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UCL Betting Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Manchester United

As intriguing UEFA Champions League fixtures go, this Round of 16 clash between Atletico Madrid and Manchester United promises to be a fascinating tie.

cristiano ronaldo man utd 2021

As intriguing UEFA Champions League fixtures go, this Round of 16 clash between Atletico Madrid and Manchester United promises to be a fascinating tie. Both teams have performed beneath expectations in their domestic league and cup competitions, while the continental trophy offers either team their only chance of major silverware this season.

Considering everything at stake for these two historic teams, plus the unwavering passion of their supporters, both sides will be holding nothing back as they seek progress to the quarter finals. This is also the kind of game which also generates excitement amongst fans, eager to make predictions and wager on the outcome, given there are lots of possibilities to back.

Atletico Madrid are tipped to win the first leg, although Manchester United are favourites to go through after both legs are played, while there is a whole host of interesting betting markets available for the two matches to come. Asiabet has produced a comprehensive guide to the most popular football betting markets, explaining all the options available, such as outright winner and Scorecast, which is handy reading before this thrilling encounter.

Atletico Madrid

Despite being the reigning LaLiga champions, following an exceptional 2020-21 campaign which saw Atletico Madrid rise above the challenge of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the team in red and white has endured a difficult 2021-22 season so far. They were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad in January, while form in the league has been sketchy at best.

Much to the surprise of many football commentators and analysts, Atletico Madrid are in a defensive crisis, much to the frustration of their long-serving manager Diego Simeone, who celebrated his tenth anniversary at the helm in December. Last season Los Colchoneros conceded just 25 goals in 38 LaLiga games, yet already they have leaked 38 goals in 25 league matches this season.

Instead of challenging Real Madrid for the title this term, Atletico Madrid now find themselves embroiled in a fierce battle to finish inside the top four, while their form has been anything but consistent. February has been a mixed bag, starting with a stunning 4-2 defeat against Barcelona, followed by a thrilling 4-3 win against resurgent Getafe. Atletico were then beaten 0-1 at home by bottom of LaLiga side Levante, before a convincing 0-3 victory at Osasuna.

Perhaps the most important aspect of that win at Osasuna was keeping a clean sheet, as they have been atypically rare throughout the current campaign, with just 8 registered in all competitions. Indeed, only one clean sheet has been achieved in the UEFA Champions League this term, which came during a goalless draw in their opening group game against FC Porto last October.

Manchester United

Nowhere near the Premier League title race for the title and out of both domestic cup competitions, the UEFA Champions League could be the only saving grace for Manchester United, as the Red Devils struggle through a difficult campaign. Although they are far from favourites to win the competition, further European progress is demanded by the fans, who are looking for a little respite from the domestic woes.

Having finished the 2020-21 campaign in second position behind Manchester City, there was hope amongst the United faithful that at long last, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had started to steer this team in the right direction. After spending big in the summer on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, along with securing the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, hopes and expectations couldn’t have been higher for the 2021-22 season.

Nevertheless, after the false flag of a positive opening to the campaign, results turned for the worse and Solskjaer was eventually fired, which led to the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick. Famed as the ‘gegenpressing’ godfather who has inspired numerous other top managers, the German coach does appear to have steadied the ship, even if this has been a constant struggle.

Following all kinds of unsavoury media fallout of late and negative publicity surrounding certain players, on top of the disappointing performances, winning 2-4 away at Leeds United was a vital result for Manchester United. This will inevitably boost confidence and morale, ahead of the trip to Madrid and the challenging encounter with Atletico.

The Verdict

Given the defensive frailties of both teams, this first leg encounter almost seems like a guarantee of goals, which means it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on the 2.5+ and even 3.5+ markets. Picking a match winner is tight and odds are fairly narrow, therefore a high-scoring draw could be on the cards, offering better value odds. If you’re thinking of bet builder options, don’t forget to add both Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez as anytime scorers.

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