Atalanta vs Manchester United | Tuesday 2nd November 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Fresh from a return to winning ways, Man Utd head to Bergamo to take on Atalanta in an important Group F clash.
Saturday’s 3-0 win at Spurs has slightly eased the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjær, which was starting to mount after the dismal 5-0 defeat by Liverpool.
But when the sides met at Old Trafford two weeks ago, the Norwegian may have been staring down the barrel at half-time. Despite being 2-0, he saw his Red Devils pile on the pressure, which paid off with goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo sending them to the top of the group.
Since falling to defeat in Manchester, Atalanta are unbeaten in three in Serie A (W1, D2), and there’s no surprise when you see those games have seen 10 goals scored (six for and four against).
With how both sides have plenty of attacking threats and vulnerabilities at the back, then we could be in for another goal-laden game.
The betting angles
Both bets copped when I previewed the game at Old Trafford, and for the first angle, I’m going to take a similar approach.
I’ve combined both teams to score with both teams to receive a card in the second half at 6/5 with Bet365.
Slavko Vinčić is in charge and the Slovakian caused controversy during the international break when sending off Northern Ireland’s Jamal Lewis for time-wasting in the first half.
Soccerbase shows seven games he’s taken charge of this season have seen 32 yellows and three reds. Those include all sorts, Champions League, Greek Super League and World Cup qualifiers. Six of those have seen him show a card to each team.
In his two UCL group games this season, he’s shown nine cards – seven of those coming after the break. And it’s in those latter stages when teams are either chasing a game or seeing it out when things can get niggly, so he has to step in and dish out the cards.
If you think back to Old Trafford, there were six yellow cards, or 60 booking points if you prefer. All those came in the second half from the 55th minute onwards, which points to this getting slightly tetchy late on.
In terms of BTTS, it’s quite straightforward. It’s happened in Atalanta’s last 12 games in all comps, while Man Utd have found the net in 15 of their last 16 away games.
If you go off UCL form alone, Man Utd games have seen 11 goals, an average of 3.7. While Atalanta’s have seen 10, an average of 3.3 per game. But La Dea’s 1-0 home win over Young Boys should have been a lot more comfortable with the chances they cut out.
And plenty of metrics from their first clash point to goals as well. The expected goals ended
Man Utd 2.95xG v 1.65xG Atalanta, showing good quality chances were created. While the game finished with 34 efforts from both sides.
Given the way the game ebbed and flowed at Old Trafford, there could be plenty of shots. As highlighted above, there were 34 shots, so Sky Bet’s line of 27+ match shots (10/11) might be worth having on side.
It’s landed in two of three for both sides with Atalanta’s UCL games having 27, 17 (13 for ATL) and 34. While Utd’s trio have had 28, 21 (19 from Young Boys) and 34.
I think the figures from United’s game in Switzerland are skewed by Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card, but whether they’ll have turned on the pressure with 11 men is unknown given they were 1-0 up at the time.
When you look at the sides domestically, they both create chances. Atalanta are fourth in Serie A for shots with 161 or 14.6 per 90. While for Man Utd, it’s 159 shots and 15.9 per 90. If they land on those averages again, then we should be expecting around the 30 mark.
Most bookies seem to have set the line at 28 or 28.5, so Sky Bet going one fewer at the same price may have reeled me in. But the data looks strong, especially with the way these two sides play.
I’m also rolling the dice on a cards double at 11/1, which is as short as 6/1 in places. Luke Shaw and Marten de Roon were booked in the first game, and both could be walking a disciplinary tightrope in this one.
If de Roon is in the back three for this one, then up against the likes of Ronaldo, Rashford and Bruno Fernandes would only boost the confidence in him committing a couple of blatant fouls.
The former Boro man has three cautions in all comps this season, racking up foul counts of 3, 4, 2, 1, 4, 4, 3 0, 3 & 2 in his last 10 games. The fact he’s hit four a couple of times in Serie A without seeing a card says a lot. But these UEFA refs tend to catch on and take no messing.
Shaw on the other hand has seen four cards in all comps, including in each of his last three. He got away with four fouls at West Ham without a card yet was carded on Saturday for three fouls. If Man Utd hit the front in this one, then we’ve already seen the referee is quick to penalise time-wasting, where the left-back taking throw-ins could fall foul.
Plus, with Davide Zappacosta liking to get forward down his side, Shaw will be kept busy. While Josip Iličić and Mario Pašalić could drift to that flank if they sense the space.