 final, but after Samuel Eto'o scored for Barcelona there was only going to be one winner. Xavi and Andres Iniesta were mesmeric, and at times they simply ran rings around United players. Michael Carrick has openly admitted it took him quite some time to recover from his own ordeal that night. The big question is: Have United mentally moved on from that experience? You have to feel the sheer memory of it must give Barcelona confidence.

Barcelona rather like Wembley
Much has been written about United's first European Cup triumph at Wembley in 1968, but lest we forget that Barca had their own glory night at the old stadium in 1992. It seems hard to believe that Barcelona were still waiting for their first European Cup when Ronald Koeman put an end to all the frustrations with an extra-time winner against Sampdoria. The night instantly became a hallowed one in Barcelona's history. They also returned to the ground for a Champions League group match in 1999, and stylishly beat Arsenal 4-2. OK, so the stadium has been rebuilt since then, but it's still in the same place, and still has that old lustre and prestige about it.

United have been awful at the new Wembley
United had a special relationship with the old Wembley Stadium, but the new one hasn't really worked for them. Not yet, at least. Aside from last year's League Cup win against Aston Villa, it's been a right old struggle for Ferguson's men there. The low points have included defeat against Chelsea in the 2007 FA Cup final in an awful game, losing on penalties to Everton in an FA Cup semi-final in 2009, and a 1-0 semi-final loss to local rivals Manchester City this season. I suppose trends are there to be reversed, but for superstitious United fans out there, the portents aren't good.

Read More: MSN

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