And just like that, after four years of quarter-final exits, Barcelona are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League once again. Even though it might have been shaky and more complicated than was predicted at first, the Catalans dispatched Manchester United and sealed the deal at the Camp Nou with a convincing 3-0 victory.

Lionel Messi made the difference and was once again Barcelona’s cheat code in completing this colossal achievement. But the visitors’ cameo appearance in the heart of Catalunya could’ve been much more than just that were it not for some individual blunders and missed chances that might haunt them, and their fans, for days to come.

Still, Barcelona are deservedly through as they were the better side across the two legs and they now await their next opponent in the chase for this illustrious trophy. But how exactly have they got past the Red Devils? This tactical analysis will try to answer that question.


Barcelona (4-3-3)

Starting XI: Ter Stegen – Sergi, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba – Rakitić, Busquets, Arthur – Messi, Suárez, Coutinho

Bench: Cillessen, Semedo, Umtiti, Vidal, Aleñá, Malcom, Dembélé

Coach: Ernesto Valverde

Manchester United (4-1-4-1)

Starting XI: De Gea – Jones, Lindelöf, Smalling, Young – McTominay, Fred, Pogba – Lingard, Rashford, Martial

Bench: Romero, Dalot, Andreas, Matić, Mata, Alexis, Lukaku

Coach: Ole Gunnar Solskjær

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