Manchester United vs Real Madrid – The starting XI

by Tom Newbold

Manchester United face Real Madrid on Tuesday in what is set to be the game of the season so far. Sir Alex Ferguson has said his tactics and formation must focus on the teams strengths as well as preparing for Madrid’s. Paul Scholes and Phil Jones are the two injury absentees for United.


David De Gea: The 22-year-old will be looking to repeat his impressive display in the first leg against Real Madrid on Tuesday. De Gea’s alertness and shot-stopping ability could be the key in deciding the outcome of this game.

Rafael: The young Brazilian will be hoping for an improved performance from the first leg. Rafael is generally in good form and will hopefully continue that after being omitted at the weekend.

Rio Ferdinand: Ferdinand missed United’s last fixture but is set to come back in against Madrid. His superior pace to Nemanja Vidic, coupled with the tendency to give Vidic a week long rest in between appearances, suggests Ferdinand will start.

Jonny Evans: Evans was superb in the Bernabeu and will need another authoritative performance on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see whether Evans goes forward for set-pieces or whether he is required to stay back and help defend Madrid counter-attacks with his pace.

Patrice Evra: The Frenchman is set to captain the side in Vidic’s absence and could provide an important attacking outlet down the left-hand side.

Ashley Young: Despite only playing one game since returning from injury, Ferguson may well choose Ashley Young to face Madrid. Young’s work-rate and counter-attacking ability could prove the decisive factor. The Englishman was trusted against Chelsea (league leaders at the time) earlier in the season despite only just returning from injury, so there is no reason to suggest he won’t be trusted in another big game on Tuesday.

Michael Carrick: Manchester United’s midfield dictator has been in imperious form all season and his performance may well affect whether United can overcome Madrid. Carrick is likely to be asked to sit deep for most of the match in an attempt to shut off Madrid’s counter-attacking options.

Tom Cleverley: Cleverley has started most of United’s ‘big’ games this season with the first leg of this tie being the exception. His energy and work-rate could help United win the midfield battle, much in the same way they did at the Etihad earlier in the season. In particular, Cleverley’s impressive movement could be important in tracking the likes of Ozil in the Madrid midfield.

Danny Welbeck: Another start for Welbeck is certainly feasible after his superb recent form including that goal in the Bernabeu. The young Mancunian is likely to start wide, but will probably play his part in a flexible forward line that also helps shut off space for Madrid in midfield.

Wayne RooneyAlthough an almost certain starter on Tuesday, Rooney’s position is one of the most unpredictable factors in the team line-up. A probable position will be behind the striker, looking to drop back into midfield and perhaps nullify Xabi Alonso. Rooney may be asked to play wide on the other hand, in a flexible interchangeable role with United’s other forward players.

Robin van Persie: Van Persie will be desperate for a goal on Tuesday after his missed chances in the Bernabeu but his hold-up play, link-up ability and set-piece taking will be extremely important for the team.


Manchester United may well line-up in a variation of a 4-4-1-1.. If Ferguson is extremely cautious against the Madrid counter, then Carrick is likely to sit just in front of the defence with Cleverley and Rooney ahead of him, putting Welbeck and Young out wide.

More likely perhaps though is a midfield two of Carrick and Cleverley with Young wide right, leaving Welbeck and Rooney to interchange between wide left and central positions.

It would be a harsh decision to leave Shinji Kagawa out of the eleven after his recent hat-trick but the Japanese star completed a rare 90 minutes on Saturday, and may need to be sacrificed for this encounter. Ryan Giggs meanwhile is likely to feature at some point but this is unlikely to be from the start. Phil Jones is assumed to be not fit for this tie but if he has made a surprise recovery then he would likely feature in the midfield.

In terms of how United can damage Real Madrid, one area is from set pieces. This gives more reasoning for the inclusion of Danny Welbeck as his height gives the Red Devils an extra threat, as seen in the first leg. United may also look to threaten down the wings considering the possibility of Madrid wingers not tracking back. If this is the case, then attacking transitions through Ashley Young (as seen at the Etihad earlier in the season) and the advancement of United full-backs is probable.

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Sir steve 03/05/2013 - 19:13

United all the way God bless united brotherz

Sydney 03/05/2013 - 16:20

I think Real will win. I don’t see Man U standing on Real’s way. Even when playin Old Trafford it doesn’t matter. Just stay focused Guys u have what it takes to go through to the Final. I’m happy again that Diego the goal keeper is I’m charge. I was almost not happy when u wanted to field Casillas.

Obidiaso vitalis 03/05/2013 - 14:38

Nice line up…cleverley startn is very ok cz he pushes d ball 4wd n tks long shots buh anderson doesnt do d@ he only depends on 4 startn Young, i love it so much cz he helps d defence so much n mks beta crosses dan Louis Nani who is some pples favourite. Nani is a gud playr buh he doesnt av defence wch is nided in dis crucial match….i will kip on lovn utd till my dieing day. Up manutd. 2348069037919 4 more info.

siddharth 03/05/2013 - 10:09

How can he not start with vidic in the central midfield! :/

korede 03/05/2013 - 06:13

The line-up is a good not easy making selection for a big match like this..but I liked the way Sir Alex gave Ashley a chance..he could make some unexpected crosses for van persie..

kenny 03/05/2013 - 05:56

I feel Anderson should come in in d absence of Phill Jones,bacause of his aggressiveness and marking ability.Jones really worked his socks out on the first leg and I strongly believe Anderson can do same,bacause we just can’t cope with the 2-blocking 4 Jose utilises,Alonso and Khedira.We need to mark them strongly and deny Ozil in pressing and passing the ball.I therefore warn,that even the mield-fielders shoudn’t go up front to much,to provide a good cover for the defence,because whether we like it or not,they will definitely win the possession,but we can kill them off through set-pieces.However,they shouldn’t shift too much attenetion to Ronaldo,as Raphael,with a cover from the mid-fielders will curtail his involvement.Goodluck!

ADEKOGBON KAYODE O 03/05/2013 - 03:21

I prefer NANI to start instead of YOUNG

Bashir omar 03/04/2013 - 22:35

I think fargy knws utd beter dan anyone,so whtevr he decid x d best,bt to me i prefer nani than youn

James P.A 03/04/2013 - 22:09

Man utd must try by all means Di maria instead of CR7

Joshua 03/04/2013 - 21:16

Sir Alex, should use nani & vidic for madrid match, or else man.u will lose that match? Because this can of match will need a playmaker, this is not the can of young match. Then for that mildfield will need player like Anderson there to do the making.

Adio Dare Joseph 03/04/2013 - 20:34

United can beat madrid,for their ability

iwuchukwu valentine 03/04/2013 - 20:29

D line up is too bias,how can he include young that offers nothing going front while we have nani,valencia and kagawa.pls man u should sell young he is not good enough to wear that famous an glorious shirt.

elvido 03/04/2013 - 19:54

We’ll probably play one of Wellbeck, Nani or Valencia on the right with Kagawa and Rooney for the positions behind RVP and the left.


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