Organization, "Amazing.Bet"Manchester United vs Paris Saint-Germain, Tuesday February 12th, 15:00, Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent Manchester United turn to the Champions League and the visit of Paris Saint-Germain.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent Manchester United turn to the Champions League and the visit of Paris Saint-Germain.
Having seen off stern challenges from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal since taking over at Manchester United, it’s another tough test for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he makes his Champions League debut in the Old Trafford dugout.
Paris Saint-Germain represent a genuine concern for the Red Devils, as the big-spending Ligue 1 side have made success on the continent a priority – millions haven’t been thrown at Neymar and the like just to rule France. The injured Brazilian won’t feature on Tuesday – unless there’s a party nearby, since his broken metatarsal didn’t prevent a birthday bash earlier in February.
A defeat to Lyon at the start of the month did little to undermine PSG’s domestic title ambitions, with Thomas Tuchel’s side still holding a commanding lead over Lille and L’OL.
PSG’s attention has very much been on the Champions League after they were comfortably eliminated in the Round of 16 last year, losing 5-2 across two legs to Real Madrid.
But success in Europe is not as easy as spending huge amounts of cash, as United and Solskjaer know well. It was the Norwegian who delivered Sir Alex Ferguson’s first European Cup with a dramatic intervention in the 1999 final against Bayern Munich, but despite United having frequently been in the competition since then they’ve won it only once more, in 2008.
United came out of a tough Group H, behind Juventus but ahead of Valencia, while PSG topped Group C ahead of Liverpool and Napoli. And since then there’s been a change of manager, Solskjaer for Jose Mourinho, while PSG have set about confirming their domestic superiority.
Solskjaer’s enterprising young team don’t shut up shop and defend, but they do counter-attack, and effectively so. PSG, meanwhile, scored 17 goals in the tournament’s group stage and are closing in on 70 league goals, so there should be goals here too. A score draw – 2-2 will leave the tie on a knife-edge for the second leg.
Even without Neymar, the likes of Edinson Cavani, former United man Angel Di Maria and wonder kid Kylian Mbappe will carry a scoring threat – and so too Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
United have been involved in five games with more than 3.5 goals since Solskjaer was appointed, while PSG averaged almost three goals a game in the Champions League group stage, meaning bookies should be aware of goals here.
Head to Head
United and PSG have never met in a competitive fixture.
Mbappe – who only turned 20 in December – has scored more goals than games played in 2018-19.
Pogba and Martial were World Cup winners in 2018 with France, along with PSG’s Mbappe, Presnel Kimpembe and Alphonse Areola.
Di Maria spent only one season as a United player, 2014-15, making 32 appearances and scoring four goals, before transferring to PSG.
Pogba and Areola were part of the same France Under-20 squad for the 2013 World Cup, won by Les Blues on penalties. Pogba captained the team, which also contained Kurt Zouma, Lucas Digne, and Samuel Umtiti.