Manchester United will be travelling full of confidence, as they’re unbeaten in their last six games in the Premier League, and have recorded back-to-back wins over Brighton and Leeds United to build some serious momentum.
They’ll also be encouraged by reports out of Spain suggesting that Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez will be benched on Wednesday night. I am also hearing that their skipper Koke is a serious doubt due to injury.
Edinson Cavani is still a doubt for Manchester United, but there aren’t any fresh injury concerns for the Reds at the moment.
Paul Pogba and Raphaël Varane have recently returned from lay-offs, and both have been equally consistent in their recent performances, and it’s likely that these two players, alongside David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo, are the ones who hold the key to Manchester United advancing to the latter stages of the Champions League.
Manchester United will have to be at the top of their game and offensively clinical if they want to prize open the stubborn Atleti defence which won’t be easy to unlock.
Atletico Madrid will most probably play a 5-3-2 formation, making them compact in defence, and clinical on the counter attack with Angel Correa and Joao Felix partnering each other as a front two.
On the other hand, United will most likely adopt a 4-2-3-1 in defence, which switches to a 4-1-2-3 in offence, with a high probability of seeing the combination of Bruno Fernandes and Pogba as the two 8s, with the latter dropping deeper to help Scott McTominay in defensive situations.
Atleti are having a poor season, and I can see this being a tight and cagey game, but the visitors should have enough firepower to at least score and take a victory back to Old Trafford for the second-leg.
My prediction: Atletico Madrid 1 - 2 Manchester United
Predicted Manchester United Line-up - De Gea; Shaw, Maguire, Varane, Dalot; McTominay, Pogba, Bruno; Sancho, Rashford, Ronaldo