Manchester United have enjoyed a fruitful pre-season tour of the United States so far and there were certainly a lot of positives from their recent 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
While United have impressed in their tour of the US, the real test of the Red Devils’ mettle is set to arrive on Saturday when they square off against the mighty Barcelona.
Although the match is only a friendly, both teams will surely be desperate to make an impression during the day and the clash should be a special occasion for the fans inside the capacity Levis Stadium.
David De Gea has missed the first two games of pre-season for United due to a back injury and while there has been speculation that the goalkeeper has not been involved because of his impending move to Real Madrid, manager Louis van Gaal has surprisingly hinted that the Spaniard could well feature in the clash against Barcelona.
If indeed De Gea misses out once again, Sam Johnstone is expected to continue in goal for the Red Devils as even Anders Lindegaard is currently out with injury.
Louis van Gaal has been experimenting with two sets of teams during United’s pre-season so far but he would most certainly want to earn a good result against his former side this Saturday and as a result, the Dutchman is likely to go with his strongest backline.
Luke Shaw has been impressive so far in the US and looks set to retain the left back position while Matteo Darmian will continue at right back despite the return of Antonio Valencia from injury.
The duo of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling seem to be the first choice centre back pairing for van Gaal and the English combination will surely have their hands full, playing against the star studded Barcelona attack.
Throughout the course of the game, one should expect the likes of Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair and Daley Blind to feature as well.
Star signing Bastian Schweinsteiger has been ruled out of the clash due to a minor injury and while Angel Di Maria has returned back to link up with the squad following his participation in the Copa America, the winger is unlikely to be featuring on the day.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick look the most likely central midfield combination while Juan Mata and Memphis Depay also seem to be certain starters.
It will be interesting to see whether young Andreas Pereira gets a chance start to on the day. The Brazilian has arguably been the best player for United during pre-season and if indeed he gets a start, it would be more than deserved.
The likes of Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard remain other options for van Gaal to choose from.
Wayne Rooney currently does not have too many players to compete with for the attacking spot on the team following the departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, and the England international is certain to lead the line for United against Barcelona.
James Wilson will feature is some capacity as well and the match will surely be a huge occasion for the young man.