Football

Manchester United v Barcelona: Match Preview

Manchester United will have close to a full-strength squad when they take on Barcelona tonight in Sweden in the final match of their pre-season world tour.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to call on Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Nani, and club captain Nemanja Vidic has returned to the team after eight months out.

But, up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, United assistant manager Mike Phelan anticipates an exacting challenge.

"Barcelona have been exceptional - they've combined experience and youth and maintained success," said Phelan. "The challenge for us is to compete. It will take time but we're not that far away."

The high-profile friendly takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden, and despite the return of United's Euro 2012 participants, youngsters such as Davide Petrucci, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Michael Keane are expected to be given the opportunity to stake their claim for a place in the first-team squad.

New Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova saw his side draw 2-2 against Paris St Germain at the weekend, and the Barca boss is expected to field a strong team against United.

Gerard Pique, Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Messi and Dani Alves will all be available for the match, ensuring that Ferguson's side get the toughest possible test before the season gets under way.

But United have been in good form so far, and are yet to lose on their pre-season tour, which has taken in China, South Africa, Norway and Sweden.

Topics:
Football
Gerard Pique
Premier League
Danny Welbeck
Manchester United
Nani
Nemanja Vidic
Wayne Rooney

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