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Opta Analyst’s supercomputer predicts Man United will beat FC Barcelona

by Red Billy

Manchester United meet Barcelona in the second leg of the Europa League knockout round this evening at Old Trafford with everything to play for.

The first leg ended in a 2-2 draw and with away goals no longer counting in UEFA competitions, whoever wins the match will progress to the round of 16.

According to Opta Analyst’s supercomputer, that will be United.

“Barcelona have only won once in five attempts at Old Trafford. The supercomputer doesn’t fancy them to win this one either,” the stats specialists say.

“It gives them a 29.4% chance of victory on Thursday. Erik ten Hag was delighted with his team’s performance in the first leg, and he’ll be confident of beating Xavi’s side on their own turf.

“As confident as the supercomputer? It gives United a 44.1% chance of winning this one.”

This is a fantastic compliment to United, given that it is based on 90 minutes against a team that is arguably considered to be the best in the world right now.

The supercomputer predicted the chances of a draw being 26.5%. The match would be decided on extra time and penalties if this were the case, increasing the probability of United progressing even further.

After the first leg in Spain, United boss Erik ten Hag complained that his team would have won the game with more clinical finishing.

That is borne out by Opta Analyst’s stats, which show that despite the Blaugrana having enjoyed 61% of the possession, the two sides had an identical number of shots on goal (18).

However, Barça managed eight on target to United’s five, and despite a vastly superior expected goals stat (2.2 vs 1), United could not make those chances count.

If United are able to create as many chances from just one third of the possession, then it bodes well for the home tie, when they should expect to be on the ball more and bury their chances with the home crowd spurring them on.

Another advantage over the first leg is that United will have a stronger squad, with Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer returning after suspension and Scott McTominay, who played 30 minutes against Leicester on Sunday, Harry Maguire and Antony all available after injury.

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