Operation Stop Marcus! Barcelona will ‘play centre-back Ronald Araujo as a makeshift right-back to contain Rashford’ when Manchester United visit for the first leg of their Europa League play-off – with the tactic having worked with Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior in past.
- United visit the Nou Camp on Thursday, with Old Trafford returning seven days later
- Xavi Hernandez used the same tactical plan in recent El Clasico games
- Rashford has scored eight goals in nine league appearances for the Red Devils
Barcelona will play Ronald Araujo as a makeshift right-back to contain Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
The Red Devils are set to visit the Nou Camp on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League, with the return to Old Trafford seven days later.
Xavi Hernandez used the same tactical plan in recent El Clasico matches to effectively subdue Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior.
The 23-year-old Uruguayan, who usually starts at centre-back for the La Liga club, is expected to line up in a similar fashion, according to Diario AS.
Rashford has scored eight goals in nine league appearances for United and has guided Erik ten Haag’s side to third place, five points behind leaders Arsenal and two behind local rivals Manchester City.
Barcelona will field Ronald Araujo (pictured) as a makeshift right-back to contain Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
Rashford (pictured) has scored eight goals in nine league appearances for United and has guided Erik ten Haag’s side to third place, five points behind Arsenal and two behind Manchester City.
United paid the price as they failed to finish top of their group ahead of Real Sociedad.
The game will evoke memories of some of the great nights of European football.
Barcelona beat United in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals when Pep Guardiola beat Sir Alex Ferguson.
Bryan Robson led a memorable battle against the Catalans and Diego Maradona in the 1984 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals as United won 3-2 on aggregate at Old Trafford.
Ferguson lifted the same trophy in 1991 after Mark Hughes’ two goals in the final in Rotterdam secured a 2-1 victory.
A United side depleted by the three away rule suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Barcelona in 1994 as they failed to qualify from the Champions League group stage.
And on the way to United lifting the European Cup in 1999, there were two 3-3 draws in the group stage before beating Bayern Munich in the final at the Nou Camp.
When Ferguson won the Champions League again in 2008, Paul Scholes scored the only goal in the semi-final to knock Barcelona out in United’s latest win over their rivals.
The most recent meeting ended in a 4-0 aggregate defeat for United in a 2019 Champions League quarter-final.
Xavi Hernandez (above) used the same tactical plan in recent El Clasico matches to effectively subdue Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior