Aaron Wan-Bissaka and his Night in Paris

Manchester United defeated Paris Saint Germain courtesy of a late strike from Marcus Rashford. United had several standout performers, in which Aaron Wan-Bissaka and his defensive masterclass may have gone under the radar. Ahead of this heavyweight clash between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain, Aaron Wan-Bissaka faced the prospect of dealing with two of Europe’s most elite forwards in Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Wan- Bissaka showed great composure in his defensive work and dealt with the dangerous duo with ease.

Wan-Bissaka, 22, began the evening in a newly assembled Manchester United defence. He began the night on the right-hand side of a United back five, which also included Axel Tuanzebe and new signing Alex Telles. Although, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not known for his attacking qualities he started as wing-back. Although later in the game he reverted to his usual full-back role.

The First Half

Wan-Bissaka, nicknamed the “spider”, began the night with a thunderous challenge on PSG full back Layvin Kurzawa. Within seconds of this challenge, the Englishman was alert yet again to block a dangerous PSG cross. During the opening period of the game, the English full back maintained a high level of concentration, in which he dealt with the overload of attackers on his side of the pitch. He effortlessly pressed and forced Neymar to drop deeper much to the Brazilian’s annoyance. Furthermore, he also kept dynamic forward Kylian Mbappe isolated for much of the first half, causing the French attacker to switch flanks. Throughout the first half, United soaked up the pressure and waited for a counter attacking opportunity. Consequently, Aaron Wan- Bissaka had to adhere to his defensive duties for most of the half and rarely seen leaving his own half.

However, just before the 20th minute mark, Mbappe caught him out for the first time, which forced David De Gea into a smart save. Despite this, Wan-Bissaka was not fazed and instead went up the other end and joined the attack. He cleverly beat his man and following a cute exchange with Scott Mctominay, United went on to win a penalty. At the second time of asking, Bruno Fernandes tucked away the spot kick and the Red Devils went into half time a goal to the good. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ought to be very pleased that Kylian Mbappe and Neymar hardly threatened the United goal. This was largely due to the standout performances of both Axel Tuanzebe and Aaron Wan Bissaka, who worked together throughout the half to nullify the PSG threats.

The Second Half

The pair started the second half in the same fashion; however it was inevitable that the PSG attackers would begin to turn up the heat on the United defensive after such a stale performance in the first half. Despite numerous tackles and blocks following the resumption of the game, Wan-Bissaka could do nothing to prevent PSG from equalising. Paris Saint Germain equalised courtesy of an unfortune own goal from Anthony Martial. Following the goal, PSG gained momentum, in which Kylian Mbappe and Neymar sprung into life. Mbappe found his way through the United defence and it seemed inevitable that he would slot past David De Gea. However, Aaron Wan-Bissaka miraculously slid in to take the ball away from the French international. A superb tackle which truly epitomised his night. He followed this up with yet another goal-saving challenge; this time on Paris Saint Germain’s new signing Moise Kean.

The Change in Formation

Following the introduction of Paul Pogba, United switched back to a more conventional back four. However, the “spider” began to press forward uncharacteristically, despite his role changing; this led to several counter attacking opportunities that United wasted. Edging closer to the final whistle, United in possession and Aaron Wan-Bissaka hovered in a vacuum of space on the right-hand side of the pitch. It looked inevitable that Marcus Rashford would play the ball to the full-back. However he utilized the space created by Wan-Bissaka to get his shot away. The Red Devils retrieved their lead through a low-drilled shot from the English international. Although the strike was sensational, Wan-Bissaka deserves credit for pushing forward and creating space; this is something fans and coaching staff demanded of him last season

Manchester United held out the remaining few minutes to win in Paris for the second time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United received many plaudits for their deserved victory, however the performance of Aaron Wan-Bissaka went under the radar in comparison to fellow teammates such as Axel Tuanzebe. This is simply due to fans and viewers becoming accustomed to this type of performance from Wan-Bissaka. However, his performance was nothing short of exceptional, in which he showed no signs of fear in dealing with two of the most potent talents worldwide.

Author: Rajan Sangha