The game is finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Bernabeu, when Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener with a towering header and the Portuguese attacker will face United at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving in 2009.
Jose Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference on Monday that this looks like it should be a final, not a last 16 match, and it’s difficult to argue with him. But the winners of this tie will go through to the quarter finals and no doubt be among the favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley in May.
United head into the game in excellent form and maintained their 12-point lead over Manchester City this weekend with a comfortable 4-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford. However, Madrid are also in fine form and beat Barcelona for the second time in a week with a 2-1 win over their rivals at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be without Phil Jones for the game after the versatile defender was ruled out with an ankle injury picked up against Reading two weeks ago, so Tom Cleverly is expected to play alongside Michael Carrick in midfield.
Jonny Evans is also carrying a knock but trained on his own on Monday and should be passed fit to play, while Rio Ferdinand is also expected to feature despite missing Saturday’s win over Norwich through illness.
Shinji Kagawa may have played his way into Ferguson’s starting eleven after his superb hat-trick at the weekend. Ryan Giggs may be the man to miss out but Fergie has confirmed he’ll feature at some point to earn his 1000th career appearance.
Jose Mourinho has captain Iker Casillas back in his squad for the first time in six weeks but the Spaniard is still unlikely to start with just two days training under his belt, so Diego Lopez is expected to continue in goal.
Brazilian full-back Marcelo is in contention to return but Fabio Coentrao is likely to retain his place while the likes of Alvaro Arbeloa, Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo are all expected to return to the starting line-up after being rested at the weekend.
History tells us this game produces goals. In the two previous encounters between these two sides at Old Trafford there has been an incredible 12 goals scored. There is virtually no chance this game is going to end 0-0, and it may simply come down to who takes their chances on the night. I think United have the better defence and if RVP and Rooney are on form I can see United edging it tonight. Man Utd 2-1 Real Madrid
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