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When Jose Mourinho was appointed as the new manager of Manchester United his job was to restore the club to its former glories. He was unable to guide the team to the top four of the Premier League in his first year in charge but they will be playing Champions League football this season thanks to their Europa League triumph.
Before Man Utd embark on yet another European adventure there is the small matter of the UEFA Super Cup against the two-time defending Champions League winners, Real Madrid. After becoming the first team to successfully defend the Champions League, Real Madrid are seeking to join AC Milan as the only teams to win the Super Cup in consecutive seasons.
Real Madrid 19/20 (Sportingbet)
Draw 5/2 (Ladbrokes)
Man Utd 3/1 (William Hill)
As a former Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho knows all about the pressures that come with the job at the Bernabeu. The Portuguese will, therefore, have watched on with amazement at the way that Zinedine Zidane has flourished in the role.
Not only has the Frenchman guided Real to back-to-back Champions League trophies but they won La Liga last season showing real heart in a title race that went down to the final game. Expectations are always high at Real Madrid and they’ll be targeting a win at the Philip II Arena but Zidane has been keen to play down hopes for Tuesday night.
Zidane claimed that “something is wrong” at Real after a winless pre-season so far, an admission that Mourinho won’t have failed to pick up on. Mourinho was mocked in some quarters last season for claiming Man Utd’s Community Shield win as a major trophy but he knows how important winning trophies is for morale.
While everybody knows that Real Madrid are one of the best teams in world, this current Man Utd team need to prove that they belong at the top level to themselves as much as anybody else. That makes this game arguably more important to United than to their opponents and if they arrive more focussed it could make all the difference. So, take the 3/1 that William Hill are quoting on Man Utd winning on Tuesday night.
Draw 1-1 @ 6/1 (Bet365)
Real Madrid 1-0 @ 15/2 (Coral)
Real Madrid 2-1 @ 15/2 (William Hill)
Real Madrid 2-0 @ 9/1 (Coral)
Man Utd 2-1 @ 12/1 (Bet365)
Man Utd 1-0 @ 12/1 (Ladbrokes)
The nature of the Super Cup means that it is always contested by teams full of quality players. That in turn has helped provide some highly entertaining games in recent years. Three of the last four Super Cups went to extra time and the last seven saw at least two goals scored.
There’s no reason to believe that we won’t be served up another treat when Real Madrid and Man Utd go up against each other. The Spanish champions have some of the world’s very best attacking players and are looking for some fluency going forward while Man Utd have plenty of goalscoring options of their own.
If you are having a bet on the Correct Score market it is advisable to back a scoreline in which both teams score. The 12/1 that Bet365 are quoting on Man Utd winning 2-1 looks like good betting value but if you fancy chancing your arm on something that will return significantly more, try the 33/1 that the same firm are quoting on United winning 3-2.
Cristiano Ronaldo 7/2 (Sky Bet)
Karim Benzema 5/1 (William Hill)
Romelu Lukaku 6/1 (Coral)
Borja Mayoral 6/1 (Sky Bet)
Gareth Bale 13/2 (Coral)
Marcus Rashford 7/1 (William Hill)
Isco 9/1 (Coral)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan 9/1 (William Hill)
There won’t be a more popular player on the pitch in Macedonia than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward has starred for both Real Madrid and Man Utd and at the age of 32 there is no sign of him slowing any time soon.
As is normally the case when Ronaldo plays, he is the favourite in the First Goalscorer market but it may be advisable to look for other options this time around. While his teammates have been playing friendlies around the world (including a 1-1 draw with Man Utd), Ronaldo has been fulfilling commercial duties for Real Madrid in China to give him a little more time off after playing for Portugal in the Confederations Cup.
Ronaldo may be a little undercooked but Romelu Lukaku is raring to go. The £75 million signing from Everton has already impressed in pre-season and everyone at Man Utd hopes that his goals will be a major part of a successful season. Lukaku needs to show he can score goals on the big stage and his keenness to do just that against Real Madrid makes him a good first goalscorer bet at 6/1 with Coral.
Man Utd to win at 3/1 with William Hill
Romelu Lukaku to score first at 6/1 with Coral