Manchester United and Atalanta are polar opposites in one specific category

Manchester United welcome Italian side Atalanta to Old Trafford on Wednesday for the third Champion League game in Group F.

Despite the last-gasp win against Villarreal last time out, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have failed to kick on from that and haven’t won any of their last three Premier League games.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side bounced back from the 3-2 loss against AC Milan prior to the international break with a 4-1 win at Empoli on Sunday.

Atalanta currently sit top of Group F on four points with United currently sat third.

Similar to the clash against the Yellow Submarine, the game against Atalanta could be tight and be determined by fine margins.


Set pieces could be key

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester United and Atalanta are polar opposites when it comes to the average amount of aerial duels currently won per game in their domestic leagues.

The Red Devils sit bottom of the Premier League in this specific category with 11.8 duels won per game.

For context, Sean Dyche’s Burnley sit top with 24.4 aerial duels won per game.

Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

In stark contrast to United, Gasperini’s team top the charts in Serie A with 20.3 aerial duels won per game.

The bulk of those headers come from two of their centre backs Merih Demiral and Jose Luis Palomino, who both average winning 4.3 aerial duels per game.

Manchester United’s best in this category is World Cup winner Raphael Varane (2.4) who is unavailable for Wednesday’s clash.

After Varane, Harry Maguire (2.1), Paul Pogba (2.1) and Victor Lindelof (1.5) are the best performing United players in that group.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Although neither side has scored from a set play this season, United will have to be organised, unlike at the weekend, and be ready to deal with any crosses into the box.

We didn’t clear our lines against Leicester and two of the goals came from set pieces as did Kortney Hause’s winner for Aston Villa.

We cannot continue to be so sloppy dealing with crosses into the box otherwise we will be punished yet again.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.