Prediction: First Goalscorer – Paul Pogba
A stunning match is in the offing on Tuesday evening as Manchester United host Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
The two teams clash in the Round of 16 of the competition in stunning form in their respective league so supporters at Old Trafford are perhaps correct to expect an excellent match-up at Old Trafford.
The impact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had with the Red Devils has been well documented. The Norwegian has now been in charge for 11 games in all competitions, winning all of them but one. The only time that they have not run out victors is in their recent 2-2 draw against Burnley on home soil. They now have the chance to make it 12 unbeaten for the first time since October 2017. However, they now have a huge task as they turn their attentions back to the Champions League. The Red Devils come into the clash with the Ligue 1 giants off of the back of an unconvincing group campaign, as they came second to Juventus. They lost two of their games to Valencia and Juventus but in the end, they secured their qualification for the next round by two points.
The Red Devils’ recent form in Europe’s elite competition is not all too promising either. Of their last five appearances in the Champions League, they have only managed to progress past the Round of 16 on one occasion and that was way back during the 2013/14 season and the ill-fated reign of David Moyes.
Solskjaer has been given a big boost ahead of the game with veteran defender Ashley Young penning a new contract at Old Trafford. Fellow defender Victor Lindelöf should also be fit to play having missed out in the 3-0 win over Fulham at the weekend. Nonetheless, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo all remain ruled out.
Paris Saint Germain
One aspect that PSG really have failed to crack despite their dominance in their domestic league has been the UEFA Champions League. Their best run in the competition was their appearance in the semi-finals in the 1994/95 season. In the last ten seasons, they have never repeated that feat and have been eliminated in the Round of 16 in each of the last two seasons. Regardless of that, they had a pretty stellar group stage in order to secure their progression. Matched with last season’s finalists Liverpool, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade, they managed to finish top of the group having only lost the one game in a dramatic clash at Anfield.
They were also the highest scorers in the group stage with 17 goals in only six games. This, then, could indeed be an extremely potent weapon as they come up against the Red Devils. They come into this game with the chance of making it three Champions League away games unbeaten, which would become only the second time that they have managed that in the last four seasons.
Tuchel has massive problems in the potential personnel that he could select for this game. Striker Edinson Cavani is restricted to the sidelines with a thigh injury. Neymar is also not available with a long-term problem. Defender Thomas Meunier joins his teammates on the treatment table with a concussion. However, Marco Verratti is in contention to appear at Old Trafford.
Key Facts To Consider
- Tuesday’s clash is the first competitive meeting between the two sides
- Angel Di Maria makes his return to Old Trafford having scored four goals and provided 12 assists in his only season with the Red Devils
- PSG have not beaten an English side away from home in the Champions League since a 2-1 win over Chelsea in 2016
- Manchester United have not lost two Champions League games in a row since 2012
- The Red Devils won 2-1 against Marseille in their last clash with a French outfit back in 2011
United fans might have been dreading this game only a few months ago. However, they come into it in excellent form and with their confidence at an all-time high. With PSG’s key men ruled out, the Red Devils have to be the favourites to claim the victory. Paul Pogba has been also been on a stunning run of form so should be amongst the likely candidates to hit the opening goal at Old Trafford.
Prediction: First Goalscorer – Paul Pogba
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