Manchester United gets ready to face Atalanta for the first time

  • This will be the first meeting between Manchester United and Atalanta across all competitions
  • Manchester United have lost 58% of their Champions League games (7 losses in 12 games) under Ole Gunnar Solskjær
  • Man Utd have won 6 and lost 1 in their last 7 Champions League home games against Italian opponents; the 1 loss was against Juventus in 2018 under Jose Mourinho’s stewardship
  • Atalanta have won 3 of their 6 games against English opponents in European competitions. The other 3 games have resulted in a draw and 2 losses
  • La Dea have lost 1, drawn 1 and won 5 in their last 7 away games in the Champions League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has found the net 18 times in 23 games against Italian opponents in the Champions League – he has scored more (28 goals) only against German clubs in the tournament
  • Bruno Fernandes’ haul of 4 goals and 3 assists for the Red Devils is the most of any player for the club, since his debut for the club in the tournament in 2020
  • 10 of Atalanta’s 11 goals in the Champions League have come in the second half

It’s a matchup of unknowns for both hosts Manchester United and visitors Atalanta as the sides get ready to square off, competitively, for the first time. 

The Red Devils were humbled at the KingPower Stadium by Leicester City and will be looking to get back to winning ways. Atalanta, meanwhile, recorded an impressive 4-1 win over Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Sunday.

Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjær under pressure

After a 2-4 loss to Leicester City on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is on the hot seat.

The Norwegian manager also has the unenviable record for losing 58% of Champions League games (7 losses from 12 matches) as Manchester United boss – the worst loss ratio of any manager to have led English clubs in the competition (minimum 10 matches in charge).

An Anglo-Italian love affair

While Manchester United has not been at their best in the league, they can take solace in their record against Italian clubs in the Champions League. The Red Devils boast a record of 6 wins and 1 loss in their last 7 Champions League home meetings with Italian clubs. That 1 loss, however, was the most recent result when Jose Mourinho managed them to 0-1 defeat to Juventus in 2018.

Atalanta too has given strong performances against English opponents. The Bergamo-based side has recorded 3 wins in 6 games (W3, D1, L2) against English opponents in European competitions. Their last Champions League win over an English opponent was a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in 2020.

Cristiano Ronaldo and other goal threats

The highest goal scorer in Champions League history also has a solid goal-scoring touch against Italian clubs in the competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 18 times in 23 appearances against clubs from Italy in the Champions League. The game against Atalanta will be his first against an Italian club in the Champions League, since 2018, when his last-minute penalty helped Real Madrid get past Juventus in the semi-finals. 

The Portuguese, has, by his lofty standards, been having a dry run in front of goal, having not scored in his last two games for the club. He did, however, find the all-important winner for the Red Devils in their last Champions League match against Villarreal.

Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s primary creative outlet ever since he joined the club in 2020. His output of 4 goals and 3 assists in the Champions League, since his debut for the Red Devils, is the highest (goal involvements) among all players for the club. His 7 goal involvements is also the most of any midfielder in the Champions League in the specific period (2020 onwards).

Atalanta’s primary attacking threat will be Duvan Zapata. The Colombian has assisted 2 of La Dea’s 3 goals in this season’s Champions League. His overall record in the competition stands at 5 goals and 5 assists in 18 appearances (15 for Atalanta and 3 for Napoli).