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Champions League Final Betting – Messi Shines In More European Glory For Barcelona

Posted by Todd Shale on 5/11/2011 4:06:38 PM
champions league final betting

Online betting odds had faith in Barca to win the Champions League final all season, and the Catalans can seal the legacy as the best team of this generation with a win against Manchester United in the final match in London. While United may have a bit more crowd support, Barca has the best player in the world, and he’ll be the difference at Wembley.

  • What: Soccer Betting
  • When: Saturday, May 28th, 2:45 PM ET
  • Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
  • Pick: Barcelona +108

Why Bet On Man United

United only needs a point from their last two matches in order to clinch their 19th Premier League title, and those opponents are Blackburn and Blackpool, so they should be able to focus solely on this massive match. The Red Devils have been in devastating form, and they’ve lost just once in their last 14 matches, which came at Arsenal, and they rolled over Schalke 04 4-1 in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal with essentially a second-string lineup. Wayne Rooney is their playmaker, playing behind either Javier Hernandez or Dimitar Berbatov, although Hernandez should get the start. Nani and Antonio Valencia can carve you up on the wings, while Ryan Giggs’ move into central midfield has helped stabilize that area of the team. One of the unsung heroes is Park-Ji Sung, who always seems to play a role in big games and he was fantastic in last week’s win over Chelsea that basically clinched the Premier League title. The Red Devils are stout at the back, marshaled by captain Nemanja Vidic and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who will retire after this match, and he has some added motivation: he was in goal for the Netherlands in the World Cup when they lost in extra time to Spain, which was largely created of Barca players.

Injuries are a major worry with United, as they are better when Rio Ferdinand can partner with Vidic in central defense, but Ferdinand has been in and out of the lineup, although he should be fine for this match. United also has to worry about their young players as Nani and fullback Rafael have been known to lose their cool. The biggest worry may come in central midfield, where they don’t have anyone to shield the back four. That job should fall to Michael Carrick or Darren Fletcher, but how effective will they be?

Why Bet On Barcelona

Barca should have La Liga sealed by the weekend as they need a point from their last three matches, so they can rest players prior to the Champions League final. Soccer betting players watched Barca’s tie with Spanish rivals Real Madrid degenerate into a farce with diving, hard fouls and words in the press between the managers, but it shouldn’t hide the fact that Barca was, by far, the better team. Their patient, probing style leaves teams frustrated, and when they make a mistake, Barca pounces ruthlessly. Lionel Messi is the best player in the world and when he has the ball at his feet, it takes the entire opposition to stop him. He’s aided by the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta from midfield, while David Villa and Pedro support him up front, and Pedro has emerged for both club and country as a 23-year-old forward. But you could argue that Xavi is the player to stop if you want to slow down Barca; no one in Europe can pick out a pass better than the Spanish maestro. Sergio Busquets is the steel who breaks up attacks, but he’s been prone to acting to try and draw fouls and cards, while former United player Gerard Pique has taken over the back four from injured captain Carlos Puyol, who should be back for this game. Goalkeeper Victor Valdes doesn’t get the attention he should behind his teammates, and he’s the No.2 keeper for Spain behind Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, but Valdes is an excellent shot-stopper.

Like United, Barca has a few injury concerns. Like Ferdinand, Puyol has been ailing all season, but similar to his United counterpart, he’ll play in this match. Barca is working fullback Eric Abidal back into game shape after he returned from surgery to remove a tumor from his liver, so it’s not sure that he’ll be ready in time. When it comes to tactics, Barca has to protect the wings, which is United’s best outlet to hit them on the counterattack. Their defense can also be breached if teams don’t allow them to get into their passing game, as Arsenal showed when they beat Barca 2-1 in London in the round of 16.

How The Game Will Play Out

Barca is the soccer betting favorite at Wembley at +108, while United is rated at +270, and a draw comes in at +210, and this is a rematch of the 2009 final in Rome, when Barca rolled to a comfortable 2-0 win. This is the sixth time that Wembley has been used for the Champions League final, and United beat Benfica there in 1968, while Barca was victorious in the last time this event was held in London, beating Sampdoria in 1992 (Barca manager Pep Guardiola was a player for the club at that time). United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was far more cautious from the outset of the 2009 defeat, but he should know at this time that Barca isn’t a team that likes to be harried, so the key is in central midfield, where Xavi, who tore them apart in 2009, can’t have time to check out his options.

This match could be decided by the winner of the Messi-Rooney matchup: both play in the No.10 role behind the strikers, and if they can’t perform, the strikers go starved. A slight edge goes to Messi, simply because there has been no one able to stop him yet, and United sorely misses a player like Owen Hargreaves, a midfield battler who was a key of their run to the 2008 Champions League. Take Barcelona in your sports betting picks.

Man United Barca Betting Pick: Barcelona +108

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