Manchester United start their 2020-21 Champions League campaign with a trip to France as they face PSG. Whilst it has been a mixed start in the league campaign, the 4-1 victory against Newcastle on Saturday has moved United up in the table giving the team a much-needed boost going into an important run of fixtures ahead.
Having reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season being knocked out by the eventual winners Sevilla, we will be looking to build upon the progress made in Europe’s elite competition.
With a quick turnaround of games with Saturday’s league fixture against Chelsea coming up, Solskjær has important decisions to make on who will feature in the starting eleven for the game against PSG.
We already have a history with the French Champions as we beat them in the 2018/19 Champions League Round of 16. Already 2-0 down from the first leg at Old Trafford, we hit back with a resolute performance securing a 3-1 victory in Paris, going through on away goals.
It certainly ranks as one of Solskjær’s greatest nights in management and was the catalyst for him being offered the United job permanently.
United’s record in Champions League opening games is good only being beaten twice before. Firstly against Juventus in 1996/97, where Solskjær made his debut, and then against PSV Eindhoven in 2015-16.
Our opponents PSG are coming into the competition in good form with five wins in their last six games. In addition, they also reached last season’s Champions League final only to be beaten by Bayern Munich.
Teams: PSG vs Manchester United
Date: October 20th 2020 (Tuesday)
KO Time: 20:00 BST
Competition: Champions League
Stadium: Parc des Princes
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Managers: Thomas Tuchel and Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Edinson Cavani only trained with his new teammates on Sunday but has not travelled with the squad to Paris, being deemed not ready to start. Our captain Harry Maguire had aggravated a knock during the Newcastle game and didn’t travel for this game.
Ole said during the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, “we hope the players won’t be away for too long. Edinson needs a few more days of training before we can maybe think about the weekend. Hopefully Harry, Eric [Bailly] and Mason as well, but not sure about that.“
Mason Greenwood is out of the game as Ole declared, “I can’t declare medical stuff. Just a niggle, we don’t want to take any chances with him.“
Ole said ahead of the task during the Champions League campaign, “Everyone wants to be in the Champions League and we have drawn one finalist, RB Leipzig were semi-finalists and we’ve got the pleasure of welcoming Rafael back (with Istanbul Basaksehir). A fantastic group for us. This is the first time for this team to play against the best. This will probably be our biggest test so far (vs PSG).“
Axel Tuanzebe returned to training after recovering from a foot injury. Phil Jones is on the sidelines with a long-term knee injury and has not been included in the Champions League squad this season.
Bruno Fernandes said during the press conference after being asked about his form, “I think I am playing well in the last few months but you always have to improve and do better. I think I can do better. My numbers are good but I am sure I will do even better.“
On his fiery personality, Fernandes said, “I think I grow up like this, you know? It is the way I have to be. Sometimes it is too much, but I think I can help the team with the way I am. All players are different and you need all those characters to complete the team.“
The captain’s role has been given to Bruno for this game who revealed his joy at being given this honour, “I was not expecting this – I found out this the same time as you! It is an honour, an important achievement for me. The captain is everyone – everyone needs to help, be a leader on their way. The leadership is different in every player. It is not about me, but about the team.“
For our opponents, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel revealed that attacker, Neymar will be fit to face us on Tuesday. The Brazilian had been left out of their 4-0 win against Nimes on Friday but Tuchel said he was giving the player a rest after being on international duty.
Tuchel told the Manchester Evening News, “Neymar doesn’t have any issue. We talked together like I did with Kylian [Mbappe],” the PSG coach said. “We had an honest discussion and I decided to let him rest today. He will be with us tomorrow. He will be on the pitch, for sure.”
Manchester United form (all competitions): LWWWLW
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions): LWWWWW
- Manchester United haven’t faced a French side in the UEFA Champions League group stage since 2005/06 where we faced Lille. (Source: Opta)
- Six players have represented United and PSG, Ray Wilkins followed by Gabriel Heinze, David Beckham, Angel Di Maria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Ander Herrera.
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Telles, Pogba, Matic, Van De Beek, Fernandes, Martial and Rashford.
Whilst the 4-1 victory against Newcastle has given the United players a much-needed confidence boost ahead of this tie. We will need to be on top of our game so that it will not be a tough night in Paris for us.
On paper and form, PSG looks better than us at the moment and are currently unbeaten in their last 24 Champions League home group stage matches.
United will need to invoke the spirit of our 3-1 victory back in 2019 if we are to get anything out of this game.
Predicted Score: Manchester United 1-1 PSG