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Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba and Varane start against Atalanta; three at the back again

MacFinder

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action this evening evening as they travel to Bergamo to face Atalanta. Fresh from their 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to start a winning run once again as they look to finalise their participation in the European competition this season ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season. United have been in poor form recently but managed to beat both Villarreal and Atalanta in the Champions League. Solskjaer’s side sit firmly at the top of the group, by two points and a win will keep that in place with two matches remaining.

Solskjaer faced a lot of pressure over the last week following the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford. He emerged from that pressure, picked nine of the 11 players who started against Liverpool, changing the formation and welcoming Raphael Varane back from injury. That led to United scoring three goals against Spurs, making the North London side look amateur and piling the pressure onto Nuno Espírito Santo instead. This seems to be the United way. It seems strange that Solskjaer is the manager under the most pressure when there are some that would kill to have the points he has in the Premier League right now!

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Bailly, Varane, Maguire;

Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Pogba, Shaw;

Fernandes;

Rashford, Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Dalot, Telles; Mata, Lingard, Fred, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Greenwood, Cavani, Sancho

Atalanta:

Musso;

De Roon, Demiral, Palomino;

Zappacosta, Freuler, Koopmeiners, Maehle;

Ilicic, Pasalic;

Zapata

Substitutes:

Rossi, Sportiello, Muriel, Pezzella, Malinovskiy, Djimsiti, Scalvini, Miranchuk, Lovato, Piccoli

United and Atalanta have met once in all competitions – in the UEFA Champions League almost a fortnight ago. The Red Devils were 2-0 down with goals from Mario Pašalić and Merit Demiral in just 30 minutes of the first half. United came out after the break a different side with goals from Marcus Rashford, and equaliser from Harry Maguire, and a winner from none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. United received three bookings in the match with Atalanta receiving four. With Atalanta in third place in the group, they will be seeking a win to stay in the competition this season, possibly avoiding the Europa League.

Amad Diallo is the only player to have played for both Manchester United and Atalanta. The 19-year-old started out as a youth player at Boca Barco before moving to Atalanta in 2015, coming though to the first team in 2019. Amad played five times for Atalanta, scoring one goal before his £37 million transfer to Old Trafford was completed in January 2021, despite being agreed in the summer of 2020. The Ivorian international has represented his country seven times; four times at U23 level and three times at senior level. He was also part of the squad for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. Fresh from injury, Amad could play a part against Atalanta.

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW