Sunday, March 24, 2019

Prediction: PSG vs Manchester United

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Suffering a 2-0 loss in the first leg last month, Manchester United will travel to the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.

PSG

Starting with the hosts, picking up a 2-0 win at Old Trafford last month and inflicting United’s only defeat under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, the mood in PSG’s camp should be on a high. Continuing their winning run away at Caen over the weekend, former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel now sees his side holding a 17-point buffer at the top of the Ligue 1 table. With a star-studded list of attacking options, fans around the Parc des Princes will be looking for 20-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe to continue his outstanding form in the final third. Finding the net in Manchester last month, the PSG marksman bagged yet another brace over the weekend and has famously enjoyed his matchups against British opponents. Mbappe has now scored in six of his seven Champions League appearances against British clubs. While the defending French champions have continued to shine in the final third, Tuchel will know that his side must improve on some recent defensive issues. Aside from their clean sheet at Old Trafford, PSG have remarkably failed to record a clean sheet in any of their other 10 Champions League appearances, a run that stems back to October 2017.

Team News

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel will still be without star man Neymar due to a metatarsal injury, but the French champions will likely opt for the same compact system which worked brilliantly at Old Trafford.

Edinson Cavani could be available after missing the first leg through injury, but may more likely be used as an option from the bench if PSG need a goal in the second half.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, while Manchester United may have gone about it the difficult way over the weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his Manchester United side continue their unbeaten domestic record. Picking up a 3-2 win over Southampton at Old Trafford, the Reds once again find themselves sat in the top-four in England’s top-tier. With their defeat to PSG last month their only loss since the Norweigan’s arrival back in December, the mood in United’s camp is at a season-high. However, despite showing vast improvements since Jose Mourinho’s departure, the Reds do have a worrying record in the Champions League knockout stage. The Premier League giants have won only one of their last 10 European knockout matches and have not picked up an away knockout victory in over eight years. If United are too complete one of the most famous turnarounds in European history, then Solskjaer will be looking for the in-form Romelu Lukaku to continue his very eye-catching run of form. Bagging a brace against the Saints on Saturday, the Belgian international is relishing his chance to play in a more central role and now has four goals in his last two appearances.

Team News

Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia are all out.

United will also be without the suspended Paul Pogba, while Alexis Sanchez is out for up to eight weeks with knee ligament damage.

Key Factors to Consider

  • No club has ever progressed to the next round of the Champions League after losing the first leg of a knockout match at home by two or more goals (34 previous cases).
  • Paris St-Germain have lost just one of their last 16 Champions League games at home (W10 D5), but that defeat came in the last 16 last season against Real Madrid (1-2).
  • None of the last six English sides to face Paris St-Germain at the Parc des Princes have won. In fact, the only English team to prevail away from home versus PSG were Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in September 2004 (3-0).
  • Four of the last five two-legged encounters between teams from England and France in the Champions League knockout phase have seen the French side progress.
  • PSG have scored 35 goals in their last 10 Champions League home games but haven’t kept a clean sheet in each of the last five.

Conclusion

Although their 2-0 deficit might be a step too far for Manchester United on Wednesday, the Reds should be looking to exploit PSG’s defensive issues. Given the defending Ligue 1 champions have recorded just a single European clean sheet in their last 11 attempts, we’re backing a lively encounter at the Parc des Princes.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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