On paper, the favorite is simple.

Manchester United and Barcelona have both had great seasons, but Barcelona has completely dominated.

With the exception of the Copa del Rey loss to Real Madrid, Barcelona has had a near flawless season, and it will take a great effort by the Red Devils to beat the Catalans.

But being good on paper means little when the referee blows the opening whistle. Plenty of extremely talented teams fall short of expectations, and for as great as Barcelona is, that can certainly be their fate at Wembley Stadium.

That's why Manchester United will surprise a good portion of the 400 million fans who are expected to watch Saturday's Final.


Barcelona will have some trouble executing their trademark offense of completing multiple passes without a turnover. Some of it will have to do with nerves, some of it will have to do with Manchester United controlling possession themselves, which will throw Barcelona's rhythm off a bit.

Central defense will come up big for the Red Devils as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand will contain Lionel Messi from weaving through the center forward channel.

But Barcelona's defense should come through, as well. Versatile midfielder Andres Iniesta is an under-rated defender, and he will pressure the Manchester United wings to force poor crosses.

Both clubs will find it difficult to find scoring chances, and this match has all the elements of being very tightly contested.

The second half should open things up as Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson each substitute for offense.

The game winner will come from.. wait for it... 

Wayne Rooney.

The crystal ball says that Rooney will score in the last 10 minutes, as the Manchester United surprise odds-makers by beating Barcelona on the big stage of Wembley Stadium.

It's will be a storybook ending for Rooney and the Red Devils, while Barcelona, who will give a very hard-fought effort, will learn that scoring on Edwin van der Sar in the last game of his career is a lot tougher than it seems.