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Player Ratings: United win again in Paris; Fernandes from the spot, Rashford with the winner; Telles superb, Pogba lively

Manchester United beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening. It was the second time that United had achieved a good result on the road in Paris with Marcus Rashford scoring the winner each time. United took the lead in the first half from the penalty spot with Bruno Fernandes scoring the second time with the penalty retaken because Keylor Navas was off his line. Anthony Martial scored a rare own goal ten minutes into the second half to put PSG level. It was the second own goal for United in as many matches, which is unfortunate. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with the result though.

United started the match in fine fettle with both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford seeing a lot of the ball going forward. Debutant Alex Telles seemed to fit right into the squad too, which is a good sign. Neymar had his first chance in the sixth minute of the match, cutting inside before being clattered by Bruno Fernandes, which was a fair challenge. United had their first chance three minutes later with Fernandes at the fore and Rashford lurking with intent – PSG were able to break the attack down though. United made a crucial save through David De Gea in the 12th minute with Neymar playing Angel Di Maria on the edge of the box and the Spaniard saving it.

A minute later, De Gea made yet another fine save with Kylian Mbappe whipping in a brilliant ball and Layvin Kurzawa charging in, getting contact on the ball with the Spaniard once gain making a brave save to deny the French champions. Martial then had a chance, but it was well off target. On another attack, United were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute after a challenge on Martial by Abdou Diallo. Fernandes took the penalty with Kaylor Navas making the save, however, he came off his line before the ball was struck, so the penalty was taken again. This time, Fernandes was in a mood to score, putting United 1-0 up with a fine finish.

PSG started to look uncomfortable after United took the lead and just did not see any of their tricks paying off in their bid to find an equaliser. The French side have not lost a Champions League match at home since 2004. There is a first time for everything though. Despite United’s defence seeming ramshackle in the fact that there is one experienced central defender, Victor Lindelof, the inexperienced Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw, who is a left back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Telles in the fullback areas. Neymar and Mbappe seemed to get into the game late in the half to no avail with United coming out on top at the end of the first half.

The second half started well for United with Rashford and Martial working well to try and double their lead, however, it not working out for them. At the other end of the pitch, De Gea produced yet another fine save to deny the home side from scoring. Inside ten minutes of the second half, it was all squad with PSG on the attack and Martial heading the ball into the back of he net from a defensive position. It was unfortunate for United but PSG have not been the better side so far with United looking more likely to score, and they have with both goals of the match. Wan-Bissaka defended well with Mbappe on the prowl to take the lead for the Parisien side.

United had a chance at the other end of the pitch minutes later with Rashford through on goal, running out of space with the ball going out for a corner. Telles took the corner and Scott McTominay, who was booked in the first half, tried to get United ahead, the ball being cleared and Martial then trying to correct his error with another chance on goal, which was just over the crossbar. United made their first substitution in the 67th minute of the match with Paul Pogba replacing Telles, who had a good debut for his club. Before the substitution, both United and PSG had chances on goal with both teams seeking to find a way to win all three points this evening.

In the final ten minutes of the match, both United and PSG had many chances to try and take the lead, but they were not happening. United looked lively with Rashford and Fernandes running into the box and every time that United looked to get forward, PSG looked out of their depth and it ended up with United at least getting into the box and sometimes getting a shot on goal. Neymar looked off his game tonight which will be a worry for PSG, who kind of need him to be fit and firing from all cylinders. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen, which seems miles away from the form shown in that match against Spurs.

United were not finished and were determined to get the result they wanted, another victory at the Parc des Princes. Rashford beat Navas with Pogba providing the assist at the same end of the pitch that he scored his penalty late in the game the last time United were in Paris in March 2019. It was a good match for United to rediscover their pedigree in the Champions League after quote a poor start to the 2020/21 season. United ended the unbeaten run for PSG at home which stretched back to 2004 with United having another glorious night in Paris in the Champions League. Now they will be able to get ready for the visit of Chelsea in the Premier League.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Performed some great saves to deny PSG during the match and looked ready to show his ability with the challenge of the Champions League coming thick and fast for United.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defensively,Wan-Bissaka played well against PSG on his Champions League debut and never really looked out of place. I would like see him get forward more on the right but in terms of his defensive contribution, he is a good buy for United.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Last played for United in December 2019 and looked in good form from the very start of the match. Made some good interceptions during the match.

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2 Victor Lindelof

A good defensive performance for Lindelof and that will be overshadowed with the performance of Tuanzebe, who will no doubt make some waves at the club this season, not that he his fully fit and raring to go for the remainder of the season. The iceman will be pleased with he performance and the result in France.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played as a left-sided central defender inn a back three against PSG and did what he needed to do defensively with Telles playing as the left-wing-back.

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27 Alex Telles

Created two chances for United in the first half and looked a breath of fresh air going forward. His crossing into the box seems to be good, but he will need to get used to his teammates and vice versa before things start to develop there. His set-piece delivery and his crossing into the box look good for United in his first match - hopefully that continues to get better as he plays more matches for his club. The Brazilian defender was replaced by Pogba in the 67th minute of the match. A good debut for a top player.

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39 Scott McTominay

Booked in the first half but did what he needed to do in midfield for United. Almost got United ahead at the within 16 minutes of the second half being played with PSG now level with United.

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17 Fred

Had a good game in the centre of midfield. His marking makes him a good player in matches such as this. He seemed to suffer an injury at one point but ran it off and continued for United with them pushing for the victory that they got.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The captain for the match took the lead for United from the penalty spot, scoring the second time after Navas was off his line when the ball was kicked the first time. He looked happy at half time - the media will not like that.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Looked lively against the Parisien side and used his pace to get the better of the opposition defence, nearly breaking through on a few occasions to help get United further forward, or ahead again (after the own goal levelled the score). Scored the winner for United in the 87th minute of the match. assisted by Pogba, who looked a different player in this game.

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9 Anthony Martial

Looked lively up front with Rashford as his partner. United used both attacking players to their advantage with their pace against the French champions. Unfortunately scored an own goal in the second half to level the match.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Telles 67'. Came on to give United a different dimension and seemed to do that. Some were saying that the change was enough to push for the victory. He got the assist for the winner.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 88'. Came on late in the game with United just taking the lead for the second time in the match. Should be starting and playing more minutes than he is but his strength training may be hampering that right now and it might all change in a number of weeks.

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Player Ratings: United win again in Paris; Fernandes from the spot, Rashford with the winner; Telles superb, Pogba lively

Replaced Martial 88'. Came on with two minutes to play to keep United running forward, which they did despite just scoring the winner before the Welshman was introduced into the match.

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Goals: Anthony Martial 55′ o/g; Bruno Fernandes 23′ penalty, Marcus Rashford 87′

Assists: Paul Pogba 87′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Shaw, Telles (Pogba 67′); McTominay, Fred, Fernandes (Van de Beek 88′); Rashford, Martial (James 88′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams; Pogba, Mata, Pellistri, Matic; Ighalo

Bookings: Neymar 34′, Daniel Pereira 84′, Moise Kean 90′; Scott McTominay 36′, Axel Tuanzebe 72′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial and Rashford lead the line against PSG; Fernandes, Telles and Tuanzebe also start; Pogba on the bench

Manchester United will return to UEFA Champions League action this evening as they face French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc de Princes in Paris in the first match of the group stages of the competition. In March 2019, United played at the stadium seeking to overturn a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford at the round of 16 stage of the competition, winning 3-1 with a late penalty which saw United go through on away goals, which was a good feat for United, led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was the interim manager of the club at the time. United were then knocked out by Barcelona in the quarter-final stage.

United reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League last season, exiting against Sevilla, who lifted the trophy at the end of last season. United achieved their Champions League group stage place with a third-placed finish in the Premier League, which was another good feat for Solskjaer, who had seen both good and bad in his tenure at the club by this time. United’s start to the season was not the best, suffering a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on their league opened, beating Brighton and Hove Albion in the second (3-2) but falling to a 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the third, returning to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Shaw, Telles;

McTominay, Fred, Fernandes;

Rashford, Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams; Pogba, Mata, James, Pellistri, Matic, Van de Beek; Ighalo

Paris Saint-Germain:

Navas;

Florenzi, Diallo, Kimpembe, Kurzawa;

Gueye, Danilo, Herrera;

Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar

Substitutes:

Rico, Letellier; Marquinhos, Bakker, Dagba, Pembele; Rafinha, Sarabia, Draxler; Kean

United have met PSG twice in the UEFA Champions League, which is also the only two competitive matches the teams have played against each other. The matches were played in the 2018/19 season knockout stages of the competition with United winning one and losing one. United have scored three goals against PSG with the French side scoring three against United. United won one penalty against the French side, scoring it. PSG have not won or scored a penalty against United. Over the two matches, United players were shown a total of seven yellow cards with a red card also being shown. PSG players were shown seven yellow cards.

In the first match between the two sides, which was played at Old Trafford on the 12 February 2019, United were beaten 2-0 and were seemingly in a position whereby they were likely to be out of the competition. Both Presnel Kimpembe (57′) and Kylian Mbappe (60′) scored the goals to sink United and Angel Di Maria, previously a United player, was given a villains reception at the Theatre of Dreams, celebrating his clubs victory. In the second leg on the 6 March 2019, a brace by Romelu Lukaku (2′ and 30′) cancelled out Juan Bernat;s equaliser (12′). It seemed like United were our but Kimpembe gave away a penalty, scored by Marcus Rashford (90+4′) to win the match.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead the attack against Paris Saint-Germain?

Manchester United will return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday evening as they face French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc de Princes in Paris in the first match of the group stages of the competition. In March 2019, United played at the stadium seeking to overturn a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford at the round of 16 stage of the competition, winning 3-1 with a late penalty which saw United go through on away goals, which was a good feat for United, led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was the interim manager of the club at the time. United were then knocked out by Barcelona in the quarter-final stage.

United reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League last season, exiting against Sevilla, who lifted the trophy at the end of last season. United achieved their Champions League group stage place with a third-placed finish in the Premier League, which was another good feat for Solskjaer, who had seen both good and bad in his tenure at the club by this time. United’s start to the season was not the best, suffering a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on their league opened, beating Brighton and Hove Albion in the second (3-2) but falling to a 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the third, returning to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United.

New summer signings Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani could make their first appearances for United against PSG, which will be good for the pair to step up their fitness levels, although there is a chance both may not be fit to start just yet. Anthony Martial will be eligible to play in this match as his suspension only covers Premier League matches, so Cavani could start against Chelsea next weekend, which will be good for him. If Cavani does make an appearance against his former club in the Champions League, he will be seeking his 50th goal in the competition, which could increase the competitiveness between the two sides.

How United have faired against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.

United have met PSG twice in the UEFA Champions League, which is also the only two competitive matches the teams have played against each other. The matches were played in the 2018/19 season knockout stages of the competition with United winning one and losing one. United have scored three goals against PSG with the French side scoring three against United. United won one penalty against the French side, scoring it. PSG have not won or scored a penalty against United. Over the two matches, United players were shown a total of seven yellow cards with a red card also being shown. PSG players were shown seven yellow cards.

In the first match between the two sides, which was played at Old Trafford on the 12 February 2019, United were beaten 2-0 and were seemingly in a position whereby they were likely to be out of the competition. Both Presnel Kimpembe (57′) and Kylian Mbappe (60′) scored the goals to sink United and Angel Di Maria, previously a United player, was given a villains reception at the Theatre of Dreams, celebrating his clubs victory. In the second leg on the 6 March 2019, a brace by Romelu Lukaku (2′ and 30′) cancelled out Juan Bernat;s equaliser (12′). It seemed like United were our but Kimpembe gave away a penalty, scored by Marcus Rashford (90+4′) to win the match.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper may not have had a good international break but against Newcastle on Saturday, he performed some top level saves to deny the home side from taking advantage. It is early days to suggest he is getting his form back but the signs are positive right now. United seemed a lot fresher after the International break and that fact that some of the players were able to get a break ahead of the PSG match on Tuesday evening is also positive. De Gea will need to find some top form to deny the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar from scoring at the Parc des Princes, but it is something that he and United’s defence is capable of.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence played a good game against the Magpies on Saturday. One goal was conceded and that was an unfortunate own goal scored by Luke Shaw. Harry Maguire, who has had a tough season so far, seeing red for England last week which piled even more pressure on him, responded with with a captain’s goal against the Magpies and guiding his team to victory. I would like to see him a bit more vocal in the squad, but the improvement is showing and perhaps people should cut him a little but more slack. Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored his first goal for the club and Victor Lindelof played well too. Alex Telles could make his debut against PSG, which will be good.

Midfield Two: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

Both Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba were rested against he Magpies with Pogba coming on with 21 minutes of normal time remaining with Matic coming on in added time. Both players will be fresh to take on PSG on Tuesday but Pogba will need to find some form. The last time he faced the French champions he was sent off in the 90th minute of the match – the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, missing the 3-1 victory in Paris. He will be able to play at the stadium this time but needs to put in a great performance if he is to start. He was terrible against Spurs. Matic is a reliable player and will need more rest periods throughout the season to remain fit and ready.

Midfield Three: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

Both Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial (suspended) did not feature against the Magpies on Saturday so will be fit and ready to go on Tuesday evening. The fact that Martial cannot face Chelsea next weekend will mean that Marcus Rashford might be able to have a rest period, albeit on the bench if he is needed against PSG, which might be the case. Bruno Fernandes played a good game against Newcastle, scoring an equaliser which was ruled out by VAR, missing a penalty but scoring the goal to put United ahead again. Those saying that he only scores penalties talk rubbish – he’s created 14 chances in the league so far this season.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan could make his United debut against the club he spent seven years at, winning six Ligue 1 titles, four Coupe de France trophies, five Coupe de la Ligue trophies and four Trophée des Champions trophies. That is 19 trophies in seven seasons, which is a good feat. The player is experienced and a leader on and off the pitch and could be a god send in the squad, a bit like the way Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the club in his short time as a player at United. Cavani has scored 49 goals in the Champions League in his career and will be seeking to score his 50th goal in the competition, also finding his first for his new club.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Fred, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay; Marcus Rashford, Odion Ighalo

Different to the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup (when it starts), all teams will have up to five substitutions in the Champions League and the Europa League this season. It may not be great but in terms of keeping the squad fresh, it will help as the season draws on, especially as the group stages of the competition will be completed in eight weeks this season. Dean Henderson could be the substitute goalkeeper with Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, and Axel Tuanzebe in defence, if needed. In midfield Juan Mata, Fred, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay with both Marcus Rashford and Odion Ighalo in attack.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Edinson Cavani to start, boosting Manchester United ahead of Paris Saint-Germain clash?

Paris Saint-Germain -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Parc des Princes, Paris

Tuesday 20 October 2020, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz Assistants: Pau Cebrián Devís, Roberto del Palomar

Fourth Official: Xavier Estrada Fernandez 

VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera Assistant VAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez 

Manchester United will return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday evening as they face French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc de Princes in Paris in the first match of the group stages of the competition. In March 2019, United played at the stadium seeking to overturn a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford at the round of 16 stage of the competition, winning 3-1 with a late penalty which saw United go through on away goals, which was a good feat for United, led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was the interim manager of the club at the time. United were then knocked out by Barcelona in the quarter-final stage.

United reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League last season, exiting against Sevilla, who lifted the trophy at the end of last season. United achieved their Champions League group stage place with a third-placed finish in the Premier League, which was another good feat for Solskjaer, who had seen both good and bad in his tenure at the club by this time. United’s start to the season was not the best, suffering a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on their league opened, beating Brighton and Hove Albion in the second (3-2) but falling to a 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the third, returning to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United.

New summer signings Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani could make their first appearances for United against PSG, which will be good for the pair to step up their fitness levels, although there is a chance both may not be fit to start just yet. Anthony Martial will be eligible to play in this match as his suspension only covers Premier League matches, so Cavani could start against Chelsea next weekend, which will be good for him. If Cavani does make an appearance against his former club in the Champions League, he will be seeking his 50th goal in the competition, which could increase the competitiveness between the two sides.

Manchester United: WLWWWL

Newcastle United 4-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 W, Luton Town 3-0 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 L

Paris Saint-Germain: WWWWWL

Nîmes Olympique 4-0 W, Angers SCO 6-1 W, Stade de Reims 2-0 W, OGC Nice 3-0 W, FC Metz 1-0 W, Olympique de Marseille 1-0 L

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford leading with three goals each this season whereas Kylian Mbappe has four goals for PSG.

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

United’s season has been mixed so far with defeats against Crystal Palace (3-1) and Tottenham Hotspur (6-1) and victories against Brighton and Hove Albion (3-2) and Newcastle United (4-1) in the Premier League. However, in the Carabao Cup, United have beaten both Luton Town and Brighton with the same 3-0 scorelines. So far, United have scored 15 goals in six matches, conceding 12 goals. Two clean sheets have been kept (both by Dean Henderson in the Carabao Cup) with David De Gea conceding all 12 goals so far this season. United will be seeking to start with a win in the Champions League after sitting out of the competition last season.

Paris Saint-Germain Goals: 4 – Kylian Mbappé, 2 – Alessandro Florenzi, Julian Draxler, Mauro Icardi, Neymar, 1 – Ángel Di María, Idrissa Gueye, Marquinhos, Pablo Sarabia

PSG started the 2020/21 season with 1-0 Ligue 1 defeats to RC Lens and Marseille. However, they returned to winning ways with five straight victories over Metz (1-0), Lens (3-0), Reims (2-0), Angers (6-1), and Nimes (4-0). If anything, if shows that the PSG are not the strong superpower of European football that they would like to be known as. Many see the French club as one of the best teams in Europe but they play against teams that would struggle in League Two in England and the quality of the better teams in France would be Championship quality at best. United don’t have a long history with PSG but on their day, they can beat them.

Team News: United could be missing two players against PSG with the French side having up to five players on the sidelines through injury.

United look set to be without both Phil Jones (knee) and Axel Tuanzebe (foot/ankle) once again, despite the latter training with his teammates on Sunday, the match might come too soon for him to be a starter but there is a chance that he could be one the bench. Sergio Romero looks set to continue his hiatus from the squad based on the fact that Dean Henderson is now the number two goalkeeper in the squad. Anthony Martial will be able to play against PSG but will miss the Premier League matches against Chelsea and Arsenal and he will be able to face Everton next month. Alex Telles could start against PSG, which would be good to see.

PSG could be without up to five players for the clash with United on Tuesday evening. On Friday, the club gave an update regarding the players on the sidelines and these are the ones that could miss this match; Marquinhos (groin), Marco Verratti (quadriceps), Julian Draxler (hamstring), Maura Icardi (knee), Thilo Kherer (groin). It will not be the end of the world for the French champions as they have more than enough players to field a team – as was shown on Nimes of Friday as they won 4-0 – but in the league they play in, it was hardly a test because for the most part, the quality of the teams in the league are rather poor.

Predicted Starting XI: Cavani to start up front for United, Martial on the left with Greenwood on the right? Rashford could be on the bench providing another option, also resting himself for the clash with Chelsea next weekend in the Premier League.

The victory over Newcastle on Saturday will have relieved a lot of pressure at the club. Harry Maguire’s goal came at the right time and so did the victory. United will be able to fly to Paris with a bit of confidence knowing that they can be the victors once again. Anthony Martial will be fully rested because of his three match suspension, which gives Solskjaer the option of resting another player for this match knowing that a player will at least not have been pushed to the limits ahead of the next match, which is a big one for United. Edinson Cavani could make his debut, providing he has trained to a good standard in the sessions ahead of the match.

Match Prediction: Two matches played between United and PSG with United getting the upper hand last time on that night in Paris. Could they do it again?

United have met PSG twice in the UEFA Champions League, which is also the only two competitive matches the teams have played against each other. The matches were played in the 2018/19 season knockout stages of the competition with United winning one and losing one. United have scored three goals against PSG with the French side scoring three against United. United won one penalty against the French side, scoring it. PSG have not won or scored a penalty against United. Over the two matches, United players were shown a total of seven yellow cards with a red card also being shown. PSG players were shown seven yellow cards.

In the first match between the two sides, which was played at Old Trafford on the 12 February 2019, United were beaten 2-0 and were seemingly in a position whereby they were likely to be out of the competition. Both Presnel Kimpembe (57′) and Kylian Mbappe (60′) scored the goals to sink United and Angel Di Maria, previously a United player, was given a villains reception at the Theatre of Dreams, celebrating his clubs victory. In the second leg on the 6 March 2019, a brace by Romelu Lukaku (2′ and 30′) cancelled out Juan Bernat;s equaliser (12′). It seemed like United were our but Kimpembe gave away a penalty, scored by Marcus Rashford (90+4′) to win the match.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League 2020/21 – Profile – Memories of March 2019 to come back into play?

Manchester United returned to the UEFA Champions League this season after finishing third in the Premier League last season. United last appeared in the competition during the 2018/19 season coming up against Young Boys, Valencia and Juventus in the group stages, finishing second to Juventus and coming up against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, losing 2-0 at Old Trafford in the first leg. A 3-1 victory in Paris saw United make the quarter-finals, coming unstuck against Barcelona losing 1-0 at Old Trafford and 3-0 at the Nou Camp. United will be relishing this opportunity to play in the elite European competition once more.

This season, United have been drawn against French champions Paris Saint-Germain, Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir and German side RB Leipzig, who finished third in the Bundesliga also reaching the semi-final of the Champions League last season, beaten by eventual runners-up, PSG. It is a tough group for United and one that they should be seeking to get the best out of from the very start as they will need to start strong this season in order to ensure they get out of the group and prolong their participation in the competition this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a strong squad although they are licking their wounds at this moment in time.

Team Background and Pedigree

Paris Saint-Germain were founded on the 12 August 1970 and are the oldest of United’s opposition in the Champions League group this season. The French club are the current Ligue 1 champions despite the 2019/20 season being cut short in France because of the coronavirus pandemic which hit earlier in the year – other European league continued three months later causing a delayed start to the 2020/21 season. PSG have won the Ligue 1 nine times, lifting the title in seven of the last eight seasons. The Parisian club has also won the Coupe de France 13 times, the Coupe de la Ligue nine times and the Trophée des Champions nine times.

In Europe, PSG have not been as successful as they have in France. They were the runners-up in the Champions League last season, losing to Bayern Munich in the final. The only European trophies that PSG has won in the clubs history if the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup during the 1995/96 season, beating Rapid Wien 1-0 in the final, also finishing as runners-up the following season, beaten 1-0 by Barcelona. PSG also won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2001, beating Brescia 1-1 on away goals after two legs. Aston Villa and Troyes also won that year with all teams advancing to the UEFA Cup not actually winning an honour so to speak.

Manchester United Connections

Former Manchester United players Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera currently play for PSG. Di Maria signed for United in the summer of 2014 for £59.7 million from Real Madrid. He made a total of 32 appearances for the club, scoring four goals and 12 assists. Despite his season at the club being close to abject failure, the player signalled his desire to remain at the club but weeks later was sold for at least a £15.7 million loss. Herrera signed for United in the summer of 2014 with United paying his release clause. He made a total of 189 appearances, scoring 20 goals and 27 assists for the club. Herrera won four trophies with United.

Players To Watch

Kylian Mbappe, 21 is one of the best young forwards in Europe right now and cost PSG €145 million plus a further €35 million in add-ons when he left AS Monaco in the summer of 2017. So far, the Frenchman has made 127 appearances, scoring 92 goals and 55 assists. Neymar, 28 left Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for €222 million and his career has taken a nosedive. He has made 88 appearances, scoring 72 goals and 42 assists. Mitchel Bakker, 20 was recently named in the 20-man shortlist for the Golden Boy award in 2020. He has made 10 appearances and has one assist. Bakker might not be a regular starter but is going to be a top player on day.

Where does Paris Saint-Germain play their home matches?

PSG play their home matches at the Parc des Princes which is located in the south-west of Paris within the 16th arrondissement located near the Stade Jean-Bouin, which is used for rugby and association football matches and the Stade Roland Garros, which is where the French Open (tennis) is held. The Parc des Princes holds a maximum of 47,929 supporters, although the coronavirus pandemic will mean that all matches are played behind closed doors at this time, which is a shame. The venue has been a sporting stadium since 1897, rebuilt in 1932 with the current stadium opened in 1972 and renovated in 1998. PSG are looking to expand to 60,000 seats in the future.

Who manages Paris Saint-Germain?

Thomas Tuchel is the manager of PSG and has been since May 2018 since he replaced Unai Emery. Tuchel was born in Krumbach, West Germany on the 29 August 1973, making him 47. He played youth football for TSV Krumbach and FC Augsburg. Tuchel played for Stuttgarter Kickers and SSV Ulm, finishing his career in 1998. Tuchel began coaching in 2000 with VfB Stuttgart leaving the club to manage FC Augsburg II for the 2007/08 season. He managed Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund, winning the DFB-Pokal. At PSG he was won two Ligue 1 titles, one Coupe de France, one Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophée des Champions.

When will the matches against Paris Saint-Germain be played, and where?

The opening Champions League match this season will see United travel to France to face PSG at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday 20 October 2020 with the match kicking off at 20:00 BST. It is expected to be an exciting match as former PSG striker Edinson Cavani could make his debut for United after his deadline day move to the club just a fortnight before. The fixture at Old Trafford will be played on Wednesday 2 December 2020, kicking off at 20:00 GMT. This will be the penultimate match of the group stage which should see one or both of these sides secure their place in the latter stages of the competition, or at least set the footing for that to happen in the last match.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW