Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday evening as they travel to face Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid in the round of 16 first leg match. United will be seeking to reach the quarter finals this season.
Gone are the away goals in the competition this season, so there will be no main advantage with the second leg tie being played at Old Trafford, so 180 minutes of football should decide the winner of this tie, although extra time and penalties could be a decider, if needed.
Ralf Rangnick’s side kept their form against Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday, scoring two goals before the end of the first half, but collapsing in the opening ten minutes of the second half, before finding the lead again, then a fourth goal.
United will need to show this same mentality against Atletico Madrid to earn their place in the draw for the quarter final stage of the competition, which is not going to be an easy feat. This is United’s only chance for silverware this season and it could be a slim chance at that.
Lindelof, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;
Fernandes, Fred, Pogba;
Rashford, Ronaldo, Sancho
Heaton, Henderson; Bailly, Jones, Dalot, Telles, Wan-Bissaka; Mata, Lingard, Matic, Hannibal; Elanga
Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Savic, Reinildo;
Llorente, Herrera, Kondogbia, Lodi;
Lecomte, Christian, De Paul, Griezmann, Suarez, Lemar, Felipe, Hermoso, Serrano
United and Atletico have met twice in European competition. United have failed to beat their Spanish opposition in those matches, losing 3-0 in the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup second round first leg in Madrid, drawing 1-1 in the second leg at Old Trafford.
United have scored just one goal, conceding four and keeping no clean sheets. Atletico have scored four goals, conceded one, keeping one clean sheet. That was back in 1991 and it is a surprise that the two teams had not met since then. This will be David De Gea’s first trip to his former club.
Quinton Fortune, Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao and David De Gea are the only four players to have played for both United and Atletico. Just two of those players were transfers between the two clubs, the others had transferred to/from United and Atletico from elsewhere.
In the summer of 1999, Fortune signed for United from Atletico for £1.5 million. In the summer of 2011, De Gea signed for United for £18.9 million. Forlan played for United from 2002-04, signing for Atletico from 2007-11. Falcao played for Atletico from 2011-13 and United from 2014-15.
Written by John Walker