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Atalanta vs Manchester United: Champions League Preview & Predicted Line-ups

Manchester United travel to the Gewiss Stadium to meet Atalanta in a must-win Champions League fixture as the group stage approaches the crunch period.

The Red Devils responded to a 5-0 demolition against Liverpool with a comprehensive 3-0 away victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not off the hook yet, and a well-deserved triumph in north London was only the first step towards redemption.

Another positive result in Bergamo would be significant for multiple reasons, and Cristiano Ronaldo and co have little margin for error in Italy.

Despite a promising start to last season’s Champions League group stage, United eventually failed to reach the competition’s knockout phase.

For a team of United’s stature and quality, it would be devastating not to progress in the Champions League for the second year running, let alone the impact it would have on Solskjer’s future.

Additionally, the Red Devils will face Manchester City in a mouth-watering Premier League clash next weekend, and a potential setback against Atalanta would be a huge psychological blow.

Atalanta Preview

Atalanta have experienced an indifferent start to this Champions League campaign and currently hover two points adrift of the top two places in Group F.

Following a 2-2 away draw with Villarreal on Matchday 1, La Dea eked out a 1-0 home victory over Young Boys but went on to drop a 2-0 half-time lead at Old Trafford last time out.

Atalanta’s 3-2 loss in Manchester on Matchday 3 has worsened their overall Champions League record versus English opposition, as they’ve now won just one of their five such match-ups in the competition (D1, L3).

Same as their early showings in Group F, the Italians have blown hot and cold against Premier League visitors across major European competition, as their overall record in such contests reads indifferently (W1, D1, L1).

However, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men can call upon their decent home record in Europe’s elite competition, having lost just two of their last eight Champions League fixtures in Bergamo (W3, D3).

Player to watch: Duvan Zapata

Duvan Zapata has been a talismanic figure for Atalanta over the past few years, and a striker who already has six goals and four assists to his name this season needs no introduction.

But, one thing deserves special attention. Since the start of last season, the 30-year-old Colombian has had his hand in three of Atalanta’s four Champions League goals scored on home turf.

Manchester United Preview

Man United have put a dismal 2-1 away defeat to Young Boys in their Champions League curtain-raiser firmly behind them with back-to-back come-from-behind victories over Villarreal and Atalanta.

With a mere two points separating the top three sides in Group F, the Red Devils cannot afford any slip-up here as it could see them surrender their place at the summit.

But the Red Devils have a piece of history on their side here, as they’ve only lost one of their last 11 matches against Serie A clubs in the Champions League (W8, D2).

There is another flattering motive for the Old Trafford outfit here. 

United’s next victory in the Champions League will be their 150th in the competition, a milestone no other English side have managed to achieve so far.

While they had gone 29 straight Premier League road trips without losing until recently, Solskjaer’s men have been nowhere near that standard in Europe.

United have lost each of their last three Champions League games on hostile turf and could suffer four in a row for the first time in the club’s history.

Player to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo

All eyes will be on Ronaldo, who has already secured six points for United in the Champions League this term.

The 36-year-old forward has found the net in all three Group F appearances, while he also opened the scoring in United’s win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Ronaldo could become the first United player since Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003 to score in four consecutive matches in the competition.

Atalanta vs Manchester United Predicted Line-ups

Atalanta (3-4-3): Juan Musso; Matteo Lovato, Merih Demiral, Marten de Roon; Davide Zappacosta, Remo Freuler, Teun Koopmeiners, Joakim Maehle; Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata, Mario Pasalic.

Manchester United (3-5-2): David de Gea; Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Fred, Alex Telles; Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford.

Read: Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek attracting interest from Barcelona.

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