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February 2013

UEFA Champions League Betting Preview - Real Madrid vs Manchester United

by Tom Allen

Real Madrid vs Manchester United

The standout tie in the Champions League last 16 and all eyes on The Bernabeu this Wednesday.

Real Madrid versus Manchester United is always going to catch the eye, the pair has won this trophy 12 times between them, and neither leg is likely to be dull.

The bookmakers have the La Liga champions as clear favourites to advance to the quarter-finals and with former United star Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks it is easy to see why.

Madrid are a long way off the pace set by Barcelona this time around domestically however and their season, and perhaps Jose Mourinho's future, hinges on success in the Champions League.

The Portuguese enjoyed plenty of success against Wednesday's opponents while manager of both Porto and Chelsea and his friendly rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson adds extra intrigue.

There is no doubt Mourinho possesses the trump card in Ronaldo but United know all about CR7, of course, and I'm not sure they should be as big as the 6/4 available with Coral to get the better of their more decorated hosts over the two legs.

A 2-0 win versus Everton on Sunday saw United stretch 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League and the return of Nemanja Vidic from injury in recent weeks could prove crucial in deciding the tie.

The Serbian defender has looked back to his very best of late and United have conceded just six goals in their previous 10 matches, a vast improvement on their early season form.

While the home team can turn it on at will, as when thrashing Seville 4-1 last time out, their overall record is patchy and just six wins from their previous 13 matches will not have satisfied Mourinho.

In contrast, United have won 28 of their previous 36 games since an opening day defeat at Goodison Park way back in August and their away record in the Champions League in recent seasons has been terrific.

It is 14 wins for Sir Alex in United's last 19 games on the road in this competition and their meaningless 1-0 defeat to Galatasaray in the group stage was only the second time since February 2009 they had failed to find the net.

Ferguson knows the importance of an away goal and, with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in tandem, United have more than enough quality going forward to get one.

2pts Back Man Utd To Qualify (vs. Real Madrid) @ 6/4 (Coral)

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    2pts Back Man Utd To Qualify (vs. Real Madrid) @ 6/4 (Coral)

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