It is almost here, just an hour away, when United will host Real in this Titanic Champions League clash. Cristiano Ronaldo makes his return to Old Trafford and will undoubtedly receive a rapturous welcome on his return to his former home.
The tie is delicately balanced at 1-1, Madrid must score to have any hope of advancing. United have been much more solid at the back since the turn of the year but keeping Los Blancos out for 90 minutes is a big ask. United have to approach the game in the manner of trying to win it rather than hold what they have. In Robin van Persie they have one of the most lethal strikers in football. Wayne Rooney has largely gone unnoticed in the build up to this game but he has been in fine goal scoring form lately and it may be the number 10 who make the difference for the Red Devils.
Real come into this game on the back of two “El Classico” wins. They have had an inconsistent season but these two wins over their biggest rivals should provide much needed confidence.
United have been solid all season so confidence is in no short supply. United have more options to chose from than Madrid who heavily over rely on Ronaldo. United will be wary of German international Mezut Ozil however, as he pulls the strings in Madrid’s midfield. If United contain him it makes it much more difficult for Ronaldo to get chances to score. United have an abundance of talent that have performed well this season to chose from, be it Javier Hernandez off the bench or Ryan Giggs to steady the ship. Alex Ferguson can also choose between Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia, AshleyYoung, Tom Cleverley and Anderson (some of these will start) if he needs to during the game.
Fans may expect a all out attacking classic but this will be a cagey affair, particularly at the start of the game. A goal for either side will naturally open it up as one team chase an equaliser.
The depth of United, the confidence of being on a long unbeaten run and playing in front of the home crowd should see United through to the next round in a game where both teams, in my opinion, will score.
It is European nights like this that both clubs are built on and it promises to be a fantastic occasion at Old Trafford.