Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid predictions and match preview for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Los Rojiblancos visit England.
|Tuesday 15th March 2022
|20:00 (local time)
|UEFA Champions League Last 16, 2nd Leg
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid Preview
The Theatre of Dreams is set to host a European classic this week as reigning LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. The tie couldn’t be more in the balance after the sides drew 1-1 in the Spanish capital three weeks ago.
After a convincing win at the Benito Villamarin against top four rival Real Betis on Matchday 27, Atletico failed to carry their spark into their match against Cadiz on Friday night. Los Colchoneros put on a lacklustre display against relegation battlers Cadiz, but a goal from summer signing Rodrigo De Paul sealed a 2-1 victory after a fantastic combination down the right-hand side between Marcos Llorente, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa.
Although Atletico have been conceding goals for fun this season in un-Simeone like fashion, Los Roji-blancos have been able to form a stronger defensive unit since the first leg of this tie, only conceding two goals in the three fixtures they have taken part in since.
Diego Simeone’s men will be looking for a strong run in Europe to distract from domestic struggles and the Argentinian’s track record in European competitions could prove vital. In the past decade, Atletico have made two Champions League finals, won the Europa League twice, won two UEFA Supercups and were able to knock out English opposition Liverpool in the UCL round of 16 two seasons ago when all odds were stacked against them.
Manchester United also enter this tie after a shaky victory in their domestic league, with Ralf Rangnick’s side edging a 3-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial fixture in terms of the fight for top four in the Premier League. A mesmerising hat-trick from the age-defying Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to seal the three points and will give the Portuguese confidence ahead of a tie against one of his favourite opponents, Atletico Madrid.
Many have found it difficult to explain what has gone wrong at the club this season, as finishing second in the table last campaign coupled with the star summer signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane looked to set United up for a title race but has instead seen them drop down to only a fight for top four. The board were forced to sack club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in late November, but Ralf Rangnick has failed to show any true influence on the squad since taking over.
United have played in this competition five times since Sir Alex Ferguson left, with their strongest runs ending in the quarterfinals in 2013-14 and 2018-19 respectively. The Red Devils will be hoping to spring back to the European glory of their past with an impressive run in Europe this time around.
Head to Head
- Last 3 Competitive Meetings: 1 Atletico Win, 2 Draws
- Manchester United have never beaten Atletico.
- The sides met in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup Winners Cup with Atletico advancing 4-1 on aggregate.
- The sides drew 1-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago.
Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw should return to the Manchester United squad after missing out on the match against Tottenham last weekend through illness and a positive Covid-19 test respectively. Midfielder Scott McTominay could miss out after being out of the squad against Tottenham with a calf issue.
Diego Simeone will be without Yannick Carrasco through suspension whilst Thomas Lemar, Matheus Cunha, Daniel Wass and Sime Vrsaljko are all out through injury. Mario Hermoso, Jose Maria Gimenez and Geoffrey Kondogbia have travelled to Manchester, although it is to be seen if Simeone will risk the trio as they have only just came back from injuries in the past week. Captain Koke should return to the starting line-up after missing the first leg.
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid Predictions
Score Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Atletico Madrid (Aggregate: 2-3)
This tie is extremely close to call and will heavily rely on which version of each side shows up. Although both teams have underperformed this campaign, Diego Simeone’s side have improved in recent weeks whereas a recent 4-1 derby loss against Manchester City shows United are vulnerable and their star players are not always up for the big occasions. Atletico were dominant for most of the first leg and keeping concentration for ninety minutes at Old Trafford could see them advance to the quarterfinals.
This tie could be settled by Portuguese stars, as Joao Felix has expressed his finest form since joining Atletico in recent weeks and Cristiano Ronaldo has never been knocked out of this competition by Atletico, with the player scoring hat-tricks past Simeone’s side in 2016-17 and 2018-19 with both Real Madrid and Juventus respectively.
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