Man Utd vs Atlanta: Would Ole go for the 3-5-2 this time?
In terms of the UCL, Atalanta have had a very typical start to Group F, drawing with Villarreal, losing to Man United, and defeating Young Boys. These results have put them in third place in the table, but Gian Piero Gasperini knows his team is capable of defeating Man United after leading them for the duration of the encounter at Old Trafford last time out.
Man United came back from a two-goal deficit at halftime in that five-goal thriller in the northwest of England, with Cristiano Ronaldo snatching the winner at the last to add to his legacy at the club. As Young Boys will attest, Solskjaer’s side can buckle if taken off guard, but such is the way of football, momentum has turned back in the club’s favour following their morale-boosting win over Spurs.
- Atalanta (vs Lazio): Musso; Lovato, Demiral, De Roon; Zappacosta, Freuler, Koopmeiners, Maehle; Ilicic, Pasalic, Zapata.
- Man Utd (vs Tottenham): De Gea; Lindelof, Varane, Maguire; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Fernandes, McTominay, Shaw; Cavani, Ronaldo.
Atalanta still has a long list of injured players, including Robin Gosens, Hans Hateboer, Matteo Pessina, and Berat Djimsiti. Rafael Toloi may return to this location. Meanwhile, Manchester United welcomes back Paul Pogba, who was facing a domestic suspension after receiving a straight red against Liverpool over the weekend.
Solskjaer’s formation change vs Spurs worked like magic
An hour before kick-off in north London, Ole opted for a strike partnership of Ronaldo and Cavani, who are both 70 years old, with what appeared to be an overly cautious 3-5-2 on paper, omitting key attacking players and opting for a strike partnership of Ronaldo and Cavani, who are both 70 years old.
United looked sturdy, unified, and robust after the system alteration, with Ronaldo and Cavani combining their attacking experience to aid themselves to a goal, with the former teeing up the latter for the second goal.
Following the game, Neville voiced his happiness with the formation choice, which denied Spurs a single shot on goal, noting that the 3-5-2 offers Man Utd a “good foundation.”
“We’ve said for weeks and months that this United team play in moments but you’ve got to have a good foundation of clean sheets and good defending,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Those three upfront will always create chances and score goals but they need that base to work from.
“If you look at that Man Utd unit, how close they are from front to back – Varane to Ronaldo; 25-30m maximum. It’s been like that most of the game.
“In previous weeks it’s been 40-50m. It’s been disjointed, disconnected but it’s a lot more difficult for Spurs to play through this Man Utd team.”
The question now is whether Solskjaer will stick or twist on his way to Bergamo. After conceding twice to the free-scoring Italians on home soil, the Norwegian coach may be tempted to remain with the pack rather than shuffle it, keeping things tight against Gasperini’s great entertainers and draining the vitality of a crowd used to high-scoring games.
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