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Ratings: Ronaldo to the rescue after United made a tough job tougher in Bergamo; Varane injured…

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Atalanta in the fourth UEFA Champions League group stage match. Josip Iličić opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the match before Cristiano Ronaldo struck in added time at the end of the first half to level the match. Just eleven minutes into the second half, Duván Zapata doubled the home sides lead with United looking poor in the night – especially after losing Raphael Varane to injury once again. Ronaldo struck again in added time at the end of the second half to rescue a draw for United. This would then lead to pundits and the media stating that United should not be relying on Ronaldo.

After a mixed start, United started to find out how much Atalanta wanted the win in this match with their pressing but United’s back three seemed to avert the danger early on. However, in the 12th minute of the match, Josip Iličić broke the deadlock, assisted by Duván Zapata. United would have to come from behind again. Solskjaer’s side was lucky the damage was not doubled with the home side seeking to punish United, as they did a fortnight ago in the first meeting between the two sides. In the 31st minute, a penalty was called for after Eric Bailly blocked a shot but VAR gave nothing – and rightly so.

United suffered a setback in the 38th minute after Raphael Varane had to come off injured and Solskjaer brought Mason Greenwood on, reverting United to a defensive four with Marcus Rashford on the left flank, Greenwood on the right and Cristiano Ronaldo as the main striker. In the first minute of added time, Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo were on the attack through the middle with the former passing back for the latter to equalise, scoring his eighth goal in the eleven matches he has played since returning to the Old Trafford club. In the second half, United needed to be quicker with their passing, also cutting out their mistakes.

United conceded again 11 minutes into the second half with Zapata scoring and José Luis Palomino assisting. VAR was involved in the decision though, which seemed to take an age. The goal was given. United seemed to have reverted to the poor team they had been in September and October, and looked like passengers on conceding a second goal. Solskjaer made a double substitution with Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani replacing Paul Pogba and Rashford. Atalanta seemed to be up for this match, having lost late in the game two weeks ago. United just seemed to be unable to find the equaliser at this time.

United still found themselves trying to get back from behind with Atalanta still pushing to secure the win. Solskjaer made another double substitution in the 87th minute of the match with Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay. United started to find their feet after the second double substitution as Ronaldo found his ninth goal for United in 11 matches, equalising the score, assisted by Greenwood. It was by no means a vintage performance for United, but the score was no level and United’s fortunes in the Champions League have changed with that goal, sending United back to the top of the group.

Five minutes were played at the end of the second half, and United did not have the time to seek a winner in this match. The draw would have to do – it was better than a defeat. Would the negative so-called United supporters accept that though? But who cares about them. Win, lose or draw – United is the team for me. Ronaldo has scored five goals in the Champions League this season, which is a great result for the 36-year-old who was written off after that proposed move to Manchester City came to a halt after United got themselves involved. What a return to the Theatre of Dreams for the Portuguese legend.

United need to get themselves in order ahead of the Manchester City match this weekend. There is a chance that Varane may not make it for the weekend after the injury he sustained in the first half of the match. Victor Lindelof suffered an injury in training on Monday, so he will remain a doubt so it could well be that either Teden Mengi is brought into the first team or Phil Jones is able to make his Premier League return this weekend. Either way, the pressure will be on ahead of Saturday’s derby at the Theatre of Dreams and with City coming back from a 2-0 defeat to Crysta Palace, they will be looking to beat United once again at Old Trafford.

United face Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League season at Old Trafford on Saturday, which is another big match for Solskjaer’s side. The pressure will be immense going into the match and the media will be trying to find the weaknesses in the team ahead of the match, writing United off until the match is over. It is a shame is has to be like this as United are the team that everyone wants to read about, whether they are winning, drawing or losing. The international break cannot come quick enough, which will buy some time for some of the squad to rest, recover and find a way back to business.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made his first mistake of the season after seemingly misjudging Ilicic's effort on goal. It just slipped under him for the first goal. Zapata's goal was a good one, but perhaps De Gea could have come off the line to give him a better chance of making the save?

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3 Eric Bailly

Despite not playing for the club in a long time, he seemed to bail out the defence at times, which was good to see. When Varane came off, Maguire seemed to be well exposed. Bailly should start against City on Saturday.

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19 Raphael Varane

Started well for United and it is great to see him back but in the 38th minute of the match, he looked injured, sat on the pitch then walked off the pitch as he could not continue. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 38th minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Slow and off the pace. Didn't seem to be present for Ilicic's goal and wanted the linesman to bail him out. For Zapata's goal, he looked like a Sunday League defender who was still drunk from the night before. Needs dropping to teach him a lesson.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Regressed from the weekend. Seemed unable to deal with Zapata and needs to be more clinical in defence. This three at the back formation does not suit him against a team willing to fight for a win. He was good against Spurs as they were terrible.

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39 Scott McTominay

It was a shame that he hit the post in the fourth minute - although it was a deflected effort - but a goal is a goal. Booked in the second half and was replaced by Sancho in the 87th minute of the match.

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6 Paul Pogba

Did not seem like he wanted to be there tonight. Still suspended for two more Premier League matches. Pogba owed it to United to put in a world class performance, but he only has a handful of those at United - most a distant memory. Replaced by Matic in the 69th minute.

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23 Luke Shaw

I'm not sure he provided enough width as Ilicic seemed to deal with him well when he made himself available for Zapata's goal. Not sure the form he is in is worth the risk agains City. Needs improvement. The form he was in last season is no longer present at this time.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Did what he could against Atalanta. Got an assist for Ronaldo's equaliser, after a good run into the box ad a pass back to his compatriot. He was marked by De Roon in the second have and ended up being replaced by Van de Beek in the 87th minute.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed quiet in the first half playing alongside Ronaldo. Dropped off in the second half - which is understandable after his injury layoff. Replaced by Cavani in the 69th minute.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Scored twice for United, both in added time - one at the end of the first half, the other at the end of the second half. Both equalisers. Saved United's skin in the Champions League. He lacked a lot of service. Perhaps Van de Beek should have started instead of Pogba?

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Varane 38'. Played in a great pass to Ronaldo to level the game in added time in the second half. Hit the crossbar too, but was offside. Should start on Saturday.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Pogba 69'. Made little impact in the match, but United seemed to have improved slightly after Pogba came off.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Rashford 69'. The Uruguayan should have started but I understand why Solskjaer rested him as he will be needed at the top of his game on Saturday.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 87'. Should have started. Has great quality. Denied a goal by the keeper and seemed like he wanted to perform - perhaps to put himself in the shop window for January. It's a shame that he's treated to a few minutes here and there at United. He could have been a great signing, given the time.

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25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced McTominay 87'. Needs to be given more minutes. He won't shine if he's left on the bench and given cameo appearances.

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Goals: Josip Iličić 12′, Duván Zapata 56′; Cristiano Ronaldo 45+1′, 90+1′

Assists: Duván Zapata 12′, José Luis Palomino 56′; Bruno Fernandes 45+1′, Mason Greenwood 90+1′

Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Varane (Greenwood 38′), Maguire; Wan-Bissaka, McTominay (Sancho 87′), Pogba (Matic 69′), Shaw; Fernandes (Van de Beek 87′); Rashford (Cavani 69′), Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Dalot, Telles; Mata, Lingard, Fred; Martial

Bookings: Scott McTominay 51′

Written by John Walker

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

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

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Cavani and Ronaldo to lead the line, Fernandes supporting; Pogba, Matic and Van de Beek in the midfield?

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday 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!

Previous meetings with Atalanta and their connections with Manchester United.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League at the Stadio di Bergamo on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Fresh from a clean sheet against Spurs, which saw him not have to do much with the North London club failing to get a shot on target, David De Gea will have his confidence restored after United failed to keep a clean sheet in the last ten matches, last keeping one in the 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this season. United kept 26 clean sheets in all competitions last season, and more recently, it has been something that many thought would be few and far between this season, which so far is the case. United will be galvanised by the victory over Spurs and the fact their Champions League results are not that bad this season.

De Gea has grown in form this season and he will be seen as a player that has kept United in matches this season, that at the time they went on to win and could have lost if it was not for De Gea’s saves. United with him in the team are so much better with his experience and him being trusted to remain as the number one this season, despite Dean Henderson’s emergence last season, is probably the best thing that could have happened for the club. United will be shaken at their recent form, but getting back to winning ways in the Premier League has hopefully ended that poor form. United will be back, it is just a case of when.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence needs improvement. Solskjaer has those that he trusts and those that he does not trust. Now Raphael Varane is back from injury, the defence will be better equipped to deal with threats but improvement is still needed with players needing to step up. The defensive midfield situation is also an area that needs improvement which will also shield the defence and help them dominate matches in the midfield area. Against Atalanta, I would expect Aaron Wan-Bissaka to occupy the right-back position, as he is the better option here at this time. Diogo Dalot did not do himself justice in this position against West Ham United in the Carabao Cup.

At left-back, Alex Telles should step in and show what he can do as Luke Shaw has lost his best form and needs to find that again. This break could help him ahead of the Manchester City match, giving him a rest at the same time. In the central defensive positions, Varane and Harry Maguire should keep their partnership, which was good at stages this season. Varane is the better player ad he compliments Maguire, who is not a bad player but has suffered a loss in form after his calf injury earlier this season. United will need to progress this season and on Saturday that long road seems to have started.

Midfield Three: Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

United need to overhaul the midfield this season. Relying on Scott McTominay and Fred all the time is not looking very good with the duo unable to control the midfield. Having Donny van de Beek on the bench all of the time is not helping either. It looks like United are making him fail with Solskjaer not trusting him at all, which is not a good luck considering he allowed the purchase of him to go through. Paul Pogba is available for this match, having to sit out three matches in the Premier League because of his red card against Liverpool, which was a pretty poor display from the player – who looked happy coming off the pitch.

Pogba can bring something for United this season and he will need the good performances to seek a one as he becomes a free agent in the summer, unless United can get rid of him in January, which seems unlikely. Making him play is what is needed and he should be professional about it. Many, including myself, see him as the problem. He might well be. Van de Beek should be playing, as he has a lot to give and could be an answer to the midfield this season. Nemanja Matic could provide the defensive stability in the midfield, giving way for Pogba and Van de Beek to link the defence to the attack and help United achieve a victory.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has four goals and seven assists to his name this season, matching Pogba’s number of assists that came in the first few matches of the season with nothing since. In the past few weeks, he has seemed to be a player that has been unable to progress with United in a stagnant manner at times, especially with their inability to win a Premier League match since the victory over West Ham United back in September. At least that has changed now with he victory over Spurs. Fernandes played a good game and his assist for the opening goal of the match, which was scored by Cristiano Ronaldo showed his ability well.

Having Fernandes play in behind the strikers is good for United as he will attach the midfield to the attack, with three midfielders helping to cut down the available space in that area, which will close down the space Atalanta will be able to play in. Having this moving forward is what United need to progress, which is what those who seem to be against Solskjaer are suggesting has not happened at all under the Norwegian. It’s like they think United have not achieved anything just because a trophy has not been won. Deadwood has been cleared out, better players have signed and United are working towards winning tings again. It can’t be ignored.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo

Playing with two forwards has been something that United have been able to do this season with a wealth of attacking talent at the club. United have two of the best forwards in world football in the squad this season and playing them is the best outcome at this stage of the season. That happened against Spurs and despite a period of the match which saw United scared to apply themselves, it started to work well with both scoring goals in the 3-0 victory and Cristiano Ronaldo also getting an assist. He complements Edinson Cavani and the Uruguayan compliments him. It is a no brainer for United to use both moving forward.

Ronaldo is a goalscorer, that has been proven by his seven goals in 11 appearances for United since his return to the Theatre of Dreams, scoring in each of the three Champions League matches played so far this season. Cavani has scored his first goal this season, in seven appearances but his performance against Spurs has led to him being an undroppable player as despite him and Ronaldo being similar, his work rate leads to his getting more out for United with Ronaldo a player who will be in the right areas to score and assist the goals. Cavani will get his fair share of goals too, but he will work much harder to get them. It is a good mix for United.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Fred, Scott McTominay; Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

United will have up to five substitutions in the Champions League and Solskjaer should be utilising them to keep his squad fresh, especially with Manchester City on the horizon. It is crucial that the squad rotation continues to happen with United playing so many matches in a short period of time, but with the final international break of the season also on the horizon, some players will get a fortnight’s rest ahead of the busy Festive period, which will soon be upon us. Dean Henderson will keep his place on the bench, as at this time, he is not performing better than De Gea, who is the best goalkeeper in form at this stage of the season.

In defence, there should be some different options available with Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw on the bench and depending on how the match plays out, they could offer something different if needed. In the midfield, Juan mata, Jesse Lingard, Fred and Scott McTominay could offer a different type of game play if it does not go to plan for United, which is not something that is guaranteed at this time. In attack, providing he is fit enough to play a part, Anthony Martial could be back in the squad with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood also available. If Martial is not available, Anthony Elanga could be called upon instead.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Three at the back to solve problems against Atalanta? Solskjaer needs another win to quell the pressure

Atalanta -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Stadio di Bergamo, Bergamo

Tuesday 2 November 2021, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Slavko Vinčić Assistants: Tomaž Klančnik, Andraž Kovačič

Fourth Official: Matej Jug

VAR: Bastian Dankert Assistant VAR: Christian Dingert

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday 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 – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLWLDW

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 W, Liverpool 5-0 L, Atalanta 3-2 W, Leicester City 4-2 L, Everton 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-1 W

Goals: 7 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles

Assists: 7 – Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, 2 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane

Atalanta – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWDLWL

Lazio 2-2 D, Sampdoria 3-1 W, Udinese 1-1 D, Manchester United 3-2 L, Empoli 4-1 W, AC Milan 3-2 L

Goals: 6 – Duvan Zapata, 3 – Josip Ilicic, 2 – Own Goal, Robin Gosens, Ruslan Malinovsky, Mario Pasalic, 1 – Merih Demiral, Martin de Roon, Remo Freuler, Luis Muriel, Matteo Pessina, Roberto Piccoli, Rafael Toloi, Davide Zappacosta

Assists: 4 – Mario Pasalic, Duvan Zapata, 2 – Josip Ilicic, Aleksei Miranchuk, Davide Zappacosta, 1 – Merih Demiral, Teun Koopmeiners, Matteo Lovato, Ruslan Malinovsky, Luis Muriel

Previous meetings with Tottenham Hotspur and their connections with Manchester United.

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.

Team News: Anthony Martial could miss the Atalanta match, which is not a problem as United’s attacking line has many capable players this season; Atalanta could have five players missing from their squad.

Anthony Martial (Fitness) is the only player that could miss the Champions League clash with Atalanta on Tuesday. He currently has a 25% chance of making that game, so the next day or so will decide whether he is fit enough to take up a place in the travelling squad. Paul Pogba is suspended for two more Premier League matches; missing Manchester City and Watford, but is eligible to play in the Champions League, if Solskjaer picks him. United seem to be in a better position going into this match with Raphael Varane back in the squad and the likes of Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford much fitter.

Robin Gosens (Hamstring), Hans Hateboer (Foot), Berat Djimsiti (Fractured Arm), Rafael Tolói (Muscular) and Matteo Pessina (Calf) all look set to be absent for the clash with United in the Champions League at the Stadio di Bergamo on Tuesday evening. It could be more of the same for the Italian side, who were severely weakened against United a fortnight ago, losing players due to injury during the match. United will find themselves in much better form ahead of this match, winning a Premier League match away to Spurs ahead of this clash, so confidence will be much higher added to their win over Atalanta at the Theatre of Dreams.

Predicted Starting XI: 4-3-1-2 formation could see United play to their strengths, as long as Solskjaer is able to give Van de Beek a chance in the team, instead of seeing him sit on the bench match after match.

Solskjaer changed his formation and tactics for the 3-0 victory over Spurs and despite using a three at the back formation a handful of times before, it has never been something he has adhered to moving forward. There are people on Twitter moaning as players at the club will be closed out if this became permanent, but it was just a tweak in one match so far, could be used in another but moving forward, will not be the United way – at least that is what I hope. Changing formations and tactics should be used regularly, ensuring that United do not become too predictable against their opposition.

Against Atalanta, with some confidence restored and a clean sheet having been won against Spurs, Solskjaer should revert to a twist of a 4-3-3 formation. David De Gea will keep his place in goal, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire also keeping their places, with Alex Telles coming in for Luke Shaw in this match. The midfield should consist of a three-man midfield with Nemanja Matic in the defensive area and both Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba linking up the defence with the attack, also covering the wide areas moving forward. Bruno Fernandes should play in behind the strikers; Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo

Match Prediction: This will not be a walk in the park for United, as the first match between these two sides showed. But United not have a confidence boost with a Premier League victory behind them.

This will be a tough match for United – nothing like the match against Spurs as Atalanta will play attacking football and United will need to be at their best to gain a clean sheet from this match. In the Old Trafford match, Unite found themselves 2-0 down at halftime, which showed some dire facts for the squad. However, after the break, a different United emerged and push to get a goal back, then the equaliser, then the winner. United will need to ensure they push their opposition and aim to get the better of them from the offset. Saying that, a match lasts 90 minutes and it matters who is ahead at the end. This looks set to be an entertaining match.

Solskjaer will still have pressure on him from the fans who want him gone, who might not be real fans of the club at all. The media will also cause some problems for him, as this is Manchester United, the team that everyone wants to read about and the team then enables journalists to make a living out of their job. As has been proven over the last week, not everything, if anything, the media puts out has facts applied to it. These people are able to fabricate the slightest thing and get away with it time and time again. With Solskjaer hitting out at Samuel Buckhurst after the Spurs match, perhaps he will become tougher with the media?

Atalanta 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW