UEFA Super Cup 2017 prediction: Real Madrid vs Manchester United
Real Madrid faced some difficulties in Primera before the Super Cup, and Jose Mourinho is expected to be dismissed by the end of the season. However, the last games with Valencia and Barcelona showed Mourinho could still inspire his players for better results. Manchester United have a difficult task to keep equal chances for qualifying to the quarterfinals after the match at Bernabéu.
Mourinho’s starting lineup
Mourinho’s starting lineup for the big games is quite predictable. Some positions variety does not change the forces alignment very much: forwards Gonzalo Higuaín or Karim Benzema, left wingers Fábio Coentrão or Marcelo. The only exception is Luka Modrić as a central midfield. Obviously, he was signed to participate in such matches, but he only has to be the same form demonstrated with the Spurs. Most likely Modric will be substituted in the second half.
Real Madrid counterattacks
Whether it’s a draw, depends on the Mourinho’s ability for adaptation to the threat of the Whites, as their strength is obvious. The Zizou squad are excellent in counterattacks. They depend on Xabi Alonso pass to the extreme third of the field. Mesut Özil also beats opponents and knocks them out of position. Finally, Real are more technical on left positions (Cristiano Ronaldo, Coentrão, Alonso and even Özil like to play on the left side). Whereas Sami Khedira, Álvaro Arbeloa and Ángel Di María are on the right and they show mobility and vigor.
Anything special from the Special?
Considering the above, the best way to prevent counterattacks from Real is not to run ahead with the whole team. Real score an extraordinary number of corners, Özil convert them, and Di María or Ronaldo carry out an attack. Expect Ferguson to ask Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to attack in pair, with no defense players’ significant support.
As for Alonso, Rooney has to put pressure on him. He will play in the center when Real possess the ball, turning into a forward every time MU can control the ball. Attacking players can pass Alonso with the help of rapid dribbling. And there is a some evidence that Xabi Alonso will get the card for sure as he often received warnings in all three seasons with Mourinho in Real.
Michael Carrick will mainly take care of Özil, trying to cope with the German’s smart actions. He is going keep his position and leaving Özil alone if he moves away to the opposite half of the field.
Now a few words about the left side threat where Ronaldo runs the show. It is very likely Phil Jones will play from defense to the right of the midfield. He managed to bring a lot of trouble there to Gareth Bale and Marouane Fellaini within last few weeks.
Few elements of the tactics
Rafael da Silva likes to stay close to the opponent team left wingers and can be drawn to the center position, so Antonio Valencia will have a huge responsibility. He will be instructed to close these positions and interfere with Coentrão’s game.
The Red Devils must organize a solid defense and penetrate with Rooney and van Persie if they want to succeed. It’s hard to understand how Manchester United are going to win the battle in the center. What another field areas apart from attacking they can dominate, considering the lineup for the match.
Although penalties and corners often play a crucial role in intense European football. It has to play out cautiously, without leaving free zones within their half of the field.
In general, the United might be happy with a draw. Although 0-0 score leaves the possibility for Real to win away goal in the second match at Old Trafford. “The bet 2:1 for the final score seems to me an excellent choice. It can look risky, but there will be so many talented attacking players on the field that goals in the match should be scored,”- wrote John Clarkson in his preview to Real Madrid vs Manchester United match in the UEFA Super Cup 2017.