Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United Prediction & Betting Tips


MAN UTD travel to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night and Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95oversees the Champions League last-16 match-up, picking out his favourite fancies.

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United | Wednesday 23rd February 2022, 20:00 | BT Sport

Man Utd take on Atletico Madrid in the Last 16 of the Champions League in what could prove to be a lively encounter in the Spanish capital.

Ralf Rangnick’s side make the trip on the back of a 4-2 victory at Leeds that had everything for the neutral, but there were still questions over some aspects of that performance. Yet, the Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games.

The weekend also saw Atletico Madrid return to winning ways. Los Rojiblancos won 3-0 at Osasuna, bouncing back from a damaging defeat against Levante at the Wanda last week.

Diego Simeone’s men have struggled in their La Liga title defence, sitting in fifth and 15 points behind city rivals Real.

And the fiery Argentinian has plenty to deal with ahead of this one. Koke was ruled out with a thigh injury, joining Daniel Wass and Matheus Cunha on the sidelines. While Yannick Carrasco misses both legs through suspension. There are also doubts over Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo de Paul giving him a few selection issues.

Betting angles

 I’m going straight into the betting by making this statement: I don’t trust either side defensively.

It might sound strange for a Simeone team. But they’ve conceded 34 goals in La Liga, keeping just seven clean sheets in 25 league games. Their recent record leaves something to be desired as well. Los Rojiblancos have lost six of their last 11 La Liga games, conceding 20 goals in that run, including 2+ in eight of those.

Similarly, United have only kept six clean sheets in 26 Premier League games, and the way they conceded two so quickly against Leeds shows lapses in concentration and a fragile underbelly.

Under Rangnick, the Red Devils are averaging 1.81xGF and 1.22xGA in the league, so that shows that there are chances at both ends, which is part of the reason behind BTTS landing in seven of their last 10.

When you think back to the group stage, United’s games saw 19 goals, an average of 3.2 per game. Five of those six games saw both teams score, with them managing a clean sheet against Villarreal.

Even if this is a first leg where the two sides could feel each out, I’d say BTTS at 10/11 (Bet365) does look a nice play on the giving evidence both sides have shown with their inability to defend.

But I’m willing to boost the price by putting it in a Bet Builder alongside both teams to receive a card. That takes the price up to 5/4 – very generous. 

Romanian whistler Ovidiu Hategan is in charge. He’s shown 96 yellows and five reds in 22 games this season, including nine yellows and a red in Atleti’s goalless draw with Porto during the group stages. So, he’s averaging around 4.6 cards per game.

During his career, he’s overseen 38 UCL games, dishing out 150 yellows and seven reds – a career average of around 4.2 cards per game. Plus, he’s pointed to the spot 10 times.

He’s been a good omen for both sides. Atletico are unbeaten in four with him in the middle (W3 D1). While the Red Devils are yet to lose any of their three (W2 D1).

When he’s been taken charge of the Spanish side, he’s shown them 3, 3, 1 & 3 cards. While he’s booked 2, 3 & 2 United players their games he’s overseen.

From his 22 games this season on Soccerbase, he’s shown both teams a card in 20 of those – a massive 91%. And given the two sides lining up, it’s highly likely he can keep that incredible record going. So, that does entice me with that 5/4 Bet Builder.

Now, this is where I’ve had a bit of a dilemma trying to work out who’ll line up for Atleti in the middle of the park. That’s because plenty of opposition CMs have racked up tackles against Rangnick’s United.

Here are some records of opposition CMs since the defeat against Wolves on 3rd January.

  • Joao Moutinho 6
  • Douglas Luiz 4
  • Christian Norgaard 5
  • Declan Rice 3
  • Josh Brownhill 3
  • Oriel Romeu 4
  • Yves Bissouma 4
  • Adam Forshaw 5
  • Mateusz Klich 3

Geoffrey Kondogbia tackles are priced accordingly, Koke is now an absentee, so that could leave Hector Herrera to start.

He’s been a bit-part player this season but started their last game at Osasuna completing five tackles. That was his first start since October, so he could be a bit rusty. However, there is some appeal from some of his numbers from those cameos.

He made two tackles against Athletic Bilbao in 35 minutes, two against Alaves in 29 minutes, while he also hit that figure in 31 minutes against Liverpool at Anfield. Imagine what numbers he could hit given a full 90 against a side with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes dawdling in possession.

The best price I could find was 7/5 for 3+ tackles from the Mexican with Ladbrokes. And given the numbers hit by opposition CMs, it could be worth rolling the dice, especially if he is named in Simeone’s starting XI.

When I went through the tackles, I also noted a few left-backs have been booked against Man Utd of late. Erik Pieters, Lucas Digne and, on Sunday, Junior Firpo have all fallen foul. Although Firpo’s yellow for winning the ball was crazy after what Scott McTominay was getting away with!

So, that points me into the path of Renan Lodi (4/1 Betfair). The Brazilian has only picked up two cards in 645 minutes of La Liga football and both have been here at the Wanda.

Interestingly, he’s made six appearances off the bench in the UCL, committing nine fouls. In both games against AC Milan, he hit four fouls but the referee’s turned a blind eye, but I doubt Hategan will be as lenient. If up against the pace of Marcus Rashford, he could have his hands full.

Best Bets 

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – Both Teams To Score and Both Teams To Receive A Card (5/4 Bet365)

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – Hector Herrera 3+ tackles (7/5 Ladbrokes)

About Author

Matt is a graduate in sports journalism and is currently plying his trade as a content editor for a major betting company. He was bitten by the betting bug when backing horses and continues to do so. His main sporting interests are football, horse racing and darts. Matt is a Stoke season ticket holder and enjoys going to gigs.

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