Real Madrid v Manchester United
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Familiar foes for Madrid

It has been a rather Manchester-heavy summer for Real Madrid - and not just because of the customary rumours involving David De Gea and Gareth Bale. Los Blancos have already played both Man United and Man City in the International Champions Cup, and now face the former once more in the UEFA Super Cup, the formal curtain-raiser to the European season.

Madrid lost both matches in California: United beat them on penalties after a 1-1 draw, before City stuck four past them. But with a couple more weeks' training behind them, an improvement can probably be expected in Skopje. The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the squad is certainly a boost, although it is unlikely he'll be cleared to start given that he only began his pre-season preparations on Saturday.

Elsewhere, it's more of the same for Zinedine Zidane's side, with just a couple of minor tweaks to the squad that did so well last term. Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernández are new faces, while Jésus Vallejo and Marcos Llorente will be hoping to establish themselves after loan spells with Eintracht Frankfurt and Alavés respectively.

New-look United shaping up nicely

José Mourinho has splashed the cash for the second summer in a row, reinforcing the spine of his side with three new signings. Romelu Lukaku is the star turn, of course, and should lend some thrust to an attack that spluttered at points last term. Nemanja Matić brings experience and muscle in midfield, while Victor Lindelöfshould be a long-term foil for Eric Bailly.

Pre-season results have been largely positive for the Red Devils: a narrow defeat to Barcelona was their only reversal in seven matches. Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all looked sharp, although Mourinho has been coy over his defensive options, which may create a little uncertainty as the season proper begins.

With their first Premier League assignment not until Sunday afternoon (home to West Ham), United will surely view this as a fine opportunity to build momentum - and to test themselves against Europe's best side after a spell away from the top table. Winning the Super Cup for the first time ever - they've lost two of two in this showpiece - would be a bonus.

Red Devils closer to the boil?

Real Madrid are trading as strong 2.06 favourites to win inside 90 minutes on Tuesday, which is little surprise given their recent dominance in Europe. Yet it's worth noting that they're not nearly as far along in their preparations for the new season: they still have two Spanish Super Cup games with Barcelona to come before La Liga kicks off.

In light of Madrid's pre-season displays so far (aside from the games against City and United, they've lost to Barcelona and snuck past MLS All-Stars on penalties), the value could very well be with Mourinho's men, who are close to the big kick-off in the Premier League. Plus, of course, the Portuguese usually goes all-out for victory when a trophy of any sort is on the line.

Goals expected

The Super Cup has tended to produce goals in recent years: there have been 25 in the last five editions alone, including those scored in extra time. Given Madrid's love for high-scoring matches and the firepower that will be on the field, the overs is probably the play at 1.97.

Mkhitaryan the man in goals market

With Ronaldo as short as 2.00 to notch, we head elsewhere for a bit of value. Lukaku and Gareth Bale - hoping to kick back on after a frustrating year - are both available at 2.80, which looks reasonable, while Sergio Ramos - trading at 5.90 - is always worth a look in big games.

But the best pick could be Mkhitaryan. The Armenian has already scored three times in pre-season so far and is likely to have the freedom to get forward and break into the box. 4.30 could be a steal.

Recommended Bets

Back Manchester United to win at 3.90

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