PSG vs. Manchester United PREVIEWGriffochaz
Man United fans adore the Champions League so it’s fitting their return to the prestigious tournament is with a trip to The City of Love to take on last years runners up Paris Saint Germain.
The Champions League has eluded PSG ever since their inception and last year they got the closest they have ever been but fell short in the final to Bayern Munich.
Manchester United are three-time UCL winners and return to the competition after a season out of the big time. United fell short of the Europa League after losing to the eventual winners Sevilla in the semi-final.
This is going to be a tough opener but a must watch for sure.
I don’t think I need to remind you the last time Man United travelled to Paris with an injury hit squad. PSG beat United 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League Last 16 in 2019 at Old Trafford. Ole then took his men to Paris, following his first United defeat against the French club, with a depleted squad with no real expectations only hope but sometimes hope is all you need. Well that, and Kimpembe’s hand.
Romelu Lukaku scored within two minutes to give United a shock lead and gave us belief that was quickly shot down by a Juan Bernat equaliser in the 12th minute. The Belgian and now Inter Milan striker netted his second of the game in the 30th minute to restore United’s lead.
Then the ‘Red Devils’ played against the time and was watching the timer count down as their chances ran thin. All until a rogue Diogo Dalot shot that on the surface was a wasted chance but when VAR reared it’s ugly head, it exposed PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe’s handball that gave United the chance to create history in Paris. Marcus Rashford took the nervy penalty and calmly slotted it past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
It was one of the greatest nights in recent memory but then was overshadowed by the club’s loss to Barcelona in the Quarter Finals. However, for what it was, 6th March 2019 will hold a special place in many hearts especially Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s who got his permanent job off the back of this stunning victory.
Man United Team News
Man United have hit a little spell of bad luck with multiple players out injured for the tie on Tuesday. Club captain Harry Maguire will miss the game due to a slight tear following from the Newcastle away win. Phil Jones isn’t even part of the UCL squad this season so no bother there and Eric Bailly will also miss the tie due to injury which can be categorised under the file ‘predictable’.
Jesse Lingard is also out of the tie and Mason Greenwood is suspiciously left out of the squad with “a niggle”. Edinson Cavani isn’t match fit so will miss his dream debut against former side PSG.
The goalkeeping situation is a tough one to get around. I still stand by David De Gea being a better goalkeeper than Dean Henderson at this precise moment but if you don’t play the Englishman here, when do you play him. Having two great goalkeepers on paper is great but can be problematic in scenarios like this. On the surface, this game away at PSG is the biggest and hardest in the group so I will choose experience over development and pick Dave in-between the sticks.
The main question with the defence isn’t a case of who, it’s more likely what and how? What’s the shape going to look like? How many defenders will we play? Ole is a fan of 5 at the back and despite it being the football equivalent of watching paint dry, it is tried and tested and it does work. That’s why I’d go with the five at the back for this game only. The only problem is there is next to no choice in who to put in there. Shaw, Lindelof and Tuanzebe are the only recognisable players who can play at centre back so it has to be those three and with Axel set to make his first appearance for a long time, having two partners will help him settle back into high energy and competitive football.
The only real debate in the midfield is the Paul Pogba or Donny Van de Beek one and there is no right or wrong answer. Paul Pogba can turn it on in big games, but Van de Beek has the momentum and the form. I will go with Donny to partner Matic and captain Bruno in the middle of the park.
The attack will have one less name than usual due to the formation I have opted for but there is no doubt on those two players who will lead the line. Anthony Martial must start because he can’t play in the league and Rashford needs to keep playing after his impressive display this past weekend. The dynamic duo can do bits and against a more than nervy defence, the pace could cause problems for the Paris backline.
The full team can be seen below:
PSG Team News
For PSG, Marquinhos and Julian Draxler are doubts for the game on Tuesday while Marco Veratti and Leandro Paredes are definitely out of the hotly anticipated encounter. Mauro Icardi is also a doubt following a knock to the knee in a previous match for the French champions.
Their predicted XI is seen below:
Predicting this one is a difficult nut to crack but I will play on the cautious side for once and go with a 2-2 draw. I don’t see United having enough to beat PSG but then again I don’t see PSG managing to take complete control of the game. A high score draw for me.
PREDICTION: PSG 2-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
Leave your thoughts on the Champions League opener below.
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