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Eden Jon 13th Feb 2013 - 12:26

Sir Alex to outplay the Special One

Real Madrid v Manchester United

90 Minute Betting: Real Madrid @8/13 Draw @3/1 Manchester United @4/1

To Qualify: Real Madrid @4/7 Manchester United @4/1

Enhanced Wincast Offers :
Ronaldo to score and Real Madrid to win the 1st leg enhanced from @11/10 to @13/8
Van Persie to score and Manchester United to win the 1st leg enhanced from @5/1 to @9/1

The match the world is waiting for!' said Jose Mourinho in the run up to this tie and although you have to take these comments with a pinch of salt, it is undeniably a game to savour.

The Reds welcome back one of Sir Alex's prodigal sons. Cristiano Ronaldo (@7/2 to open the scoring and @4/6 to score at any time)is already an all time great and would love nothing more than to impress his old boss at Old Trafford.

Now under the tutelage of the ‘Special One', Ronaldo has hit the scoring headlines on a weekly basis. Twenty Four La Liga net busters and six strikes in the group stages (he tops the Champions League scoring, one ahead of the mercurial Lionel Messi) are impressive, but just part of the dynamic that makes this player a star turn and a game changer.

But Los Blancos are no one man team. Higuain, Benzema, Di Maria and midfield maestro Ozil are very able deputies (@9/2, @9/2, @8/1 & @9/1 to score the game's first goal respectively) and although Real managed only second place in group D, no team scored more goals and thirteen points from their last six La Liga games is testament to their general well being, although that is an improvement on their ordinary start to the campaign and although sitting in 3rd , they are a mountain climb of sixteen points behind arch rivals Barcelona.

Defensively, the La Liga champions were sloppier than expected in their group games, but have been mean throughout their domestic season.

Man Utd have swept seamlessly into an apparently unassailable Premier League lead. Twenty one victories and sixty two goals in twenty six league matches is another thumbs up in the never ending success of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The pre-season purchase of Robin van Persie (@7/1 to open the scoring and @2/1 to score at any time) from Arsenal was a master stroke and RVP leads the domestic scoring charts with nineteen netted.

He is also the Reds joint top Champions League scorer (three) with Javier Hernandez (@10/1 to open the scoring and @7/2 to score at any time) while Three Lions hero Wayne Rooney appears to be returning to his attacking best (@9/1 to open the scoring and @10/3 to score at any time).

Man Utd have collected sixteen points from their last six domestic games and conceded only three goals during this period, while midfield dynamo Anderson is starting to command the centre of the pitch with an alacrity that seems unlikely last season.

Previous matches have been relative goal feasts (averaging nearly 4 goals per match - Over 3.5 @13/8 & Both Team To Score @4/6), with the most recent encounter resulting in eleven goals over the two legs and with both sides having a plethora of attacking possibilities, it is inconceivable to imagine this tie being anything less than end to end entertainment.

The more you read into the form and stats for these teams, the more you start to believe Mourinho's comments. This really is a great Last 16 match up and is not to be missed.

Personally, I feel that the aura surrounding Real Madrid has allowed the Reds chances to be slightly underplayed and with the second leg back at the Theatre of Dreams, the northern English outfit will have a confidence that Madrid cannot afford.

Best Bets:
Both Teams To Score @4/6

Worth a Speculation:
Double Result - Real Madrid/Draw @14/1 & Real Madrid/Man Utd @40/1 & Man Utd/Draw @16/1

Match Opta Stats and Facts:

o The eight European Cup/Champions League encounters between Real Madrid and Manchester Utd have produced 31 goals (3.9/game).
o Manchester Utd have never won away against Real Madrid (two defeats, two draws).
o The Red Devils have conceded exactly three goals in three of their four trips to the Santiago Bernabeu.
o Their last encounter was 10 years ago, in April 2003. Real Madrid won 6-5 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals.
o Manchester Utd have only won two of their 13 away Champions League games in Spain (seven draws, four defeats).
o Real Madrid have only failed to score once in their last 31 Champions League games, that was against Barcelona at the Bernabeu in April 2011.
o Since that semi-final when they failed to hit the back of the net against Barcelona, Real Madrid have scored 33 goals in nine Champions League games at the Bernabeu.
o Real Madrid have failed to keep a clean sheet in this season's competition. They have conceded nine goals in the Champions League this season, the most among the 16 teams qualified for the knockout stages.
o Manchester Utd have conceded the opening goal in each of their last five Champions League games.
o Real Madrid had the joint-most shots (incl. blocked) in the group stages this season, alongside Juventus (126). They've scored the most goals from outside the box (6).
o Manchester Utd have seen their woodwork rattled five times, the most in the group stages this season.
o Cristiano Ronaldo was the joint-top scorer in the group stages alongside Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz (6 goals).
o Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez have scored six of Manchester Utd's nine goals in the Champions League this season (three each). All three of van Persie's goals have come away from home.
o Alex Ferguson has only won two of his 14 competitive encounters with Jose Mourinho (six draws, six defeats).


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