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Preview: Manchester United -v- Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League

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Manchester United -v- Paris Saint-Germain

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 2 December 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Daniele Orsato Assistants: Alessandro Giallatini, Fabiano Preti

Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri

VAR: Marco Guida Assistant VAR: Marco Di Bello

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.

Manchester United: WWWWLL

Southampton 3-2 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 L, Arsenal 1-0 L

Paris Saint-Germain: DWLWLW

FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-2 D, RB Leipzig 1-0 W, AS Monaco 3-2 L, Stade Rennais FC 3-0 W, RB Leipzig 2-1 L, FC Nantes 3-0 W

Top Scorers: Ten goals for Bruno Fernandes, nine goals for Kylian Mbappe as the two clubs are set to go head to head once again.

Manchester United Goals: 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Edinson Cavani, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have won their last four matches in a row after losing to both Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir at the start of November. That is a big turnaround for Solskjaer’s side, who have not always been playing good football. Against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, United have shown signs of complacency which has affected their game but in the latter match, against the Saints, they showed a winning mentality after falling 2-0 down in the first half to win 3-2 thanks to Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, who have both been in good form this month, Fernandes in the better of form scoring six goals and two assists with Cavani scoring three goals and one assist. They will be looking forward to facing PSG ay home.

Paris Saint-Germain Goals: 9 – Kylian Mbappé, 6 – Moise Kean, 4 – Ángel Di María, Neymar, 2 – Julian Draxler, Alessandro Florenzi, Mauro Icardi, Pablo Sarabia, 1 – Own Goal, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, Marquinhos

The French champions do not seem to be able to flaunt their stuff in the game this season. They don’t seem to be able to get the better of all their opposition at home and have come unstuck twice in the Champions League already this season, which must be something that they worry about days before their trip to the Theatre of Dreams for the second time in the past few years. In their last six matches, they have won three times, drawn once and lost twice, which is not exactly the form of a team that is the best at what they do. United will need to get the better of the French team and in their last two matches, that is exactly what they have done.

Team News: Three players out for United with PSG having four players out of action with three more minor doubts.

Axel Tuanzebe is suspended. Phil Jones (knee) and Luke Shaw (thigh) have been ruled out, although the latter was back in training last week. Paul Pogba (ankle), Scott McTominay (other), Anthony Martial (illness) and Alex Telles (knock) all have 50% chances of being available for the clash at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Eric Bailly (muscular) and Jesse Lingard (other) have 25% chances of featuring for United. Solskjaer will be seeking to field the best team he can and may rely on some of the above names to be passed fit for this important Champions League match at the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday. He should be able to field a side capable of winning.

Juan Bernat (ACL), Thile Kehrer (groin surgery), Mauro Icardi (MCL) and Julian Draxler (hamstring) have all been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams on the Champions League on Wednesday evening. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is a minor doubt with an unspecified injury along with left-back Layvin Kurzawa, who has a thigh injury and missed Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Bordeaux. Central defender Marquinhos is also a minor doubt with a groin injury and he also missed the draw with Bordeaux but should be part of the travelling squad to face United this week. I am sure PSG will pull it out of the bag to get their best squad involved in the match.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford to lead the line against Paris Saint-Germain? Donny van de Beek to keep his pace in the heart if United’s midfield?

Many feel that Solskjaer will pick a back three to face PSG, which is the formation that was chosen the last time the two teams met. However, I don’t see United playing that way at Old Trafford. I think four at the back will be the chosen formation with Scott McTominay, if fit, playing in the defensive role in midfield with Fred and Donny van de Beek tasked with linking up play from the defence to the attackers. Bruno Fernandes will play in the attacking midfield position just behind Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani with the trio tasked with scoring the goals against the French side. United should have enough to get the desired result with the talent on offer.

Match Prediction: Three matches played, two wins for United and one for the French side. This match will put United in good stead to win the group whereas a defeat could open the group.

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.

Manchester United 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW