Tomorrow night, two giants of European football will be taking the stage for the UEFA Champions League Knockout Round Second Leg in Old Trafford after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Manchester United VS Real Madrid
Manchester United VS Real Madrid

Manchester United FC

Arguably, everything is working Manchester United’s way when it comes to the needed results, especially having just beaten Norwich City in a very comfortable 4-0 win as they warm up for a decisive game against Real Madrid. One major concern though will be the fitness of Phil Jones after get suffered strained ligaments in the FA Cup tie against Reading. The 1.8 meter tall defender proved to be sensational in the first leg as he greatly limited Ronaldo’s chances during the course of the game. As for their star attacker, Robin van Persie, he has been passed fit and will be ready to play against Los Merengues.

Another minor worry for the Red Devils is that, if they are able to beat Real Madrid and make it to the next round of the competition, they will need to hope that neither Robin van Persie or Rafael pick up any yellow cards as they are only one away from a suspension. Even with the strength that the team have in their substitutes, it will be very hard playing without either player.

Manchester United’s Games Since Real Madrid:

Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester United (Champions League)
Manchester United 2-1 Reading (FA Cup)
Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Manchester United (Premier League)
Manchester United 4-0 Norwich City (Premier League)

The Red Devils have notched up three very convincing wins since the last time they met Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu and they will need to keep up that motivation if they are to come out with a good performance on Tuesday night.

My Expected Manchester United Starting Lineup;

David De Gea
Rafael; Rio Ferdinand; Nemanja Vidic; Patrice Evra
Michael Carrick; Tom Cleverly
Danny Welbeck; Wayne Rooney; Ryan Giggs
Robin van Persie

I’m expecting a strong back four for the United defense with Carrick and Cleverly in front of them as Phil Jones will be doubtful for the clash. A midfield lineup of Welbeck, who impressed in the first leg, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, who will be playing his 1000th competitive game of his legendary career. Also, Robin van Persie is expected to be leading the attack with his amazing eye for goal.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid have somewhat been revived after a very disappointing start to the season. They have notched up some great wins, especially two consecutive successes against their rivals, Barcelona. Now though, they will need to put that all behind them as a very tough tasks awaits them in the Champions League.

Los Blancos will be visiting Old Trafford in a match that the world will be eagerly awaiting to watch. Two of the favorites at the beginning of the season will face each other in what promises to be a very high-intensity game.

If Real Madrid are able to make it through against Manchester United, they will need to worry about yellow cards for Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso as one more will see them suspended for the next game.

Real Madrid’s Games Since Manchester United:

Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester United (Champions League)
Real Madrid 2-0 Rayo Vallecano (La Liga)
Deportivo La Coruna 1-2 Real Madrid (La Liga)
Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (Copa del Rey)
Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (La Liga)

Since their draw against Manchester United, Real Madrid were able to win in every game until now. They have boosted up their morale and will be ready to play against the Red Devils on Tuesday night. The only major problem Real Madrid face is the injury of Iker Casillas, who has also missed the first leg but will be traveling with the team to help support them, he will not be getting any playing time as Diego Lopez is expected to start.

My Expected Real Madrid Starting Lineup:

Diego Lopez
Alvaro Arbeloa; Sergio Ramos; Raphael Varane; Fabio Coentrao
Xabi Alonso; Sami Khedira
Angel Di Maria; Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo
Gonzalo Higuain

19-year-old Raphael Varane will be expected to start ahead of Pepe after some very inspiring performances. Also, Higuain will most probably be leading the attack after missing out on the La Liga win against Barcelona during the weekend.

Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gonzalo Higuain were rested during the last Clasico as Khedira, Ronaldo, and Arbeloa all came on during the second half.

Overall Assessment

This will be a very hard match for anyone to predict and, as we have witnessed in the first leg, it is a game that could really go either way. A game where everyone will be watching, it promises to be intense.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for Manchester United before joining Real Madrid, “After the years I spent there and the friendships I have, I’m sure it is one of the places they’ll applaud me the most. It was a beautiful time…”

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