If you knew nothing about the two teams, you might think that the top team in the Premier League against a side well off the pace in La Liga would be a routine victory for the English.
However, when the struggling Spanish team is Real Madrid and their manager is Jose Mourinho, then we all know that anything can happen.
Madrid have struggled in their domestic league, but in Europe they have only lost away at Borussia Dortmund and finished second in the toughest group in the competition. In contrast, United should have sailed through their group, yet still managed to lose two of their round-robin games.
Only the most ardent Manchester United fan would argue that they can field a stronger team than Real Madrid these days. United’s EPL form has been largely built upon the goal-scoring exploits of Robin van Persie, and their midfield in particular will struggle to handle their counterparts in Mourinho’s side.
With a certain Cristiano Ronaldo every bit the equal of van Persie in the goal-scoring stakes, I’m backing Madrid to progress.
First Leg: Real Madrid 3 Manchester United 1
Second Leg: Manchester United 2 Real Madrid 2
VERDICT: Real Madrid