Manchester United are getting ready for their Sunday afternoon match against Leeds United. It will be another important Premier League trip for Ralf Rangnick’s side, as they will be chasing their second consecutive win after string of poor results. This match will be a good opportunity for Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates to keep themselves in the fourth place of the standings, which is ultimately their goal for this campaign. But we should not forget what comes afterwards. Man United will immediatelly travel to Spain, where they will face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
The Devils will be facing champions of Spain at the Wanda Metropolitano, hoping to get a good result away from home, before the rematch occurs three weeks later. But with Atletico Madrid having many problems this season, this could be a really interesting matchup. That is why we will be taking a look at what is happening at Atletico as the match against United is approaching fast.
Atletico’s Champions League Struggles
We will start from Atletico’s Champions League campaign so far, since this is the competition United will be facing them in. Atleti started decently in September, with a 0-0 homw draw against Porto, but a 2-1 win against Milan in Italy. Yet they remained at four points up until their last match, as they lost 3-2 and 2-0 to Liverpool and then 1-0 to Milan. Still, after beating Porto 3-1 in Portugal, they managed to sneak into the second place with just seven points, 11 less than Liverpool and with a negative goal difference – seven goals scored, eight goals conceded. They were in luck Milan lost to Liverpool in the last game, even though the Reds did not have an imperative of winning.
The League Is Where They Drastically Worsened
Atleti managed to win La Liga last season, but this year they will be happy if they finish in the top four. That much worse they have been this season. They have 42 points from 25 games and are in fourth place, but Barcelona is just three points behind with two games in hand. They have conceded incredible 34 goals so far, which is unheard of for a Diego Simeone side. They won just 12 matches in the league and recently lost 1-0 to the bottom-placed Levante. Atleti also easily dropped out of the Copa del Rey, as Real Sociedad defeated them 2-0. There are so many problems for Simeone’s side that they managed to win consecutive league matches only twice this season – in the opening two rounds of the season and then in late November, before going on a four-match losing streak.
Jan Oblak Is Their Biggest Problem
As we got to see, Atleti have far more than just one problem this season, but their defence is the one that strikes the most. In attack, they have Angel Correa and Luis Suarez with 12 and 11 goals respectively, to try and help them win matches, with Antoine Griezmann adding eight. And while we could also point out to Joao Felix not being the player worth 125 million euros, Jan Oblak is having the biggest drop in performances. Slovenian goalkeeper was in the last 10 years one of the best in the world in keeping his net intact, but this season he is seriously struggling. His poor performances were seen in numerous matches, as Atleti conceded at least twice against Villarreal, Valencia, Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Getafe, all in the span of a single month in 2022. Hopefully Man United will manage to get the most out of it, too.