Man Utd v Atletico Madrid – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Man Utd host Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League round of 16-second leg on Tuesday. The first match three weeks ago saw Atletico largely dominate proceedings before a second-half Anthony Elanga goal proved enough to draw 1-1. The Red Devils picked up a crucial weekend victory thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick whilst Atleti made it four La Liga wins in a row against Cadiz.

Man Utd Form

After somewhat burgling a 1-1 first-leg draw against Atletico Madrid, Man Utd should come into this one will reasonable confidence. A fine Ronaldo hattrick brought a 3-2 home win against Tottenham in their last match as Ralf Rangnick continues to deliver relatively good league results – just two losses in 15 matches.

However, that win against Spurs made it just three wins in nine in all competitions with some iffy cup results and performances. The side were knocked out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough but bounced back to beat Brighton 2-0 and Leeds 4-2. The Atletico draw and non-performance followed before the home stalemate against Watford and a 4-1 humiliation at Man City.

Man Utd Team News

Rangnick has a few key calls, not least whether to recall Luke Shaw at left-back after only a couple of days of training after COVID-19. Scott McTominay is doubtful but should return and would replace Nemanja Matic in the engine room. Bruno Fernandes missed the Spurs win with illness and is touch-and-go for this one, with a bench role more likely.

Ronaldo will lead the line with Edinson Cavani on the bench. Anthony Elanga will probably replace the out-of-form Marcus Rashford down the right having scored in Spain.

Man Utd Motivation

This is a huge match, possibly the biggest since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Progress to the quarter-finals would be a big deal for the club after recent European struggles.

Rangnick has been adaptable of late, adding Cavani as an extra striker to chase a win against Spurs before going to a back five after scoring. He could follow the same pattern: add defensive players if leading and attackers if trailing.

Atletico Form

Atleti’s season looked on the verge of disaster going into the first leg. They had lost eight of 15 matches in all competitions and sat fifth in La Liga as holders of the title. Their dominant, confident first leg display seems to have brought confidence back.

They had won 3-0 at Osasuna (after a 1-0 home loss to Levante prior to that) coming into the first leg. In the three weeks since the 1-1, they have beaten Celta Vigo 2-0 at home, won 3-1 at top-four rivals Real Betis, and beaten Cadiz 2-1. Joao Felix has five goals in five matches and has been a big factor in form turning around.

Atletico Team News

Diego Simeone saw another injury blow strike his side on Friday as a top center-back Jose Maria Gimenez damaged his calf against Cadiz. He is ruled out of this clash. As many as seven other players could also miss this match. Versatile winger Yannick Carrasco is out suspended.

Thomas Lemar could miss out in midfield and right-back Sime Vrsaljko and Daniel Wass are injured. Mario Hermoso is set to be absent in defence and Matheus Cunha upfront. Geoffrey Kondogbia was excellent in the first leg but is also injured. Koke and Rodrigo De Paul missed the first leg but both will start. It could be a makeshift back three of Steven Savic, Felipe, and Reinaldo.

Atletico Motivation

Despite their injuries, confidence is high again and Atletico will believe they can win this match. They knocked Liverpool out at Anfield not that long ago and will relish all the pressure being on Man Utd.

It’s expected to be a back three to start with two strikers. Luis Suarez (or Antoine Griezmann) and Angel Correa will be on the subs bench, giving real options to attack in order to chase a result.

Key Stats

Man Utd have won 3 of their last 9 matches in all comps

Man Utd have 7 home matches unbeaten (W4, D3)

United have seen both teams scoring in their last 5 home CL matches

Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 36 apps vs Atletico Madrid

Atletico have won 4 of their last 5 matches (D1)

Atleti have won 3 of their last 5 away CL matches

Atletico have 1 clean sheet in their last 11 away CL matches

Verdict

This should be a fascinating match between two somewhat dysfunctional sides this season. Atleti are much better on their travels in the Champions League and could have enough to force extra time even with their injury crisis.

Best Bet: Both teams to score at 1.83
Value Bet: Draw (90 minutes) at 3.15
Safe multiplier leg: Man Utd/draw double chance + under 3.5 goals at 1.68
Correct Score Tip: Man Utd 1-1 Atletico Madrid at 6.50

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Author: editor

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