Barcelona has planned a specific tactic to stop Manchester United's Rashford

One of the most eagerly awaited games of the season is the Europa League round of 32 first leg between Barcelona and Manchester United on Thursday night

There will be a match between two of the largest clubs in the world, both of whom are in excellent form.

Both clubs appear to be returning to their best under relatively fresh leadership in Xavi Hernandez and Erik ten Hag, respectively, after several slump years. The game on Thursday looks to be an exciting tactical contest, one that Barca will be motivated to win.

They must contain Marcus Rashford for this to happen. The Englishman, who is currently the most productive player in Europe, has been in fantastic form since domestic football began after the World Cup. He has scored 13 goals in 15 matches.

To contain Rashford, Xavi plans to use a previous tactical strategy. In order to limit Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. in recent El Clasico games, Ronald Araujo has been played as a right defender rather than his usual position in the centre of defence. On Thursday, the Uruguayan is anticipated to take the same posture, hoping to have a similar effect.

Barcelona will need to play at their absolute best over the course of the two legs of the Europa League to advance, but they must keep Manchester United’s talisman quiet to give themselves the best opportunity of succeeding.

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