Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid

Steven Suarez

Monday, March 4, 2013 4:50 PM GMT

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford as his Real Madrid, fresh off two straight wins over Barcelona, face off against Manchester United. Who will move on to the quarter-finals?

Odds Overview

In the comfortable confines of Manchester, the Red Devils are listed at 9/5 to win outright on Tuesday.

As for Madrid, they're in great form themselves, which is why they're 7/5 favorites on the soccer odds board. The draw is quoted at 53/20.

Manchester United

You would have to go all the way back to December 8th to find the last time the Red Devils lost. They're unbeaten over their 18 matches in all competitions, a streak that includes scalps of Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton.

Over the weekend United had no trouble whatsoever with Norwich City, winning 4-0 at home to keep their comfortable lead atop the table intact. Should the Citizens lose to Aston Villa on Monday, the Red Devils will stay up by 15 points.

The goals in the win, however, came from a rather unlikely source. Shinji Kagawa scored a hat-trick, his first for the club, with Wayne Rooney getting a late goal himself.

How has United fared at home in European play this season? The results in the group stages were a bit mixed.

They started off fine, beating Galatasary (1-0) and Braga (3-2) in their first two matches at Old Trafford. However, they lost 1-0 to CFR Cluj-Napoca in their final match, though to be fair Sir Alex Ferguson to opt to use a young starting XI in that defeat.

Real Madrid

Since that shocking 1-0 away loss to Granada, Los Blancos have gone undefeated over their previous six matches across all competitions.

The month of February was fantastic for Madrid, and they carried that momentum over to their first March affair as well. Over the weekend Los Blancos held off Barcelona to win 2-1 in La Liga action, this coming days after a highly impressive 3-1 win at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey.

In the league victory, Karim Benzema had put Jose Mourinho's men up within six minutes, only for Messi to even up the honors close to ten minutes later. The winner came from Sergio Ramos in the 82nd minute.

Mourinho, looking ahead to Tuesday's trip to Manchester, went with a weaker starting XI but it didn't seem to matter. Ronaldo, Gonzalo Hiquain and Mesut Ozil all started on the bench, with the likes of Kaka and Luka Modric getting a start.

Now Madrid, back with their full strength side, will try to finish off the job against United.

Find out what SBR Forum posters are saying about this matchup.

Champions League Pick

This is going to be one of the best matches of the year. With the first leg ending at 1-1, you certainly aren't going to want to miss this deciding encounter.

Clearly this one could go either way, with both teams in form and filled to the brim with world-class talent. However, when it comes down to it, we believe Real Madrid will be the ones who advance to the next round.

Los Blancos, quite frankly, looked frighteningly good against Barcelona inside Camp Nou, and we feel that somewhat of a warning shot sent out to Ferguson. This Real Madrid side has bounced back exceptionally well and are playing their best soccer of the year at the perfect time.

Moreover, when it comes time to place our soccer picks, we don't see anyone on United who will really be able to corral Ronaldo. He scored a breathtaking header in the first leg and is sure to make a difference back on his old stomping grounds.

Pick: Manchester United 1 Real Madrid 2

Aggregate: Manchester United 2 Real Madrid 3