Manchester United are set to host Atalanta in the Champions League Group F clash at Old Trafford. The home side have been struggling for form as of late while the visitors arrive after a string of mixed results. Can Manchester United regain their form against Atalanta?
Manchester United suffered another league defeat to Leicester City at the weekend. They dropped down to sixth place in the Premier League with four wins, two draws and two losses from their opening eight games. In addition, they sit only third in Group F in the Champions League, while their upcoming opponents are top of the group and arrive after an impressive win in the Serie A. After a strong start to the season, Manchester United have picked up just one point from their last three Premier League games. With pressure mounting on Solskjaer, they would be looking to bounce back at home against Atalanta. Varane, Diallo and Martial are all set to miss out on the clash because of injuries while Cavani and Fred have made their return after fulfilling their international duties. Wan-Bissaka will be available for the match.
Manchester United narrowly edged out their last Champions League fixture against Villareal. They were dominated by the away side in terms of multiple attacking metrics. Although United took fewer shots than their opponents they were more accurate with their shots. Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the final minutes of the game to rescue his side much needed three points.
Manchester United dominated in terms of the xG in both halves. Although the xG timeline tells a different story, as Villareal came out on top in both halves.
Atalanta began their campaign in the Champions League strongly, but their Serie A form has been mixed. They have finished third in their previous three seasons in Serie A. Atalanta struggled at the start of the season, losing two of their first seven matches and narrowly edging just three times against teams placed near the bottom. In their previous match in Serie A, they won in an impressive manner at Empoli via two goals from Ilicic, an own goal and a strike from Zapata. They are placed sixth in Serie A with fourteen points. In their Champions League group, Atalanta are at the top with one win and one draw. A win at Old Trafford would put Gasperini’s men in a comfortable position for the next round of group games. Gosens and Hateboer will remain unavailable through injuries. Similarly, Pessina and Djimsiti are also set to miss out on the clash. Zappacosta and Maehle should probably start at the wing-back postions.
In their previous Champions League encounter, Atalanta dominated most of the attacking metrics. Pessina led the xG chart in the match while Toloi made sixteen passes to the final third. Demiral won the highest aerial duels. In addition, Atalanta’s xG of 2.12 surpassed that of their opponents’, 0.42.
Atalanta did not shy away from taking shots in their previous match. They took most of their shots from inside the opposition box. Their only goal was scored from inside the opposition penalty area.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) – De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.
Atalanta (3-4-2-1)- Musso; Palomino, Demiral, Toloi; Zappacosta, Freuler, De Roon, Maehle; Malinovskyi, Ilicic; Zapata.
Manchester United could have a tough time against Atalanta. United need this victory desperately to ease some pressure off Solskjaer. A draw is a likely scenario for this one.