Wednesday 8 August 2012,
As Manchester United file out against Barcelona today in a pre-season friendly, here are some information you might want to know about the two teams going into the game.
State of play: Following the goalless draw against Valerenga, United face the toughest test yet of the DHL 2012 pre-season tour with a high-profile friendly against familiar foes Barcelona in Gothenburg. A sell-out crowd will fill the Ullevi Stadium for the Chevrolet-supported clash.
Ins and outs: Patrice Evra has rejoined the squad after missing the Oslo stalemate with Robbie Brady and Scott Wootton also added to the party but Phil Jones is an absentee. Barca are expected to be at full strength with David Villa close to a return and Jordi Alba in contention for a debut. Carles Puyol, Xavi and Lionel Messi all featured in the friendly with PSG.
Last game: It may have been scant consolation for the Champions League final defeats in 2009 and 2011 but the Reds emerged victorious from the last encounter between the famous clubs in Washington DC on last year’s US tour. Nani’s goal was cancelled out by Thiago Alcantara’s long-range strike but Michael Owen hit the winner.
Tito Vilanova was perhaps a surprise choice for the job following Pep Guardiola’s resignation but he knows the players well after working as assistant coach and should bring continuity. A midfielder in his playing days, the 42-year-old realises he has big shoes to fill but will be looking to get the best out of his star studded squad.