Manchester United have been drawn against Barcelona for the next game of their Europa League campaign, with the fixture definitely the pick of the bunch following the draw on Monday afternoon.
The two European giants will be reluctant to be facing off in the Europa League as opposed to the familiar Champions League competition, but both sets of fans are humbled as to where their sides are currently at, and both clubs will be aiming to be in the final at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary come 31st May 2023.
The Red Devils finished 2nd in their group in the Europa League after failing to beat Real Sociedad by two clear goals, whilst the Catalonians had a nightmare of a group stage in the Champions League, finishing 3rd, with Bayern Munich beating them 3-0 on the final matchday at the Nou Camp.
For the avid transfer people, this game appears massively ironic in the context of Frenkie de Jong, who is believed to have rejected a move to Old Trafford in the summer due to the fact he wanted to play Champions League football.
As most supporters will be aware, United do not have a very flattering record against Barcelona in European competition, with the Reds winning just three of the thirteen meetings, the last of which came in 2008 when Paul Scholes scored that famous goal to put his side into the Champions League final that year.
Thirteen years later, the personnel has changed and so too have the managers; Erik ten Hag against Xavi will be exciting to observe, with the likes of Lisandro Martinez set to be tested against Robert Lewandowski, and you cannot forget Cristiano Ronaldo who will face a familiar foe from his glistening career in Spain (if he stays beyond January, of course).
The two fixtures are set to be played on Thursday 16th February and Thursday 23rd February. Kick-off times and further key details are to be confirmed in due course.
Additional Europa League 2022/23 information
The full draw for the Europa League play-offs…
- Barcelona vs Manchester United
- Juventus vs Nantes
- Sporting Lisbon vs FC Midtjylland
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs Stade Rennais
- Ajax vs Union Berlin
- Bayer Leverkusen vs AS Monaco
- Sevilla vs PSV Eindhoven
- FC Salzburg vs Roma
The competition’s key dates…
- Play-off ties: 16th February and 23rd February (two legs)
- Last-16 draw: 24th February
- Last-16 ties: 9th March and 16th March (two legs)
- Quarter-final and semi-final draw: 17th March
- Quarter-final ties: 13th April and 20th April (two legs)
- Semi-final ties: 11th May and 18th May (two-legs)
- Final: 31st May