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Champions League

Rashford to start but Pogba dropped — Manchester United line up fans want to see vs Atalanta

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Manchester United fans want to see Marcus Rashford return to the starting XI for Wednesday’s match with Atalanta.

It will be another big Champions League night at Old Trafford as United look to put an end to their awful run of form when they take on the Italians.

Relentless attackers Atalanta will pose a big challenge, however, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial for the match as United look to leapfrog their opponents and go top in Group F.

United have had some good news on the injury front recent though as Rashford made his long-awaited return to action in Saturday’s defeat to Leicester, marking his come back with a well-taken goal.

Although Solskjaer has warned that Rashford isn’t fit enough just yet to play a full 90 minutes, that hasn’t stopped fans from wanting him to be put straight back into the side and starting on the left-wing.

The defence the majority of supporters have selected is to be expected — with David de Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw making up the back five — but there are some surprises in midfield.

Despite being available again after his international commitments, Fred doesn’t make the side and neither does Paul Pogba, who fans think should be dropped.

Nemanja Matic would also make way if the supporters got their way with Scott McTominay coming in and Donny van de Beek being handed an exceedingly rare start.

They would join Bruno Fernandes in the middle of the park in a 4-3-3 formation with Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo also keeping their sports in attack, with Jadon Sancho making way for Rashford.

United fans’ XI vs Atalanta: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fernandes, McTominay, Van de Beek; Greenwood, Ronaldo, Rashford.

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Champions League

Atalanta boss Gasperini laughs off ‘Ronaldo problem’ claims after late equaliser for Man Utd

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Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini laughed off claims Cristiano Ronaldo has been culpable for Manchester United’s inconsistent form and offered the Portuguese star praise after his last-gasp equaliser.

Ronaldo volleyed home a 91st-minute equaliser to deny Atalanta three points in their dramatic 2-2 draw in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner levelled the game twice late in each half, after Josip Ilicic’s 12th-minute opener and Duvan Zapata’s 56th-minute strike.

During United’s lean run of form, there had been some criticism of Ronaldo for his defensive work, but he has now scored in every group game in this season’s Champions League.

Ronaldo, 36, became the oldest player to score two or more goals in a game for United in European competition, having also matched Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 2003 feat of scoring in four consecutive Champions League appearances.

“Some even managed to say he was a problem, imagine Ronaldo as a problem,” Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia after the game. “He rarely gets it off target, half the time he scores, half the time it is saved.”

The result leaves United top of Group F on head-to-head from Villarreal, with both sides on seven points, while Atalanta are third on five points approaching the final two matchdays.

Gasperini admitted deep regret at Ronaldo’s opportunistic equaliser but continued to praise the United veteran, who has five goals in the Champions League group stage, along with four in the Premier League this season.

“The regret is one thousand. We believed in it,” Gasperini said during his post-game news conference. “We believed in it because their thrust seemed a bit exhausted too.

“We had good spaces, we controlled the race well and was very close. But this is the Champions League. We faced an extraordinary player with incredible ballistic ability, he fired a shot on a bounced ball several times. This determined the result.

“We have to accept it anyway we still have some chances for qualification. It still depends on us. We played two games that have given a lot to us, to Atalanta and Bergamo.”

 

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Champions League

Michael Owen predicts Atalanta vs Man Utd result ahead of Champions League showdown

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Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen has given his pre-match prediction ahead of the Red Devils’ trip to Atalanta for their fourth Champions League group stage game of the season.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have earned himself some much-needed breathing room after registering a crucial victory over TottenhamHotspur on Saturday.

Speculation over Solskjaer’s future as Man Utd boss has been rife since the 5-0 home humiliation at the hands of fierce rivals Liverpool, but the Norwegian remains in charge for now.

Solskjaer will know how crucial a win away at Atalanta could prove to be in terms of maintaining whatever kind of feel-good factor there is around the club following the Spurs win.

The Serie A side ran United dangerously close last time out at Old Trafford, boasting a 2-0 lead at half-time.

However, a Cristiano Ronaldo- inspired comeback ensured United’s blushes were spared and Solskjaer’s men came away with all three points.

Speaking to BetVictor, former United goalscorer Owen believes another win over their Italian counterparts could be a task too far tonight.

Referring to the win over Spurs last weekend, Owen claimed: “That was a huge, potentially season-saving win for United on Saturday.

“I thought the change of shape worked really well and the strike duo of Cavani and Ronaldo caused lots of problems.

“This will be a tough game for them though and a point would be an excellent result. I’m going for 1-1.”

United’s form in recent weeks has been dismal, but Saturday’s victory could provide a springboard to kick-start some form ahead of a daunting run of fixtures.

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Champions League

Lindelof not in Man Utd squad for Atalanta clash

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Victor Lindelof will miss Manchester United’s Champions League game against Atalanta after picking up a knock in training Monday.

The club said the centre-back did not make the trip to Bergamo ahead of Tuesday’s Group F clash.

Lindelof played in the back alongside Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Tottenham.

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sticks with a back three, Eric Bailly seems the most likely option to step in for Lindelof against Atalanta.

Luke Shaw could also move to centre-back, leaving an opening on the left wing that could be filled by Alex Telles.

Lindelof has started all three of United’s Champions League matches this season, and six of ten Premier League fixtures.

United are top of Group F after fighting back for wins over Villarreal and Atalanta following a loss away to Young Boys to open the group stage.

Wheels up for Atalanta with @Aeroflot_World! 🇮🇹#MUFC | #UCL pic.twitter.com/Fg1I4rzKPe

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 1, 2021

 

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