Manchester United will be back in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday evening when they welcome Paris Saint-Germain to the Theatre of Dreams in their second meeting of the season. United, managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently top the group with nine points with the French side, managed by Thomas Tuchel sitting in second place with six points. The Parisien’s will be hoping that a victory over United would see them top the group, but United’s heavy goal difference puts a spanner in the works, unless they beat United by five goals, which seems far fetched even with the fact United’s defence has been poor in recent weeks.
United have not beaten PSG at the Theatre of Dreams, losing 2-0 in the competition during the 2018/19 season, which seems to have inspired United to go to Paris and win on away goals, knocking the French club out of the competition. It is their own form this season that has seen them stutter in the competition with four matches played, two won and two lost. United will be riding on their own confidence ahead of the match, which could be a major threat to the French champions, especially with former player Edinson Cavani in good form and likely to feature against his former club this week. Come on United.
How United have faired against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
United and PSG have played competitively a total of three times in the history of the both clubs. United have won twice, PSG have won once. All of the matches have been played in the Champions League. United have scored five goals against PSG; winning two penalties – scoring both of them. PSG have scored four goals against United; winning no penalties. United have failed to keep a clean sheet against PSG with the French side keeping one. In terms of discipline, United have been shown eight yellow cards and one red card whereas PSG have been shown 10 yellow cards and no red card against United.
The first match between the two sides was a 2-0 victory to the French side with United looking like they were out of the Champions League during the 2018/19 season. However, at the Parc des Princes, a 3-1 victory ensured United remained in the competition with Romelu Lukaku scoring a brace and Marcus Rashford scoring an injury time penalty to put United through on away goals. This season in the group stages of the competition, United beat PSG 2-1 at the Parc des Princes with Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty, Anthony Martial scoring an own goal and Rashford once again scoring at the Parc des Princes to win the game for United.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
I fully expect David De Gea to be fit for the PSG match as he was sat in the stands after Dean Henderson replaced him again not Southampton, which to me says that his injury was not serious enough to see him receive treatment in the dressing room during the remainder of the match. If he is not fit to play, Dean Henderson will get his second Champions League appearance this season. I have as much confidence in him as he has in himself. United will need a good goalkeeper against PSG and De Gea would be preferred as he has faced them three times before, so knows just what to expect. United will be seeking to win this, giving them a dead rubber in the final match against RB Leipzig next week.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United need to find some form in defence as it seems to be too easy to penetrate at this time. If United played in the same way they did against Southampton, with PSG, the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, not to mention Angel Di Maria would thrive. In this match, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles should keep their places at fullback. Some expect United to play three at the back but because of a lack of defenders, I think Solskjaer will keep to a four at the back, knowing that he has five substitutes, so could change the formation if needed. In this case, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will keep their places in the centre with Axel Tuanzebe suspended.
Midfield Two: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Fred
A midfield diamond did not work as well as it could have against Southampton at the weekend, especially in the first half as United conceded two goals in the first 33 minutes of the match. Against PSG, it worked late in the game as United looked to attack after Anthony Martial scored an own goal to level the score and Marcus Rashford scored the winner to get all three points. In this match, with Nemanja Matic playing on Sunday it will rely on Scott McTominay being fit to get the best players on the pitch to neutralise the threat of PSG. Fred and Donny van de Beek should also keep their places in the team as they will be able to deal with the threat as a trio.
Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes
The Portuguese midfielder is in great form this season, already scoring his tenth goal of the season against Southampton, which shows just what he is made of. He has six assists to his name too, making him on of the first names on the team sheet this season. The player is great at taking penalties, despite some recent misses, although one was retaken and he scored, so probably does not count. He can score some great goals inside and outside the box too and has been trying to get more in the last few matches. A United team without Fernandes loses its spark. Solskjaer will know this but this month, rotation will become key.
Forward: Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford
Edinson Cavani deserves to start against his former club as he has been playing with confidence and should be rewarded for his part in United’s victory over Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday. The Uruguayan showed his ability in predatory fashion with his headers which sank the Saints. PSG will know how deadly he can be as a striker, which might worry them enough to screw their tactics up. Marcus Rashford should start alongside the striker as he looks to find his form again, which was last present against RB Leipzig when he scored his first hat-trick of his career. Getting the best out of Rashford, alongside Cavani could be deadly.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Brandon Williams; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic; Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Odion Ighalo
United have up to five substitutes to use in the Champions League, which will allow Solskjaer to utilise more of his squad in the competition which will help with fatigue, especially with nine matches to play in December. Dean Henderson could be the replacement goalkeeper (if De Gea is fit). In defence, Eric Bailly could be back with Tim Fosu-Mensah and Brandon Williams. In midfield, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri and Nemanja Matic could be called upon to add something to the squad. In attack, Anthony Martial (if fit), Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo could all provide something from the bench if needed.
Written by John Walker