Manchester United’s opening Champions League fixture begins with their toughest group stage test as the French champions, Paris Saint Germain, welcome the club to Parc Des Princes. United have been drawn in a fairly competitive group comprising PSG, Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.
PSG must be looking to make amends for a heartbreaking defeat they suffered against Manchester United in the round of 16 in March 2019 by exacting revenge against the club. Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be wanting to build from where his side left off in their 4-1 victory against Newcastle United on Saturday.
PSG’s good recent form
After losing the first 2 games in the league against Lens and Marseille, Thomas Tuchel’s side recovered well by winning 5 games in a row. Their recent 6-1 and 4-0 wins against Angers and Nimes showed the quality of the team. PSG are currently sitting in the 2nd place in Ligue 1 and they surely seem to be gaining momentum now.
PSG will surely be driven to redeem themselves in the Champions League this season, especially when they finished as the runners-up of the same competition last season. The French club are already among the favourites to win it, considering their squad which is full of superstars like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Marco Verratti.
Kylian Mbappe has had a great start to the season. The young Frenchman has been pulling the strings so far, scoring 4 goals and assisting 4 goals in 4 league games. Neymar has also been doing the usual with 2 goals and an assist in 3 league games. PSG’s quality in their offensive side will prove to be absolutely deadly this season.
Pressure mounting up on Solskjaer
United’s comeback against PSG back in March 2019 is considered to be the result which got Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the permanent job. However, there are numerous occasions and events which have led the Norwegian’s job to be on the line. The club’s recent 6-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur surely generated more questions than answers.
The Red Devils’ next 5 fixtures after the PSG game will be the real test for Solskjaer. With United already having lost at home twice this season, their next home games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Leipzig will prove to be an ultimate challenge.
On a positive note, though, United have won their last 9 away matches across all competitions. But despite their good form away from home, the clashes at Goodison Park against an in-form Everton and a long trip to Istanbul can prove to be tricky. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an important job to do and time is not really going in his favour.
Manchester United’s recent signing, Edinson Cavani, is now eligible to make his debut after completing his period of quarantine. The Uruguayan striker was also pictured whilst training with the squad on Sunday. Alex Telles is expected to make his debut too. He was among the substitutes against Newcastle United. Mason Greenwood is a major doubt though, as he was also left out against the Magpies on Saturday due to a possible fitness issue.
As for PSG, Thomas Tuchel would be unable to start his full strength. Mauro Icardi, Juan Bernat and Thilo Kehrer will be missing the match due to injuries. Marquinhos, Marco Verrati and Julian Draxler are doubtful too as they were not involved in the league fixture against Nimes.
Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United last faced each other in the 2018-19 Champions League round of 16. PSG won the first leg at Old Trafford, leading by two goals. The second leg resulted in an infamous comeback by United as they managed to go past them by away goals. Marcus Rashford netted the last-minute penalty in a nail-biting drama.
*PSG vs Man United previous results*:
- PSG 1-3 Manchester United, Champions League R16 2nd leg (06/03/2019)
- Manchester United 0-2 PSG, Champions League R16 1st leg (12/02/2019)
With PSG having a few injury concerns except their attack, we can see Thomas Tuchel make a few alterations in the midfield and defence. Neymar did not start in their league fixture against Nimes on the weekend, possibly being rested for the Champions League clash. Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria did not feature either, very likely to start against their former club as well.
United, on the other hand, will be opting to play their full strength lineup. Alex Telles, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial (because of his suspension) did not start against Newcastle on Saturday. We can expect all four of them to start tomorrow. Despite Cavani being available, Solskjaer will still prefer to start Martial as a striker instead since he is his first choice.
PSG’s predicted lineup: Navas, Florenzi, Diallo, Kimpembe. Kurzawa, Herrera, Paredes, Gueye, Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe (4-3-3 formation)
Manchester United’s predicted lineup: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial (4-2-3-1 formation)
PSG are on top of their game at the moment, whilst United’s inconsistencies and vulnerability are still being exposed. The Red Devils are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league. PSG’s lethal front 3 consisting of Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria will be causing a lot of trouble for United’s struggling defence. United’s attack and PSG’s defence seem to be evenly matched. Meanwhile, we can expect a good midfield performance from United with the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings if given enough space. All things considered, PSG still look stronger on paper and United will be visiting Parc Des Princes as underdogs.
Final result: PSG 3-0 Manchester United
Goalscorers: Mbappe (brace) and Neymar