February 10, 2019
Manchester United -v- Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League
Old Trafford, Manchester
Tuesday 12 February 2019; KO 20:00 GMT
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Manchester United will face Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. The French champions have lost just two matches this season, once in the Champions League against Liverpool and the other last weekend against Lyon. It shows the level of quality in PSG’s squad and the lack of quality in the French league, which could be something that ensures they falter. This United side is much better than the United side that last played in this competition.
United and PSG have never faced each other in a competitive match so the home and away legs of this round in the Champions League will be the first matches in Manchester and Paris for the two teams. United are in great form, unbeaten in their last 11 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has risen from sixth in the league to fourth in the league, which does not seem that good, but before Solskjaer started his caretaker management role, United were 11 points off fourth place in the Premier League.
United will need to be at their best to get a result against PSG, even if they are missing the likes of Neymar and Edinson Cavani, amongst others. There are still threats in the team but United have their own, which could see them prevail at the Theatre of Dreams. United need to get some early goals in the game and aim to keep a clean sheet. That will set them up in good stead for the return leg in Paris. A goal there for United could be game over for the Parisien side.
Pre-Match Opinion: Confidence is great and so is Solskjaer!
Solskjaer has got something good going at United this season. The confidence has returned in fine fettle after the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December. Eleven matches played, ten matches won, one drawn. 28 goals scored, seven goals conceded, five clean sheets, 25 Premier League points and two wins in the Emirates FA Cup. This is a great period of form for United, even at this stage of the season. It is not been this good since Sir Alex Ferguson led the team.
The players are all loving putting on that United shirt and loving getting on the pitch and putting up a fight against their opposition. Solskjaer gets United, understands what need to be given ahead of matches and what the club and more importantly, the supporters, want to see. Attacking football has been reintroduced to the squad and they are loving it. Playing these matches, under the floodlights at Old Trafford is where the real excitement lies.
Form: PSG has lost once in their last six matches, United have drawn once in their last six matches; both teams winning the other five
Manchester United: WWDWWW
Fulham 3-0 W, Leicester City 1-0 W, Burnley 2-2 D, Arsenal 3-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W
United under Solskjaer has overcome a lot, which they needed to contend with. Winning ten out of eleven matches, drawing the other, it is the best form that this United team has been in since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager. Confidence is at an all-time high at United under Solskjaer and long may that continue. If the Norwegian manages to get some good results in the next three matches; PSG, Chelsea, and Liverpool, he will have put his name in the run in to become the next manager of the club.
Paris Saint-Germain: WWLWWW
Bordeaux 1-0 W, Villefranche 3-0 W, Lyon 2-1 L, Rennes 4-1 W, Strasbourg 2-0 W, Guingamp 9-0 W
PSG have lost just once in their last six matches, against Lyon last weekend. They have lost once before, against Liverpool in the Champions League group stage. Heading to Old Trafford this week may be a daunting task for PSG, who have struggled to achieve much in the Champions League in the history of their club. With the loss of Neymar and now Edinson Cavani, this could be a major problem for PSG although they still have Kylian Mbappe, who could demonstrate just how good he is against United.
Team News: Manchester United in a good position with many players fit a raring to go against the French champions
United might be without Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo for the PSG match on Tuesday evening. Both were unavailable for the Fulham match as the Ecuadorian has suffered a setback and Rojo had only bee training for the whole of last week, so will not yet be fit enough, however, could boost United’s defensive selection against both Chelsea and Liverpool if he is not considered for this match. Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Victor Lindelof should all be in contention to start to Old Trafford.
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel will be without Neymar and Edinson Cavani for the visit to the Theatre of Dreams. Marco Verratti returned from injury against Bordeaux the weekend, playing for about an hour, so he will boost the squad ahead of the clash on Tuesday. I would not be surprised if Cavani played on Tuesday though. Many mind games have been played in the past and many more will be played during the future. If he does miss the game, it will be a big blow for the French champions.
Predicted Starting XI: Rashford, Lingard and Martial to form the attack against PSG with Pogba pulling the strings in midfield
Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard were both rested for the 3-0 victory over Fulham this weekend, which saw United rise to fourth in the league and keep that position after Chelsea were beaten 6-0 by Manchester City. The midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba will most likely be given the nod against PSG. Ashley Young and Victor Lindelof should both return to the defence with both missing the victory over Fulham on Saturday. Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw will keep their place as will David De Gea.
Match Prediction: Manchester United to get a much-needed win in the Champions League at the Theatre of Dreams
United has the players to cause an upset against PSG and I believe they could do so with Neymar and Edinson Cavani in the squad. Granted, these players are good but they hardly have to work hard playing in the French league. Angel Di Maria will make his return to the Theatre of Dreams, as a villain rather than a hero, which is how he should be remembered. He blamed his failure to compete on the manager and lied to us all saying he wanted to stay but could not wait to leave. Snake mentality.
Manchester United 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain