Barcelona vs. Man Utd Betting Tips: Frenkie De Jong features in blockbuster Europa League battle
Barcelona and Man Utd lock horns at the Nou Camp on Thursday night in the first-leg of the Europa League play-off round (BT Sport 2, 5.45pm).
JimmyThePunt has picked out two bets for the huge clash in Spain.
Barcelona vs Man Utd Odds
It was a fixture that graced the pinnacle of domestic football twice a little over a decade ago as Barcalona met Manchester United in the Champions League final in 2009 and 2011.
The two clubs have had to settle for spots in the Europa League this season, though their respective campaigns are looking a lot less bleak than they were in September.
Barcelona’s narrow victory over Villareal on Sunday moved them 11 points clear at the top of La Liga, which has since been reduced to eight points following Real Madrid's mid-week win.
In the Premier League, the Red Devils have all but forced their way into the title race after winning 70% of their last 10 games.
Erik ten Hag is not taking this competition lightly though. With Lisandro Martinez suspended for the trip to Camp Nou, the Dutch supremo rested Raphael Varane at Elland Road on Sunday.
The defender's inclusion in the XI is one of two enforced changes with Casemiro replacing the suspended Marcel Sabitzer in central midfield.
Barcelona vs Man Utd Tips
The inclusion of Casemiro sets us up for an intriguing battle in the middle of the park in Catalunya as the ex-Los Blancos maestro reacquaints himself with his old foe.
In the absence of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong has hit form at the perfect time. The Dutchman was a standout performer at the Estadio de la Cerámica and will be a worthy opponent of the Brazilian.
De Jong should dictate proceedings at the Camp Nou as Busquets would have.
The Dutchman has made the highest number of successful passes of any Barcelona player in La Liga this season (1,028), averaging 59.8 per game and hitting this line in five of his six league appearances at home.
Crucially though, up until Busquets recent injury, De Jong had not managed to usurp the Spaniard as the anchor in midfield. He had been operating alongside him in a narrow midfield diamond.
With Busquets unavailable here, he will fill that void of should dictate the tempo.
De Jong has hit the line on four occasions this season, surpassing a ton on two occasions, and I think the dynamic of this tie suits another high total of passes attempted.
Manchester United will not have it all their own way against the Spanish league leaders and with the return at Old Trafford to come, may be happy to take the result back to England.
Best of luck if you are backing any of these selections and please remember to gamble responsibly.