Preview: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid

Preview: United vs. Madrid
© AP Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Tuesday's evenly-poised Champions League last-16 clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Could the showdown between Manchester United and Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 be more finely poised?

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Madrid, both sides have won all their games since, but Real have had to play a game more than United.

Despite the increased workload, Madrid go into Tuesday's game at Old Trafford on the back of two successive wins over bitter rivals Barcelona, one in the Copa del Rey semi-final and one in La Liga.

Jose Mourinho's side are still a mighty 13 points adrift of Barca at the top of La Liga, while United's demolition of Norwich at the weekend means that they are now 15 points clear of Manchester City at the Premier League's summit.

Mourinho is likely to name a similar side to the one that faced United in the first leg but Pepe may earn a start in place of Alvaro Arbeloa, which would see Sergio Ramos shift across to right-back.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson will find it difficult to leave out Danny Welbeck after the forward's goal at the Bernabeu, and he could employ the same playmaking trio of Welbeck, Wayne Rooney and Saturday's hat-trick man Shinji Kagawa behind striker Robin van Persie.

Phil Jones is up against the clock to be fit for Tuesday and if he doesn't make it, then Ryan Giggs could play his 1000th match alongside Michael Carrick in the middle of midfield.

The veteran Welshman was left out of the squad altogether on Saturday despite plenty of buildup for the landmark match and this suggested that he would feature against Real.

Recent form

United: WWDWWW

Madrid: WDWWWW

Possible starting lineups

United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Giggs; Welbeck, Kagawa, Rooney; Van Persie

Madrid: Lopez; Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao; Khedira, Alonso; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has his shoot tipped onto the bar on February 13, 2013
Read Next:
Live Commentary: Madrid 1-1 United - as it happened
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account