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A European Super League? It’s a no from me…

“A team died in 1958 to play in Europe, and this is our history being thrown away for money, by owners who know nothing about Manchester.”Ian Sterling of Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST)

On Sunday, rumours were rife about a supposed European Super League and there were 12 European football clubs that were willing to break away from the standard structure of European football. Six clubs in the Premier League were involved; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Three teams from La Liga in Spain; Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and three teams from Serie A in Italy; AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. There were also suggestions of three more clubs being involved meaning 15 clubs would start up this new league. However, the figure seems to be stuck at 12.

United beat Burnley 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday but immediately this win was taken away because of this Super League. Former United defender and captain Gary Neville was not please on Sky Sports, showing his displeasure live during the half time break of the match involving his former club. Talk then spread at full time with another former captain and midfielder, Roy Keane airing his displeasure in the breakaway. Former City defender Micah Richards also spoke his mind about this money grab in football – as that is what it really is. The whole suggestion of it is disgusting. It rips the heart and soul out of the game.

The Glazer’s have never really been a great fit at United. They took over the club by leveraging a debt against the club and have continued to take money away from the club in dividends and share sales, giving nothing back from their own pocket. United are still in a substantial debt and this Super League that seems to be propped by by JP Morgan, will put them in more debt, seemingly selling the souls of the club to the greedy so they can take more money off the top, cutting the hard-working supporters out of the game. This is really the ugly side of football. A side that should be kicked out of the game.

Earning money is necessary in life but greedy football club owners are not needed at all.

The funny thing yesterday is that Sky seem to have found a bad taste in the plans for the Super League, climbing up their own Ivory Tower and calling the six Premier League clubs out. I mean, it is not as if Sky have profited massively from this game and they did not set to to do just that from the inception of the Premier League in its inaugural 1992/93 season! Granted, this is a different kind of greed and it will spoil the game for millions of supporters all over the world. The greed of the Glazer’s and their stooge, Ed Woodward has been seen for what it is now and it has played out live during a football match.

Manchester United supporters have a bond with the club. They have supported it for many years, sometimes most of their lives. They have learned the history of the club, the traditions, the success, the failure and the tragedy. This is the embodiment of a supporter of this club. The majority know the trajectory of the club through the years. The blood, sweat and tears put into the club. The survival of bankruptcy and the survival of the club after the Munich Air Disaster which saw eight players die on their way back home from a European Cup match in Belgrade. The history of the club has been upturned and shaken out just to earn more money.

United literally lost the majority of a team to play in a European competition, which later became the UEFA Champions League. For ten years, United fought back from the aches of Munich to lift that blessed trophy in the honour of those that died a decade before. Sir Matt Busby steered United from death to glory to the pinnacle of Europe. In the years following Busby, United stuttered, were relegated and then fought back to reach the top-flight of English football once more. The years later, the success of Sir Alex Ferguson in his near 27-years at the help of the club brought that fighting spirit back once again.

The Glazers are greedy, money-motivated owners that don’t deserve Manchester United.

When Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United in 2005, a loan was taken out and leveraged against the football club. The Glazer family are clear of debt and for 16 years now, United have been stuck with a massive debt which is no closer to being paid off. Having a debt lowers taxes and that is a must for money-men like the Glazers. The history of this football club is just something they can market and profit from – they don’t care about the blood, sweat and the tears of the players, the supporters and the manager’s throughout the history of the club. They care about the strength of the love for the club, which is now dying in many places.

United have won many trophies during the Glazer’s ownership but that was down to one man; Sir Alex Ferguson. United have won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup in Ferguson’s time under the Glazers. Post-Ferguson, United have won one FA Community Shield, one League Cup and one UEFA Europa League. The success was not because of the Glazer’s – it was because of the merit of the manager (at the time), the players and the backroom staff. The Glazer’s don’t care about winning things, as has been seen post-Ferguson.

You see, the Glazers and Woodward celebrate impressions on social media, sponsorship deals and other commercial dealings which bring money to the club. More recently, the Glazers have ben celebrating the fact that United’s shares are at a high rate so they can sell some lower category shares to line their pockets some more – as if they have not taken enough already. The formation of this European Super League will create endless revenue streams for the Glazer’s, which is the success that seem to value. Cold hard cash. It will see the club turn its back on its traditions, history and more importantly, the future.

When history and tradition is eradicated from Manchester United, what is left?

Manchester United have a rich history and tradition. The club has always strived to create young players who rise into their first team and drive the team towards success. Granted, that does not always happen but there is a rich picking of youth coming through the ranks throughout the history of the club, winning trophies. Then there are special periods where players either succeeded or were stopped in their tracks by tragedy. The Busby Babes of 1958 were the ones that were stopped by tragedy but the Class of 1992 were the ones that went all the way to becoming the pinnacle of European football once again. On Sir Matt Busby’s birthday too.

United have a record which lasts more than 80 years having included at least one youth player that came through the academy in every league match. If United are no longer allowed to participate in the Premier League, or any other league in the land, that tradition stops right there – and there is a feeling that this tradition would continue for many years to come. United’s academy has some talented players in the ranks but what could happen with them. Surely many of them want to play in the Premier League, the Champions League, aiming to lift the famous trophies one day. What about their dreams? Let them achieve at another club?

You see, the Glazers have profited from the traditions and history of the club and they will presumably continue to do that in this Super League, but they will have ended those traditions and become a smudge in the very history of the club. Money is the route to all evils and that seems to be the very thing the Glazer’s want – money. These American owners don’t see to understand why leagues here have relegation, as they don’t in America. They don’t seen to understand the word competition. To do this would be a sad end to a once great football club. The Glazer’s will be the death of the club and they just don’t care about that.

What is being done to stop this greedy mess from ruining football for the United faithful and others?

It has been reported that FIFA and UEFA are against the formation of a European Super League. There are sanctions that can be brought against the clubs involved, but as sooner as that is said, the clubs can appear these sanctions in court – so there is no way to tell if the sanctions will be upheld or whether the breakaway clubs will win. UEFA has also suggested that clubs would be kicked out of UEFA led competitions; the Champions League, Europa League and the Super Cup. Players of the breakaway clubs could also be banned from playing for their countries in the UEFA European Championships and the FIFA World Cup.

There is a lot to lose for these clubs, all for a glorified friendly competition where a trophy with no history will be presented, plus bags of cash, which is the real prize the clubs are interested in. If these clubs are willing to bring an end to players striving to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, League Cup and qualify for European competition, they will be taking away hopes and dreams of the younger players too. The youth leagues will be affected. I very much doubt that United will be able to participate in the U18 Premier League, the FA Youth Cup, the Premier League 2 and the Papa John’s Trophy. What then? Abolish the youth teams and get rid of identity?

United are a club that has these traditions in the DNA. They largely predicted players from the clubs academy, bringing them to first team standard. The Busby Babes, Fergie’s Fledglings and so on. Then there are the league titles, of which United have 20; 13 Premier League titles and seven First Division titles. This success will mean nothing if the Super League is allowed to start. Money is not really what supporters want to see clubs winning as miscreant owners don’t use that money within the club, they use it one themselves. As Sir Matt Busby one said; “Football is nothing without fans.”.

The Premier League is holding a meeting on Tuesday with the 14 Premier League teams not involved in the Super League. This could result in teams involved in the Super League being suspended from the league, which is the worst case scenario. It is something that needs to be carefully considered though as the league will be severely weakened with these six teams being removed permanently. What a mess this has created.

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Fernandes, Greenwood and McTominay shone in defeat to to RB Leipzig as United exit Champions League

Manchester United were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening after losing 3-2 to RB Leipzig at the RB Arena. Angeliño opened the scoring in the second minute with Amadou Haidara doubling the lead in the 13th minute of the match. A third goal was scored in the first half, but VAR ruled it out for offside. United did conceded the third goal of the match in the 69th minute through Justin Kluivert but a penalty scored by Bruno Fernandes then a header from Harry Maguire got United back into the match seeking a third goal to stay in the Champions League. But the Europa League it is this season now.

It was another poor start for United this season as the hosts opened up the scoring in the second minute of the match with Manchester City loanee Angeliño firing Leipzig 1-0 on the first attack of the match. It was a dire position for United to put themselves into this early in the match. Their chances of continuing in the competition became slimmer. United were not able to recover from the hosts quick passing which threatened United all over the pitch. In the 13th minute of the match, Amadou Haidara doubled the German side’s lead, putting United on the brink in the competition this season.

Leipzig scored a third goal in the first half but VAR ruled that it was offside. That was lucky for United, who were well out of the match by that point. The first half ended with United 2-0 down and needing a big second half to remain in the competition. United had fallen from top spot to third-placed in the group at this stage of the match. At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made his first substitution with Donny van de Beek replacing Alex Telles, who was not at his best during the first half of the match, or in the past two matches – losing possession 15 times. United started to attack their hosts and break forward, and not gaining much.

Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 61st minute of the match with Brandon Williams and Paul Pogba replacing Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic. United needed to get themselves back into the match, posing a threat against their hosts, which had not been the case for the majority of the match. A draw here will see United into Monday’s draw for the round of 16 stage of the competition, otherwise they will be in the draw for the round of 32 in the Europa League. Fernandes almost scored, hitting the post, which was a shame.

Justin Kluivert scored Leipzig’s third goal of the match minutes after coming on, seemingly ending United’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 stage this season. United’s defence was worse than inept on the attack and both Maguire and David De Gea did not seem capable of stopping that goal from hitting the back of the net. This was a massive shambles for United and will cost them massively. Mason Greenwood won a penalty for United with just over ten minutes left. Fernandes took the penalty and scored a consolation for United, who needed two more goals to level the scoreline, to save face in the Champions League this season.

United scored against two minutes later with Fernandes sending the ball into the box and both Pogba and Maguire rising to collect the ball just in front of the goal. The ball was sent towards goal with the Leipzig keeper handling the ball into the back of the net. Pogba was originally given the goal, which was seemingly scored by Maguire, and later given to him. United just needed one more goal to level the score and remain in the competition this season. Despite a number of chances, United were not able to score a third goal and exit the Champions League, falling into the Europa League once again, which is not all that thrilling in all honesty.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Had no chance saving the first goal but should have got something on the second. As for the third, a player of his experience should have made the effort. Not impressed with his form of late. Henderson is waiting in the wings for his chance - perhaps he should start on Saturday?

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played well in the first half at times and did not make an error. It was a shame that United conceded twice in the half though. I'd like to see United play one game and keep a clean sheet, which could provide some confidence. Was replaced by Tuanzebe in the 78th minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Played some good defensive football at times and got forward for a lot of the match. His hesitation cost United for Kluivert goal. Scored United's second of the match, which was not enough to progress.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played better as a left-back than the third central defender. Was booked, somewhat harshly, in my opinion. Was replaced by Williams in the 61st minute.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

After this performance, you can see why United are rumoured to be interested in signing another right-back. AWOL for the opening goal, not good enough for the second and could have gifted the German club a third goal with a poor back heel. Replaced by Fosu-Mensah in the 77th minute.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a deep role which allowed McTominay to play further forward. Much of the match passed him by though, which is not a good point to make. United need to concentrate on their defence in January, focusing on a defensive midfielder and a central defender. But they probably won't apply that kind of logic.

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39 Scott McTominay

Took a while to warm to the match. Was one of the players determined ot try and get United out of the swamp they have placed themselves into. He can say he did his best, which is not something many others can say.

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27 Alex Telles

Poor from the Brazilian. Lost possession 15 times in the first half. Did not seem to be capable of doing much. He was replaced by Van de Beek at half time.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Booked in the fifth minute. Scored from the penalty spot once again. Had a shot saved and his the crossbar. This will be a bitter pill to swallow. United will now have to recharge their batteries and get ready for Thursday night football once again.

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11 Mason Greenwood

One of the bright sparks of the match. Should have scored himself. Showed a lot of ability and tried to get United into a good position. Won the penalty which got them started and close to staying in the competition.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Started the match quietly. he first half was not his best half. He slowly got into the second. Seemed to choose the wrong options most of the time. Did have a part to play though, despite the defeat.

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Substitutes

34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Telles 46'. Helped to change the game somewhat for United. Could have done a lot better though.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Shaw 61'. Got physical and stuck into the job in hand. Not sure why so many criticise him. He's a young player that has given his all when he's played.

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6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Matic 61'. It was all about him tonight, whether he played or not. Had some good involvement in the match. I'd like to see consistency from him though.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 77'. I'm not sure he really got into the match. United were on the attack for much of the final ten minutes and added time, seeking a third goal which never came.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Lindelof 78'. Did not spend much time on the pitch, or have much involvement. United were pushing for a third goal for much of the tine he was on the pitch.

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Goals: Angeliño 2′, Amadou Haidara 13′, Justin Kluivert 69′; Bruno Fernandes 80′ penalty, Harry Maguire 82′

Assists: Marcel Sabitzer 2′, Angeliño 13′, Christopher Nkunku 69′; Bruno Fernandes 82′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof (Tuanzebe 78′), Maguire, Shaw (Williams 61′); Wan-Bissaka (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Matic (Pogba 61′), McTominay, Telles (Van de Beek 46′); Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Grant; Bailly; Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo

Bookings: Nordi Mukiele 32′, Marcel Sabitzer 35′, Justin Kluivert 62′, Tyler Adams 81′; Bruno Fernandes 5′, Luke Shaw 43′, Harry Maguire 62′, Brandon Williams 68′, Victor Lindelof 77′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Rashford and Fernandes lead the line in Leipzig, Shaw returns, Pogba on the bench

Manchester United will travel to Germany to face RB Leipzig at the RB Arena in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League this evening. United top the group, albeit on goal difference right now and require a point to reach the round of 16 of the competition this season. Defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain have led to United leaving it late to reach the knockout stages of the competition this season. If they lose and PSG win, the UEFA Europa League could beckon once again. A win or a draw will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the round of 16 draw on Monday 14 December.

Leipzig will not be looking to face defeat like they did against United at Old Trafford earlier this season with United scoring five goals against the club. The German side will have seen that United are defensively imperfect at this moment in time, but United would have seen the same. The German club have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding three goals in each of their last two matches. United though have a similar problem – keeping a clean sheet once in five matches and conceding seven goals in their last four matches. This could be a good match but United will need to prevail.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Matic, McTominay, Telles;

Fernandes;

Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson, Grant; Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Williams; Pogba, Mata, Lingard, James, Van de Beek; Ighalo

RB Leipzig:

Gulácsi;

Mukiele, Konaté, Orban, Angelińo;

Sabitzer, Haidara, Kampl;

Nkunku, Forsberg;

Olmo

Substitutes:

Wosz, Sørloth, Tschauner, Halstenberg, Poulsen, Adams, Kluivert, Martínez, Martel

United and Leipzig have met once in the Champions League with United winning 5-0. United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [3-4-1-2] Martial and Rashford, with Fernandes in behind? Pogba to inspire United to victory?

Manchester United will travel to Germany to face RB Leipzig at the RB Arena in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. United top the group, albeit on goal difference right now and require a point to reach the round of 16 of the competition this season. Defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain have led to United leaving it late to reach the knockout stages of the competition this season. If they lose and PSG win, the UEFA Europa League could beckon once again. A win or a draw will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the round of 16 draw on Monday 14 December.

Leipzig will not be looking to face defeat like they did against United at Old Trafford earlier this season with United scoring five goals against the club. The German side will have seen that United are defensively imperfect at this moment in time, but United would have seen the same. The German club have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding three goals in each of their last two matches. United though have a similar problem – keeping a clean sheet once in five matches and conceding seven goals in their last four matches. This could be a good match but United will need to prevail.

How United have faired against RB Leipzig and other German teams in the European Champions Clubs’ Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

United and Leipzig have met once in the Champions League with United winning 5-0. United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League at the RB Arena on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea missed the 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Saturday evening with a knee injury. Hopefully he will be fit to face RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening. He started and played 90 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain last week in the Champions League, days after suffering a knee injury against Southampton, which saw hims substituted at half time with Dean Henderson replacing him and starting against the Hammers this weekend. If he is not fit, Henderson will be called upon once again in the elite European competition, hoping to have a better match than the one against Istanbul Basaksehir, which United lost 2-1 in Turkey.

Defenders: Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire

It is important that United’s defence find their feet as at the moment, it is the area that United seem to be lacking in. In their last three matches, six goals have been conceded with United winning two matches – coming from behind and losing the other, despite coming from behind the level the scoreline. A three-man defence might work against Leipzig with Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire all starting. Luke Shaw has played in a three-man defence this season, but it does not look like he will be fit to face the German side this week, which is a shame. Victor Lindelof could refresh his batteries if he is rested in Tuesday.

Midfield Four: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles

The midfield is key to this United side winning their matches. With a three at the back formation, the fullbacks will operate in midfield, playing further forward than normal, which for Alex Telles will be find as he regularly played in this position with Porto. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place on the right with both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay playing in the centre of midfield. United should be able to sort things with this formation as it gives three forward players just ahead of the midfield on the attack with the fullbacks providing the width and them pushing back in defence when needed, giving five at the back.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is the best player in this United squad this season and he has not been at the club for a year yet. He has scored ten goals and seven assists in all competitions this season. When he does not play, United seem to miss him, which shows how much he offers the club. It is important that United keep him fit and that rumours of clubs in Europe being interested in him are not true. United should be giving him a new contract based on the impact he has had at the club, ensuring that any attempt to sign him end with frustration for the club that wants him. This will be a busy week for United with Leipzig and Manchester City on the horizon.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are two of the brightest talents to come out of United’s academy in a long time. With the fact that Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial could be unavailable for the visit to Germany on Tuesday evening, the home grown duo could lead the line for United with Fernandes playing just behind them in his favoured position. Both Rashford and Greenwood scored against West Ham on Saturday so will be seeking to continue to guide United onto the right road, which should be the road to consistency. This is an important match. It is quite possible that Cavani and Martial could be involved in some capacity.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson, Lee Grant; Victor Lindelof, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Odion Ighalo

In the Champions League, Solskjaer will have five substitutions, which will help this month with seven more matches to be played before the 29 December. This will be the final Champions League group stage Marchand will decide whether United will be in the round of 16 stage draw on Monday. Dean Henderson and Lee Grant could be the goalkeepers on the bench with Victor Lindelof, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Brandon Williams available in defence. In midfield, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri and Nemanja Matic could be called upon with Odion Ighalo the only forward on the bench.

Written by John Walker

Preview: RB Leipzig -v- Manchester United – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 or bust for United

RB Leipzig -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

RB Arena, Leipzig

Tuesday 8 December 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

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

Fourth Official: Fabio Verissimo

VAR: Alejandro Hernández Assistant VAR: Ricardo de Burgos

Manchester United will travel to Germany to face RB Leipzig at the RB Arena in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. United top the group, albeit on goal difference right now and require a point to reach the round of 16 of the competition this season. Defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain have led to United leaving it late to reach the knockout stages of the competition this season. If they lose and PSG win, the UEFA Europa League could beckon once again. A win or a draw will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the round of 16 draw on Monday 14 December.

Leipzig will not be looking to face defeat like they did against United at Old Trafford earlier this season with United scoring five goals against the club. The German side will have seen that United are defensively imperfect at this moment in time, but United would have seen the same. The German club have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding three goals in each of their last two matches. United though have a similar problem – keeping a clean sheet once in five matches and conceding seven goals in their last four matches. This could be a good match but United will need to prevail.

Manchester United: WLWWWW

West Ham United 3-1 W, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W

RB Leipzig: DWWLDW

Bayern Munich 3-3 D, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-3 W, Arminia Bielefeld 2-1 W, Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 L, Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 D, SC Freiburg 3-0 W

Top Scorers: 10 goals for both Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford this season whereas Angeliño with six and Yussuf Poulsen with five are the top scorers for the German club.

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

United are inconsistent form this season in terms of building something that will develop into the magnificence that we have seen over the years. However, they do seem to be consistent in coming from behind to win matches and winning matches away from home, making it nine in a row after the victory over West Ham United on Saturday. Solskjaer’s side will need to do a lot better if they are to achieve something this season. The leaky defence will need to find a way to stop conceding poor goals with the attackers prevailing in scoring goals which will see United rise from the ashes of inconsistency.

RB Leipzig Goals: 6 – Angeliño, 5 – Yussuf Poulsen, 4 – Emil Forsberg, 3 – Christopher Nkunku, 2 – Amadou Haidara, Marcel Sabitzer, 1 – Marcel Halstenberg, Hwang Hee-chan, Justin Kluivert, Ibrahima Konaté, Nordi Mukiele, Dani Olmo, Willi Orban, Alexander Sørloth, Dayot Upamecano

Leipzig have been a positive side this season and suffered their first defeat against United in the second group stage match this season. In their last two matches though, six goals have been conceded which shows a defensive problem ahead of what will be an important match for the club on Tuesday evening which could see them continue in the Champions League or fall into the Europa League, which is the same fate that could happen for United. A 3-3 draw with Bayern Munich on Saturday will inspire the club against United, but United will be boosted by their victory over the Hammers, coming from behind once again.

Team News: Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial doubts for the match against RB Leipzig; David De Gea could return. Dayot Upamecano suspended, up to five other players could be missing too.

Phil Jones (knee) has been ruled out until after Christmas but he was not named in the squad for the Premier League or the Champions League, so he would not have been eligible to play, if fit, anyway. Luke Shaw (thigh) has returned to training but only has a 25% chance of featuring for United in this match, which seems unlikely. Perhaps he will be stepping up his recovery for the Manchester derby next weekend? Edinson Cavani (muscular) was injured against West Ham, as was Anthony Martial (groin/hip). David De Gea (knee) has a 50% chance for this match. Fred will be suspended after seeing red in the last match.

Dayot Upamecano is suspended for the clash with United at the RB Arena on Tuesday evening. The German club also have Fabrice Hartmann (ruptured knee ligament), Konrad Laimer (ankle fracture), Lukas Klostermann (knee), Benjamin Henrichs (Patella problems), Hee-chan Hwang (coronavirus) who are mostly unavailable for the clash with United. This is a big game for both teams with participation in the Champions League at stake. A win or draw for United will see the Red’s go through but Leipzig will need nothing less than a victory to remain in the competition this season.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford and Greenwood to lead the line with Fernandes in behind? Pogba to show his ability and drive United into the round of 16 in the Champions League?

United will have to find some answers to overcome their problems on the pitch this season. Whilst they have been pulling results out of the bag, especially away from home, they seem to concede many goals, which is the main thing that will need to be corrected. Playing a three at the back formation has been good for United at times this season, so playing it again could work. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford should lead the line with Bruno Fernandes in behind them. A midfield four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Alex Telles with a back three of Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire, ahead of David De Gea.

Match Prediction: One match played between these two sides with United victorious in a five-goal thriller at the Theatre of Dreams. This match may not be similar to that with both teams leaking goals recently.

United and Leipzig have met once in the Champions League with United winning 5-0. United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

RB Leipzig 2-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Rashford, McTominay and Cavani bright as Fred was sent off in 3-1 defeat to PSG in the Champions League

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening. Neymar opened the scoring in the sixth minute of the match before United equalised through Marcus Rashford in the 32nd minute. It seemed like a close match from there with Fred seeing red in the second half, when perhaps he should have been sent off in the first half, or at least substituted during the break. Marquinhos put PSG back in the lead in the 60th minute, after costly missed by Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani before Neymar sealed the victory in added time. United will have to do it the hard way.

It was a mixed start for United as they soon fell to an early goal, which is the story of the club recently. Neymar opened the scoring in the sixth minute of the match after Kylian Mbappe took advantage of some poor positioning by Scott McTominay in the midfield and drove the ball forward towards the United box. Harry Maguire got out to make the block but the ball looped in the air into the path of the Brazilian who beat David De Gea from an acute angle to put the Parisien’s 1-0 up in the match. It was an unfortunate goal for United to concede and they would need to get themselves back into the game at some point.

Fred looked to be in trouble in the 23rd minute of the match after he seemed to headset Leandro Paredes in an off the ball challenge after Bruno Fernandes was fouled in the PSG half. VAR looked at the possible red card challenge with the referee checking the screen himself, giving the Brazilian a yellow card, which was lucky. In the 32nd minute of the match, Marcus Rashford levelled the score for United after Aaron Wan-Bissaka kept the ball in play on the right and pulled it back for Rashford to strike from 20-yards which seemed to be heading straight into the hands of Keylor Navas but was deflected off Abdou Diallo’s leg instead.

United had a few good chances at the start of the second half with Anthony Martial missing a sitter, firing it over the crossbar and minutes later, Edinson Cavani through on goal, trying to chip the goalkeeper and hitting the crossbar only for Martial to see his effort blocked by Marquinhos. This would cost United with PSG taking the lead again through Marquinhos in the 69th minute of the match, which might have been offside but VAR allowed the goal to stand. A minute later, Fred was sent off for a challenge, which should not have been the case if Solskjaer made a substitution during the break, but hindsight is fantastic.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 74th minute of the match with Paul Pogba replacing Rashford, who seemed to be struggling with his shoulder. It wasn’t working for United so Solskjaer made a double substitution five minutes later with Donny van de Beek replacing Cavani and Mason Greenwood replacing Martial. In the last ten minutes of the match, United were seeking to get back into the match, pushing forward but PSG had made many defensive changes and were well stocked against the ten-man United despite Greenwood using his pace to break forward. United needed to do much better.

PSG nearly has a third goal with Mbappe advancing into the United area, two on one with Neymar also running into the box. The Frenchman tried to find the goal from an angle but was wide of the match. Solskjaer made a fourth substitution with Odion Ighalo replacing Wan-Bissaka in the 90th minute. With four minutes added on, United had some work to do but it turned out that PSG scored their third goal, a brace for Neymar, assisted by Rafinha. United have suffered their second defeat in the Champions League this season and their second home defeat to PSG in the competition. West Ham United away up next for United.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a few saves during the match but could not stop all three goals that he conceded, which was unfortunate. United need to sort out the defence in January.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did well defensively and got an assist for Rashford's equaliser in the 32nd minute of the match. He was replaced in the 90th minute by Ighalo.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Not his best match and not his worst. I though he was rather sluggish at times. Tuanzebe would have been better, as he played well against PSG in the first match this season but he was suspended.

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5 Harry Maguire

He is starting to look like the player United thought they signed again after a tough summer and an even tougher start to the season. Held his head high. Could probably do with a combative partner in the centre of defence.

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27 Alex Telles

I thought he was better going forward than he was in defence. It is not always going to be 100% perfect for every player on the pitch. It's a learning curve.

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39 Scott McTominay

Looks to be the player with fire in his belly. Did not let Neymar get his own way and was constantly on him, even stepping on him, although accidentally, which the Brazilian played on, as he does. Mature and a player needed at the club.

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17 Fred

Booked for what seemed like a head butt and should perhaps have been sent off. That happened in the second half as he was booked for the second time and sent straight down the tunnel. He will miss the next match in the Champions League.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Scored his ninth goal of the season, putting United level, which was perhaps fair at that time. I thought he was good on the right and could have perhaps done more. Seemed injured and was replaced in the 74th minute by Pogba.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder seems to have dropped in form after scoring ten goals already this season. He still played a part in the match but was not the inspiration that he usually is. All players will have bad days. Looked annoyed with himself when things did not work for him.

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9 Anthony Martial

Missed a sitter just after the break, which should have been United's goal to put them ahead. He really needs to sort out his form this season. Right now, there is not much to keep him in the squad as a starting player. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 79th minute.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Led the line well and should have scored after chipping Navas, but hit the crossbar and Martial's rebound was blocked. Came off in the 79th minute with Van de Beek replacing him.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Rashford 74'. Created something from nothing, but from there, could not do much for United. I still don't think he wants to remain at the club.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Cavani 79'. Tried to get stuck into the game but helped keep things ticking over. Added some variety whilst on the pitch. Should have replaced Fred after the break.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Martial 79'. He got forward a few times and tried to get something started, but it did not work for him or United.

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25 Odion Ighalo

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 90'. Came on with just added time to play. Did not have enough time to get into it, let alone find something for United.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 32′; Neymar 6′, 90+1′, Marquinhos 69′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 32′; Rafinha 90+1′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Ighalo 90′), Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Rashford (Pogba 74′), Fernandes, Martial (Greenwood 79′); Cavani (Van de Beek 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Williams; Mata, Lingard, James, Matic

Bookings: Fred 23′, s/o 70′; Leandro Paredes 38′, Marco Verratti 59′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani, Rashford, Martial and Fernandes start against PSG; Pogba and Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United are back in UEFA Champions League action on this evening as 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

McTominay, Fred;

Rashford, Fernandes, Martial;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Williams; Mata, Pogba, Lingard, James, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood, Ighalo

Paris Saint-Germain:

Navas;

Florenzi, Marquinhos, Diallo, Kimpembe;

Verratti, Danilo, Paredes;

Neymar, Kean, Mbappe

Substitutes:

Rico, Letellier, Kehrer, Di Maria, Rafinha, Kurzawa, Herrera, Bakker, Gueye, Dagba, Pembele, Fadiga

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-1-2-1-2] Rashford, Cavani and Fernandes to lead the line against PSG; Van de Beek, Fred and McTominay in midfield

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

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

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

Ratings: Fernandes the man who got United ticking, Rashford heading back to form, Telles impressive – good to see James score again

Manchester United beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Bruno Fernandes scored a brace in the first 19 minutes of the match with United winning a penalty in the 33rd minute, which was eventually scored by Marcus Rashford. United had a fair amount of chances in the match. Late in the match, the Turkish side scored a consolation from a set-piece with Deniz Türüç beating the United wall and David De Gea to eradicate the clean sheet in. Daniel James scored a late added time goal, adding his first in the Champions League in his career, which was good to see. United top their group with nine points.

United started out well against the Turkish side, keeping in mind how they fared three weeks ago in the first group stage match between the two sides. Marcus Rashford had a chance in the second minute, weaving through the box before forcing a save from the goalkeeper. In the seventh minute, Harry Maguire surged forward with the ball and fed Alex Telles, who won a corner off Rafael da Silva. Telles took the corner, found Edinson Cavani who had the ball flicked off him by Alexandra Epureanu which eventually found Bruno Fernandes, who found the back of the net with a. stunning strike of the ball to put United 1-0 ahead early in the match.

United doubled their lead in the 19th minute of the match through Fernandes once again, who now has 21 goals and 13 assists since signing for United in January. Cavani laid the ball out to Telles to cross into the box but the Turkish goalkeeper spilled the ball into the feet of the Portuguese magnifico who scored his second goal of the match putting United 2-0 up. In the 33rd minute of the match, United won a penalty, which could have sealed a hat-trick for Fernandes but he gave the spot kick to Rashford, who won it. The England forward scored his eighth goal of the season to put United 3-0 up in this match. United were playing some brilliant football.

The first half ended with United at 3-0 with further chances to put them into the winning position. It shows that United have some confidence and something in them in order to get the results that they desire. It also puts the defeat in Istanbul three weeks ago back into the past, where it will remain, until the ABU or the Ole Out brigade desire to bring it back to continue their agendas against the club and the manager. At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made his first substitute bringing on Axel Tuanzebe in replacement for Victor Lindelof, who seems to still be carrying his lower back injury that he also carried through the international break.

Tuanzebe was booked for a challenge in the 55th minute of the match, which means he will not be able to face Paris Saint-Germain in the clash at Old Trafford next week, which is going to add some problems for Solskjaer. In the 59th minute of the match, Solskjaer made a triple change with Brandon Williams replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who went straight down the tunnel, which is worrying; Daniel James replaced Rashford and Mason Greenwood replaced Fernandes. Almost immediately, Greenwood was through into the opposition box aiming to score but with the number of players in the box, he was unable to do anything to the advantage of United.

The Turkish side scored from a free-kick in the 75th minute of the match through Deniz Türüç, whose set-piece went right over the United wall with David De Gea making a diving save to deflect the threat. It looked as if the Spaniard made the save but the referee blew his whistle for the goal, which looking at the angled replay, showed that the ball had crossed the line meaning that United did not keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford. United seemed to be off the pace in the minutes up until the goal was scored, which might just have woken them up to avert the Turkish side coming back and opening the game, which was very firmly a one horse race, until that goal.

Solskjaer made his fifth substitute in the 82nd minute with United struggling with the Turkish side continuing to attack late in the match. Nemanja Matic replaced Martial to add some more defensive play to the midfield, which was needed to stop the Turks from getting another goal and opening the entire match, which is not something United would want to do. United then won a free kick in the 85th minute through Fred, who was fouled in United’s half. Cavani had a chance late in the match after seeing the goalkeeper off his line but it did not go to plan for the Uruguayan, who is searching for his 50th UEFA Champions League goal of his career.

It was not over for United, who scored a fourth goal in the match with Donny van de Beek, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James all running into the box. The Dutch international played the ball to Greenwood, who in turn found James in the box, who scored his first Champions League goal of his career. The Welshman will be full of confidence after that and his goal for Wales last week, which puts him in better form than he has been with the matches starting to stack up for United now. United will face Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary’s on Sunday, which will be another important match for United to continue their form on the road.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made his first save in the second half of the match, He did not have much to do in the first with United scoring three goals and having the lion's share of possession. He was beaten in the second half from a free-kick, which was unfortunate for him,

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well defensively, despite the Turkish team not having that much to offer in the first half of the match. He could have provided more when he broke forward. He was replaced by Williams in the 59th minute of the match, heading straight down the tunnel, which is worrying with Southampton on the horizon this weekend.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played well defensively during the first half of the match with United doing all the work and getting all the goals, ending the half 3-0 up. The Swedish international did not come out for the second half and was replaced by Tuanzebe, who played well against PSG at the start of the group stages of the competition.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led the team well throughout the match and continued to keep United driving forward to dominate the majority of the match. Playing in form at this stage of the season shows the type of player Maguire is, especially after every man and his dog was criticising him many months ago. Back him and you will see what happens.

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27 Alex Telles

His set-piece delivery and his crossing ability is what will keep him in the starting XI over Shaw. His first corner of the match resulted in Fernandes scoring his first goal in the match and he had involvement in the second too.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Great to see him start for United and he put in a performance worthy of seeing more football, especially ahead of Pogba, who has not looked interested for the majority of the season so far. He was involved in the fourth goal of the match, laying the ball off to Greenwood who provided the assist for James.

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17 Fred

Did his job in midfield and looked impressive alongside Van de Beek, who also started against the Turkish side.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Scored his eighth goal of the season, albeit from the penalty spot. Had a few chances in the first half of the match to get United ahead in the match. He was replaced by James in the 59th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

MOTM for me. Scored two goals in the first half and as United won a penalty, he gave the ball to Rashford, instead of aiming for his first hat-trick for the club. Fernandes is the go to guy for Solakjaer and as long as he is fit and playing in form, he will win United matches. Exactly what he was brought to do. Cracking player. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 59th minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

I think the Frenchman played better on the left-wing than he does when playing as the striker. I don't see Martial as the main striker in the team. If Solskjaer picks a forward two, Martial should be one of them but as a lone striker, Martial should not play there all of the time. United need not be too predictable.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Played his part in the match, aiming to have the ball delivered to him from the corner which resulted in Fernandes' first goal of the match. He seemed to be better at leading the line and has that predator like ability on and off the ball. His work rate on and off the ball was impressive and it looks like he has perfect control in everything that he needs to do to keep United on top in matches.

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Substitutes

38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Lindelof 46'. He was booked in the 55th minute of the match, which will rule him out of the clash with PSG at Old Trafford next week, which adds more pressure to United's defence, so either Teden Mengi could get a chance to impress of Eric Bailly will need to be fit and ready to go.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 59'. Did what he needed to do in the right-back position and could be called into action this weekend if Wan-Bissaka is not fit to face Southampton.

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21 Daniel James

Replaced Rashford 59'. Scored his first goal of the season and his first in the Champions League during his career. This will be a massive confidence boost for the Welshman. Perhaps his critics could lay off him and give him the time to find his feet. I bet you could not perform under the same pressure that he's under?

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Fernandes 59'. Got an assist against the Turkish side providing the ball for James, who scored his first goal of the season and his first in the Champions League. Good to see him play and it will be important that he starts to find more form to get him back into a starting position.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Martial 82'. Came on to do a job and protect the defence, stopping the Turkish side from attacking, which was not the case but his addition certainly helped to take the sting out of the attack.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 7′, 19′, Marcus Rashford 35′ penalty, Daniel James 90+2′; Deniz Türüç 75′

Assists: Mason Greenwood 90+2′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Williams 59′), Lindelof (Tuanzebe 46′), Maguire, Telles; Van de Beek, Fred; Rashford (James 59′), Fernandes (Greenwood 59′), Martial (Matic 82′); Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: Grant, Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Mengi; Mata, Pellistri; Ighalo

Bookings: Axel Tuanzebe 55′, Harry Maguire 86′; Martin Skrtel 78′, Mahmut Tekdemir 85′, Deniz Türüç 89′

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW