PSG vs Manchester United Preview

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Image from the Independent

The Champions League second legs begin this week and Manchester United make the journey to Paris in an effort to overturn a humbling 2-0 home loss and progress to the Quarter Finals for the first time since David Moyes’ short tenure. Here’s everything you need to know:

Teams: Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United
Location: Parc des Princes
Managers: Thomas Tuchel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Kick-Off Time: Wednesday 6th March, 20:00 GMT
Referee: Damir Skomina
Team News:
Manchester United’s injury list increased with Alexis Sanchez out for six to eight weeks with a knee ligament injury suffered earlyn in the second half against Southampton. This list includes four of the eleven that started the home game against the French champions with Matic, Herrera, Lingard and Martial all unavailable. While it seemed that Martial may be ready to face PSG, Ole has stated that United can’t risk him for the trip as the former Monaco player will be pivotal in the big games to come in the league and FA Cup. Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Phil Jones should all remain sidelined for this crucial game and with Paul Pogba’s suspension late in the game, Ole has been given very limited options in the midfield and wide areas to select for Wednesday. As a result, five youngsters have been included in the squad; Brandon Williams, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Taith Chong and Mason Greenwood are all in the travelling squad and could feature off the bench if Ole calls upon them. As for PSG, it seems that Thomas Tuchel has a full squad bar two of their crucial attackers in Edinson Cavani and Neymar Jr and so are in a similar predicament to the previous game. 
What form are both teams in since the reverse fixture?
After the disappointing defeat, Manchester United picked themselves up and dusted themselves off with an emphatic win against Chelsea the following Monday and followed it up with a solid draw at home to Liverpool given the injuries suffered early in the game, having the better chances in the game to the potential title challengers. United followed this up with iron resolve at Selhurst Park in a 3-1 win and a ‘never say die’ attitude against Southampton at home and eight away wins on the bounce. PSG have build on the win against United by maintaining a 100% win ratio since that day, scoring 13 goals in four league games. Six of which were courtesy of Kylian Mbappe who will be looking to cause further havoc to Manchester United. Like United they have also progressed to the next round of their domestic cup after a 3-0 win against Dijon with a brace from Di Maria and another from Thomas Meunier. Both teams will be aiming to continue their good form and progress to the Quarter Finals, something both sides have been criticised for their struggles in doing so. 
How are United likely to line up?
David de Gea is set to make his 30th Champions League appearance and his 29th saved United from a worse result in Manchester as he denied Di Maria, Mbappe and Bernat with excellent saves. Ashley Young should lead the team out for the match at right back and should remain alongside Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw who have all done very well together recently. McTominay ought to be the holding midfielder to break up plays and be strong and physical at the heart of midfield. Andreas Pereira scored a screamer against Southampton and assisted Lukaku’s first goal not long after and should play as Herrera’s replacement to press high and create chances. There are two options for the other midfielder, Fred or Angel Gomes. Fred has been criticised and rightly so for his lack of physicality and his inability to pass quickly as he gets pressed easily and could cause dangerous counter-attacks against quality opposition like PSG. As for Gomes, the youngster is relatively untested having managed to play only nine minutes of first team football this season but has starred at U23 level as the captain. He may be asked to create chances as a no.10 and press Verratti or perhaps play deeper and play as Pogba does. I think Fred will get the nod with his Champions League experience at Shakhtar and perhaps may be the game to reignite his United career. As for the front three, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku are guaranteed to start and after the Saturday match, it seems clear that Diogo Dalot should operate as a stop-gap right winger for now. He took on defenders, puts in dangerous crosses and bagged an assist against the Saints. He will also track back well and help out Ashley Young with Di Maria and Mbappe. 
Score Prediction?
I think PSG will sit back and counter with pace as they assume the game is basically done and dusted with a draw enough to take them through. United could get an early goal and then the game will come to life but without Pogba, Herrera, Martial and the rest, it will be a difficult task for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I think United could progress if luck is on the Red Devils’ side and I do think they will win in Paris but at the moment, PSG have almost a full squad and United do not and that could be enough to see them through.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Young (c), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, McTominay, Pereira, Fred, Dalot, Rashford, Lukaku

PREDICTED SCORE: 1-2 to United

Author: TUD Author