Champions League 2021/22: Atletico Madrid vs Man Utd ~ Wed 23rd Feb 8pm KO

jsp

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Bit like Utd our opponents have been a bit of a shambles this season after winning La Liga last season they've massively fallen off the pace this season and currently sit outside the top 4 although they are level on points with Barcelona on 42 points from 25 games. Utd for comparison are on 46 from 26 games so pretty similar league records this season.

Atletico have spent fortunes on players in recent seasons but they really do struggle to fit all the big name signings into a team that is balanced. Joao Felix, Lemar, Saurez and Griezmann have all been hit and miss for them this season with the usually reliable Oblak in goal also making a lot of mistakes. Both teams concede a comedy amount of goals 34 each in the league so you do expect there to be goals in this one.

No more away goals in knockout matches so will be interesting to see how each team plays it will the first leg be more open or more cautious.

Team news I guess we have to assume everyone came through yesterday ok and it'll just be a cause of waiting for news on Cavani is he fit enough to be involved. Don't think we've got anyone carrying a suspension into the first game of the knockouts but haven't checked.

Will he try to fit both Pogba and Fernandes into his starting midfield 3? Very dangerous against a Spanish side who will be good at keeping the ball as they all are. I wonder if we might see Fernandes pushed to the right of the attacking 3 to get Fred into the midfield just to give us a bit more discipline in terms of our shape. You would expect Varane to come back into the back 4 with Dalot which is harsh on Lindelof who I thought played well at Leeds but he is "Champions League Varane" so if he's fully fit he has to play. The positive I guess is we now have players who are in form again who are nailing down starting spots making it hard for Rangnick to drop them.

DDG

Dalot Varane Maguire Shaw

Fred McT Pogba

Fernandes Ronaldo Sancho

Ronaldo is very much the Atletico Madrid boogeyman he's basically ruined the lives of their fans for over a decade so he'll be bang up for what he believes is his stage and to be fair it's on this stage where he's really delivered for us so far. Equally his presence will bring an extra edge to the occassion for their fans.

My big fear is the mental side of things we know Atletico are the masters of all the dark arts and dirty tricks can Utd handle the pressure they will put on them and not react to it we've seen what happens on bad days with these lads it's all arms swining and crying. You've got to be smart in European matches and not fall for the dirty tricks as the refs will flash the yellow cards quickly and they ref the game to a much higher standard in terms of fouls/handball etc you need to be smart and focused.
 

Justin Cider

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Be tempted to start Henderson in goal for this as every time, or it seems so, when De Gea goes back to Spain to show them how much he's developed in England he drops clanger after clanger, then factor in it's his former club as well, if he has a nightmare we could be out after the first leg.

Be tempted to go 3-5-2 for the first leg as well:

Henderson
Lindelof Varane Maguire
Dalot Bruno Matic Pogba Telles
Ronaldo Cavani

Think whatever team Ralf picks we won't get beat on Wednesday, be probably a high-scoring draw, then the home crowd advantage in the second leg without the worry of the away goals rule being decisive.
 

IDFD

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Looking forward to tonight.

De Gea

Dalot Varane Maguire Shaw

Fred McT

Sancho Bruno Pogba

Ronaldo
 

SuperRash

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If we were playing wing backs then it would be baffling for Sancho to be put there.
 

jsp

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From the warm up BT seem pretty sure it’s Lindelof at RB In a back 4.

An odd one given we have 2 right backs on the bench maybe neither is fully fit or Ralf has a cunning plan.
 

jsp

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1-0 Felix

Utd have started very badly not switched on at all as usual Utd crack under pressure.
 

jsp

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Great cross and header but yeah Maguire caught a little flat footed but got to give a lot of credit to the opponent for that one.

just had a spell of knocking it around but not going anywhere then it seems like Atletico can take out our entire midfield with a pass.

No need to panic and chase the game just treat it like it’s still 0-0 try and find a goal back
 

SuperRash

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Cracking goal from Felix. That Lodi guy can whip in a peach of a cross!

We haven’t really got going and none of our attacking players have really got into the game. Not really sure what we can do to change things in truth. You look to the bench and beyond Elanga, you couldn’t push a case for any of the other guys to really come on and make a difference.
 

boothstownred

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Pretty woeful. The big players you want to stand up have been awful. Bruno, Pogba. Varane all been terrible.
 

jsp

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I’d switch to a back 3 get Rashford off for Dalot.

Try and get the ball in wide areas and send in a few crosses.
 

SuperRash

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Yeah the big players really need to step up in the second half - take some ownership of the game. At the moment Atletico are running the show and will be happy to see this out at 1-0.
 

jsp

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Jesus Bruno sort your passing out.

Nice little move then he boots it into row Z on a cross when we’ve actually got a few forward.

Ronaldo clearly telling De Gea play it long stop passing short every time.
 

jsp

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Lindelof, Pogba & Shaw OFF
AWB, Matic & Telles ON

How Bruno and Rashford have stayed on is beyond me.
 

SuperRash

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Not an easy place to go to so a point is a great result.

Yeah the performance wasn’t great but meh in the grand scheme De Gea didn’t have to do much, so Atletico weren’t threatening much either.
 

IDFD

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They hit the bar twice. We escaped today. Thought Ragnicks starting line up choice was very poor.

Lindelof at RB was a shocker.
 

SuperRash

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They did hit the bar twice but beyond that not a whole lot else. I don’t think we really have any worries about them from an attacking sense. We were just very passive, Liverpool showed that if you get at them they can crack.
 

IDFD

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Liverpool were losing 2-1 until Atletico went down to 10.

I don't think we need to be worried about them I think we need to play two full backs and take the game to them.
 

SuperRash

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Liverpool were losing 2-1 until Atletico went down to 10.

I don't think we need to be worried about them I think we need to play two full backs and take the game to them.
Liverpool were 2-0 up away to them and won 2-0 at home. Granted Atletico went down to ten men in both games but they were very ropey defensively.
 

IDFD

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They are ropey defensively. But we can't take advantage of that playing a spare CB.
 

jsp

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They hit the bar once the Griezmann one was offside and wouldn’t have counted the other one was crazy no idea what Llorente was doing going back across goal would have been a total freak.

Second half felt like they created very little but Utd were also poor we scored with our only real chance in the game.

We got away with a good result off a terrible performance we will need to play much better in the second leg.

We struggled against their 4-4-2 I hope Ralf comes up with a plan for the second leg I don’t think there’s much to fear from Atletico we saw on our goal move that ball quick and there are spaces to open up.

I can see why he put Lindelof in for some extra defensive security but conceding early didn’t help and his changes worked so fair play.
 

jsp

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What I found a little strange last night was we suddenly went back to playing out from the back again all the time something that was abandoned by Carrick and Rangnick hasn't really used it either.

Every goal kick was played short and it got us into so much trouble time after time.

I do kind of accept this is the way football should be played but until we have a midfield that is comfortable taking the ball off a defence and turning we are always playing into pressing traps.
 

Mr C

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Awful team sheet, 2 right backs on the bench. He said his subs were good, we were getting stronger and would have won if it had gone on longer. Which says maybe the team sheet was wrong and subs should have been made at HT.

Maguire seems to be getting a grilling again. Not seen it, although Commentry said he should have done better. I'll try and find a vid
 

jsp

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Awful team sheet, 2 right backs on the bench. He said his subs were good, we were getting stronger and would have won if it had gone on longer. Which says maybe the team sheet was wrong and subs should have been made at HT.

Maguire seems to be getting a grilling again. Not seen it, although Commentry said he should have done better. I'll try and find a vid

He said he included Lindelof because of the threat on set pieces. With McTominay injured he needed an extra defender to help on set pieces so I can 100% understand why he did it as Atletico are strong on set pieces and we are not. If McTominay was fit to start I think he probably starts Dalot at right back.

Maguire could have done a bit better but it's a hell of a goal. Really the issue starts with Fred rushing out and slipping allowing the cross to come in had he stayed on his feet the cross probably never comes in and Utd's defence have done a good job clearing the box to catch players offside they've all come out.

Felix makes a really clever run from behind Maguire who probably doesn't see him and by the time he does it's to late all he could have done was try to block Felix's run or certainly get an arm on him to slow it down. Communication from Shaw to Maguire to tell him Felix was coming from behind him might have helped we don't know if there is a shout or not. Felix then pulls off one of the best headers you'll ever see and the cross in is inch perfect. That Shaw/Maguire partnership which was quite strong last season has been a disaster this season.

In terms of the selection really Elanga in for Rashford is the only obvious change he could have made other than the right back issue and maybe he feels Elanga gives us a good ace up the sleeve for later in games where teams are starting to get tired.
 

Mr C

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didn't they score from a corner? that worked out well then.

If that is true, we had to play a CB at RB becasue nobody can header a ball. We are in a worse state than i thought.

It's a poor management decision for me.

Varane, Magure, Pogba, Ronaldo, Rashford, these aren't small players.
 

jsp

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didn't they score from a corner? that worked out well then.

If that is true, we had to play a CB at RB becasue nobody can header a ball. We are in a worse state than i thought.

It's a poor management decision for me.

Varane, Magure, Pogba, Ronaldo, Rashford, these aren't small players.

Not directly Utd cleared the corner pretty well ball and got out the box they scored off the second phase.

True but neither Pogba or Rashford are good in the air and attack the ball, being tall doesn’t make you good in the air.

McT is good in the air plays an important role defending set plays so having lost him for Fred who’s 5ft nothing I can see why he felt the need to try Lindelof as a right back.

The problem it really created was in Lindelof it was another player who wasn’t willing to advance with the ball and kept passing it back to CBs just like the midfield were.
 

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