Manchester United face their biggest match this season with Atletico Madrid heading to Old Trafford on Tuesday evening in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg. The two teams drew 1-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano almost three weeks ago.
It was Anthony Elanga’s late strike which cancelled out João Félix’s opening goal early in the match. With away goals ruled out this will be a crucial match for United’s season, being that a top four finish this season is unlikely with Arsenal having three matches in hand and being a pint ahead now.
United will need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as the winners of the competition to play in it next season, unless Arsenal and Chelsea collapse in their final matches of the season, which would seem likely of Arsenal – but their current form is better than is has been.
Failing that, United will either play in the UEFA Europa League or the UEFA Europa Conference League, which would mean a much tougher 2022/23 season for them. United will need to win their remaining matches in the Premier League to enhance their chances of a top four finish.
Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles;
Sancho, Fernandes, Elanga;
Heaton, Henderson; Lindelöf, Bailly, Jones, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Matić; Rashford, Cavani
Savic, Giménez, Mandava;
Llorente, Koke, Herrera, De Paul, Lodi;
Lecomte, Christian, Kondogbia, Suárez, Correa, Felipe, Hermoso, Serrano, Moreno, Martin, González, Camara
United and Atletico have met three times 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 and three weeks ago.
United have scored just two goals, conceding five 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 is an important match for United.
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