It has been only a few months since Manchester United faced Atletico Madrid in a Champions League round of 16 tie, where the Spanish giants defeated Man United in a closely contested affair and went on to progress in the competition, leaving United without a strong European standing since the past 5 years.
Following matches, in Thailand and Australia, the preseason is close to completion and the Red Devils have just a handful of games before the start of their Premier League campaign. Atletico Madrid played their last friendly versus Numancia, winning emphatically, and will look for a strong performance versus Manchester United as they aim for a better season this time around.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: Ullevaal Stadion.
Day & Date: Saturday, 30th July 2022.
Time: 12:45 BST.
Manchester United have had a good preseason so far with wins versus Liverpool, Crystal Palace, and Melbourne Victory and an unfortunate draw vs Aston Villa. Erik Ten Hag will hope to have his players fit and ready and new signings well integrated into the squad and will look at the last few matches to do exactly that.
The match would see Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen make their debuts for the club and also might have Ronaldo return to action versus a team he has deeply troubled in the past. The performances of Sancho, Rashford, and Martial too will be key as Ten Hag looks to consolidate his attack. A good performance versus Atletico Madrid will be key for the youngsters who aim to break into the first team with a handful of them having already made their first team debuts.
Manchester United have shown a significant change in their playing style with the entire team showing high intensity and pressing levels along with short crisp passes. Ten Hag has reiterated that he wants the team to play proactive football, and was quoted saying “We’ve played a different type of football, different systems and I think that will also be the case when we face two Spanish teams, again, a different approach and what we want is to play proactive football.”
In preparation for the season, Ten Hag will closely monitor Ronaldo’s preparation and weigh in alongside Martial’s improvement, with Rashford and Sancho seeming to be the first choice on the flanks barring any impending transfers. He will also look at Eriksen’s mobility and versatility, along with Fred and McTominay’s skillset to adjudge whether further in the season, we will see a familiar triangle of Bruno, Fred, and McTominay or an exciting inverted triangle of Bruno, Eriksen, and Fred/McTominay.
The defence seems a big question mark with Ten Hag having Maguire, Varane, Martinez, and Lindelof at his disposal with Eric Bailly looking at another season on the fringes. At right back, barring monumental improvement in Wan-Bissaka’s attacking prowess, Dalot will remain the first choice and the left back berth will see Malacia and Shaw vying for a starting position as Telles remains out in the cold. De Gea has made the goalkeeping position his own and is probably the only one with his name confirmed on the teamsheet for the remainder of the season.
The team will look fresher and more rejuvenated with the addition of new faces as they aim to break down Atletico’s notorious impenetrable defences and Diego Simeone’s pragmatic albeit effective style of football. A third-place finish in La Liga while not sounding bad is although a position Atletico find themselves in, as they aim to launch a conquest for the title which they won, not that long ago. United, on the other hand, have plenty to prove this season and while preseason have little to no indication, a good showing at Oslo will undoubtedly put the supporters in a frenzy.