Man United have continued their tendency under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be totally unpredictable from one game to the next.
A strong start to the season is now all but forgotten as The Red Devils have picked up just one point from their last three Premier League games, coming from a 1-1 draw with Everton sandwiched between a loss at home to Aston Villa at the end of September and Saturday’s dramatic 4-2 defeat at Leicester City.
Mason Greenwood gave his side the lead with a stunner early on at the King Power but – after Leicester had scored two to take the lead – the replays of Marcus Rashford’s equaliser were still playing when Jamie Vardy made it 3-2, with Patson Daka rubbing salt into the wound in stoppage time.
Pressure is building on Solskjaer, despite official statements of support from the boardroom, and he will be desperate to pick up a win on Wednesday and perhaps regain some momentum to utilise in both competitions.
Life in Europe’s premier competition this season started poorly with a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of group underdogs Young Boys, but United were able to turn another potentially-damaging scoreline around against Villarreal, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s 95th-minute winner sealing his side’s first three Champions League points of the campaign.
They still have plenty of work to do, however, and will now face the side sitting top of the group.
Atalanta may have made a strong start to their European endeavours for the 2021-22 season, but their Serie A form has been a little more hit-and-miss.
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Having finished third in the previous three campaigns, La Dea made a disappointing start this term, losing two of their first seven matches and edging just three narrow victories against teams they should have been comfortably beating.
The weekend saw them produce a far more convincing win away at Empoli, though, with a Josip Ilicic brace, an own goal and a neat Daniel Zapata finish leaving the final scoreline at 4-1 and moving Gian Piero Gasperini’s team up to sixth in the standings.
Ilicic will have been disappointed to balloon over a penalty that would have earned him a hat-trick and will be determined to get off the mark in the Champions League against United