Menu

Predicted XI: [4-1-2-1-2] Solskjaer to bring back the midfield diamond against Leipzig? Rashford and Martial to lead the line?

Manchester United return to action in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome RB Leipzig to Old Trafford for the first time in the history of European competition. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to get back to winning ways after that dire 0-0 draw against Chelsea at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening. The victory over Paris Saint-Germain will boost United’s confidence in the competition as they come against the German side that has not been beaten so far this season, only dropping points to Bayern Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann will be seeking a good result in Manchester.

Solskjaer will once against have the services one Anthony Martial for this match with him being suspended domestically for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur, of which he will sit out one more match; the Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday. United rested both Axel Tuanzebe, who played well in his first match after a ten-month injury layoff and summer signings Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles against Chelsea with the trio being fit to face Leipzig. Harry Maguire returned from injury which kept him out against PSG and Edinson Cavani made his United debut, from the bench and almost scoring.

United will be seeking an early qualification from their group with all six group stage matches being played in just eight weeks, with one match each week, then the last international break of 2020 taking a two-week period after three matches have been played, with the following three coming in the weeks after. A win against Leipzig and two wins over Istanbul Basaksehir could see United through with two matches left to play. A defeat or a draw could prolong United group stages into the final two matches, dependant on what happens in the other matches to be played in the group. Solskjaer will be hoping that his toughly United side can prevail.

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

United and Leipzig have not yet met competitively in Europe but 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 Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper’s form has grown this season and he seems to have rebuilt his confidence and is slowly returning to that goalkeeper that we all know he is, which is great news. United could do with De Gea having a long spell of good form, which will build his confidence up even more and bring out the best of United’s defence. The fact that Dean Henderson is pushing to get a chance is a good thing too as it will bring out the best in both goalkeepers, which will benefit United from one competition to the next. As yet, Henderson has only played in the Carabao Cup but he will get his chance in other competitions at some point.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

The defence has improved since that 1-6 defeat to Spurs earlier in the month which is a great sign. United kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League the season against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Saturday which was also the first 0-0 draw of the season. The result was perhaps a bit of a let down but it keeps United’s record against Chelsea in good stead. Axel Tuanzebe should be starting this match, despite playing 90 minutes once after a ten-month absence, he should be ready. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles should start in the fullback roles with Harry Maguire starting his first match in the Champions League for United.

Midfield Three: Donny van de Beek, Fred, Paul Pogba

The midfield is an area where United perhaps have a lot of depth and strength but it is also an area that seems to be heavily criticised by the media and the so-called supporters of the club who only seem to know how to moan and have higher standards because of their lack of knowledge of most things football. Donny van de Beek has not been playing a lot of football this season, perhaps working on something in the background – strength maybe, so could be called into action in this match. Fred and Paul Pogba could both start with United playing a midfield diamond, which would be a positive formation against the Bundesliga club.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has been a great signing for United and alongside Marcus Rashford, is the clubs highest goalscorer this season with four goals a piece. The Portuguese midfielder did not look happy with the match on Saturday which will have been working overtime in his mind, inspiring him to lead from the front and help United get a much better result at Old Trafford against Leipzig, a team that United have not yet played competitively in European competition. Fernandes has the ability to be unplayable on his day and he has the strengths and abilities to make things happen for United, which shows how much of a great signing he was for the club.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, AnthonyMartial

Anthony Martial will be eligible to face Leipzig at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening after sitting out a domestic suspension following his red card against Spurs. Whilst many will be suggesting that Edinson Cavani should start alongside him in a forward two, I think it will be Marcus Rashford that will be starting as he seems to be the player in form so far this season with Martial not yet scoring his first goal for the club, aside of that own goal in Paris last week. Cavani seemed in good form at the weekend but may lack that match fitness to start, which might well be something I am wrong about. Bringing him on late in the match could work.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay; Edinson Cavani, Odion Ighalo

United will have up to five substitutes in the Champions League this season, compared to the three they can use in domestic matches. This could work well with players becoming much fresher as the season grows on. In goal, Dean Henderson will take his spot, waiting for his first chance in the Champions League. Defensively, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw could be there should they be required. In midfield, perhaps the strongest area in the squad, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could well be needed in the match. In attack, Edinson Cavani and Odion Ighalo could well offer something late in the match.

Written by John Walker

Preview: A United victory over Leipzig would set Solskjaer’s side up well in the Champions League

Manchester United -v- RB Leipzig

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 28 October 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Matej Jug Assistants: Tomaž Klančnik, Grega Kordež

Fourth Official: Asmir Sagrković

VAR: José María Sánchez Assistant VAR: Bas Nijhuis

Manchester United return to action in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome RB Leipzig to Old Trafford for the first time in the history of European competition. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to get back to winning ways after that dire 0-0 draw against Chelsea at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening. The victory over Paris Saint-Germain will boost United’s confidence in the competition as they come against the German side that has not been beaten so far this season, only dropping points to Bayern Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann will be seeking a good result in Manchester.

Solskjaer will once against have the services one Anthony Martial for this match with him being suspended domestically for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur, of which he will sit out one more match; the Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday. United rested both Axel Tuanzebe, who played well in his first match after a ten-month injury layoff and summer signings Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles against Chelsea with the trio being fit to face Leipzig. Harry Maguire returned from injury which kept him out against PSG and Edinson Cavani made his United debut, from the bench and almost scoring.

United will be seeking an early qualification from their group with all six group stage matches being played in just eight weeks, with one match each week, then the last international break of 2020 taking a two-week period after three matches have been played, with the following three coming in the weeks after. A win against Leipzig and two wins over Istanbul Basaksehir could see United through with two matches left to play. A defeat or a draw could prolong United group stages into the final two matches, dependant on what happens in the other matches to be played in the group. Solskjaer will be hoping that his toughly United side can prevail.

Manchester United: DWWLWW

Chelsea 0-0 D, Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 W, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Brighton 3-2 W

RB Leipzig: WWWWDW

Hertha Berlin 2-1 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 W, FC Augsburg 2-0 W, FC Schalke 04 4-0 W, Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 D, FSV Mainz 05 3-1 W

Top Scorers: 17 goals scored for both teams this season with United playing one more competitive match (eight) than Leipzig (seven). Can Edinson Cavani open his account with United this week?

Manchester United Goals: 4 – 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 not been as bad as some make out. The 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace and the 1-6 defeat to Spurs have not defined anything really. They are two bad results from a period that United were lacking something; mainly match fitness. It is all well and good to think about things on paper but realistically, this was always likely to happen at some stage this season. The fact that last season dragged on into the summer and no pre-season being planned because of the month between the last season ending and this one starting was a major factor in the start to the season. United are now showing form and are able to steer away from the defeats.

RB Leipzig Goals: 4 – Angelino, 3 – Yussuf Poulsen, 2 – Amadou Haidara, Emil Forsberg, 1 – Dayot Upamecano, Hwang Hee-chan, Marcel Halstenberg, Marcel Sabitzer, Own Goal, Willi Orban

Leipzig will be the team to beat for United. They have started the season unbeaten dropping points against Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and beating FC Nürnberg in the first round of the DFB-Pokal this season and Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in the first group stage match of the Champions League. United and Leipzig have never played a competitive match in the history of both clubs, so it will be another unknown meeting. The German club sold Timo Werner to Chelsea in the summer and could have lost Dayot Upamecano, who is considered as one of their star players at the club currently, so they will still require a bit of fight to get a result.

Team News: Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek to make their first starts against Leipzig at Old Trafford?

Anthony Martial is available to feature for United in the Champions League against RB Leipzig on Wednesday night after serving two of his three match suspension, which will see him serve his final match against Arsenal on Sunday, being available to feature in the Premier League against Everton. United have three players on the sidelines through injury; Phil Jones (knee), who has not been named in any squad this season, Jesse Lingard (other), Eric Bailly (muscular). It is expected that Edinson Cavani is fit and ready to go, which will take the strain off Marcus Rashford a little as the matches start to come thick and fast at this stage of the season.

Leipzig have some injury/illness problems head of the visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening with seven players on the sidelines with Amadou Haidara (COVID-19 isolation) unlikely to face United after testing positive for COVID-19 on the 20 October and will have to isolate for at least ten days. Lukas Klostermann (knee surgery), Konrad Laimer (ankle fracture), Fabrice Hartmann (knee ligament rupture), Marcel Halstenberg (personal), Nordi Mukiele (hamstring) and Tyler Adams (MCL) are all injury doubts with only Halstenberg likely to be an option providing his personal situation allows him to return to the fold.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford and Martial to lead the line against Leipzig? Fernandes, Pogba and Van de Beek in midfield with Telles and Tuanzebe returning to the defence?

I am sure that many will be expecting to see a three at the back formation against Leipzig on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford. However, I don’t think that is what will happen. I get the impression that Solskjaer will not set up his side like that at the Theatre of Dreams. In the latter stages of the match against PSG, when Paul Pogba came on, United seemed to revert to a midfield diamond which helped to win them the match. I think that this could be the case against the Bundesliga leaders later this week. It would be good to see the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Pogba and Donny van de Beek playing together in midfield with Fred playing the defensive role.

Match Prediction: Leipzig is an unknown challenge for United this season having never met their German opposition, despite playing clubs from the same country 31 times in European competition.

United and Leipzig have not yet met competitively in Europe but 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.

Manchester United 2-1 RB Leipzig

Written by John Walker

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

21 Daniel James

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.

12345

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

Istanbul Basaksehir – UEFA Champions League 2020/21 – Profile – Welcome to Hell is a distant memory, this could be a new one…

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

The Turkish champions were founded in 1990 as İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality), so has been in existence for 30 years now. However, on the 5 June 2014, just six years ago, the club was renamed İstanbul Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü. It is one of the six Süper Lig teams to be based in Istanbul – the others being Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Fatih Karagümrük S.K. and Kasımpaşa. The Turkish side has won the 2. Lig twice (1992/93 and 1996/97), also winning the 1. Lig once (2013/14). During the 2019/20 season, they won the Süper Lig for the first time, having been the runners-up in the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons.

The club has also won the Turkish Cup twice, during the 2010/11 and 2016/17 seasons. In terms of a pedigree in Europe, the Turkish champions have played just 30 matches in European competition. They have participated in the UEFA Europa League, playing 24 times, winning seven times, drawing six but losing 11 times. They have also appeared in the UEFA Champions League six times, winning once, drawing twice and losing three times. They are expected to be the easiest team to play against in the group, but that is based on their pedigree in Europe and could be very much different when a ball is kicked.

Manchester United Connections

There is just one former United player that currently plays for the Turkish side, signing for the club on the 8 September 2020 on a free transfer, leaving Lyon; Rafael Pereira da Silva. The 30-year-old was signed by United in January 2008 alongside his twin Fábio Pereira da Silva, who currently plays for Nantes in France. Both players were unable to play for United until they turned 18 later that summer. Rafael made 170 appearances for United, scoring five goals and 15 assists in his time at the club. He was sold to Lyon for £2.5 million in the summer of 2015, for a low fee and perhaps ahead of his time at the club. He will be looking forward to meeting up with United.

Players To Watch

Rafael Pereira da Silva will be a player to keep an eye on, for obvious reasons but there are a few other familiar names in the Turkish sides squad this season; former Tottenham Hotspur winger Nacer Chadli, former Chelsea forward and Steven Gerrard slip advantage taker Demba Ba also former Liverpool defender Martin Škrtel. Ba scored 13 goals for his club last season, but this season they do not seem to be as strong as they were last season, starting poorly in the league and currently sit at the bottom with just one point in four matches. Of course, by the time they face United, they will have either improved, or hit rock bottom and will be taken for granted.

Where does İstanbul Başakşehir play their home matches?

İstanbul Başakşehir play their home matches at the Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium. The stadium broke ground on the 1 June 2011 and was opened on the 26 July 2014, taking just over three years to complete. The stadium is located in the Başakşehir district of İstanbul and was named after the successful Turkish footballer and national team manager Fatih Terim, 67 and the current manager of cross city rivals Galatasaray. In normal times, a total of 17,156 supporters would fit into the stadium, so it would have been a relatively small venue for United, based on the size of Old Trafford and the other stadiums they have played in all around the world.

Who manages İstanbul Başakşehir?

Okan Buruk is the current manager of İstanbul Başakşehir. He was born in Istanbul, Turkey on the 19 October 1973 and is 46 years old. He started managing the club on the 11 June 2019 and won the Süper Lig title in his debut season at the club, which was a good start for him. Buruk started his played career at Galatasaray at youth level, reaching the first team in 1991, plain for ten years at the club. He also played for Inter Milan, Beşiktaş and İstanbul Başakşehir before retiring. He has managed Elazığspor, Gaziantepspor, Sivasspor, Göztepe, Akhisarspor and Çaykur Rizespor – spending a season at each club before arriving back at his former club.

When will the matches against Istanbul Basaksehir be played, and where?

United will face the Turkish champions in back to back matches in the group stages this season with the third group stage match being played at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium in Istanbul on Wednesday 4 November 2020 with kickoff scheduled for 17:55 GMT. The reverse fixture will be played at Old Trafford almost three weeks later on the 24 November 2020 with kickoff scheduled for 20:00 GMT. Both teams, having played both Paris Saint-German and RB Leipzig by the time they first meet, could be in the position whereby they need to get some points on the board, if the worst came to the worst, which hopefully will not be the case for United.

Written by John Walker

RB Leipzig – UEFA Champions League 2020/21 – Profile – A new dawn and a new opponent for United

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

RB Leipzig are the youngest team in this group, founded on the 19 May 2009, just over 11 years ago. In their debut season (2009/10), Leipzig won the NOFV-Oberliga Süd, the fifth tier of German football with 80 points and won promotion to the Regionalliga Nord. The club then played in the fourth tier of German football for three seasons, winning promotion in the 2012/13 season to 3. Liga, the third tier of German football. Leipzig were promoted that season to the 2. Bundesliga, playing two season in the second tier before winning promotion to the Bundesliga, the top tier of German football where they are now into their fourth season in the top flight.

Aside of winning the NOFV-Oberliga Süd (2009/10) and the Regionalliga Nordost (2012/13), Leipzig have also won the Saxony Cup twice (2010/11 and 2012/13). In Europe, the German club has not won any trophies but in their relatively short history, they have achieved something, reaching the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals during the 2017/18 season and last season (2019/20), reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain, the runners-up who they will also face in the group stages of the competition this season. Leipzig have some linked clubs; RB Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Brasil and Red Bull Bragantino.

Manchester United Connections

There are no players that used to play for United in the current Leipzig squad but there are players that United have been linked to recently. One of those players is 21-year-old Dayot Upamecano who is contracted to the club until the summer of 2023 but has a release clause that could be triggered next summer in the region of €42 million. So far in his career at Leipzig, the French defender has made a total of 117 appearances, scoring three goals and two assists. Another player linked to United was 21-year-old Ibrahima Konaté, another central defender. He’s contracted until the summer of 2023 and has made 74 appearances, scoring three goals and one assist.

Players To Watch

Dayot Upamecano,21, is vastly becoming one of the best central defenders in Europe and will be highly sought after next summer, with his release clause becoming active. He will be a major player to keep a look out for. Goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi, 30, previously played for Liverpool, despite some loan spells out of the club and was sold to RB Salzburg then to Leipzig. He has been capped 35 times for Hungary and last played earlier in the week against Serbia. Yussuf Poulsen, 26, is another player to keep a lookout for. He has scored two goals for his club this season, along with Emil Forsberg and Amadou Haidara as the top scorers for the season so far.

Where does RB Leipzig play their home matches?

Leipzig play their home matches in the Red Bull Arena which was formerly called the Zentralstadion. In UEFA led competitions, due to sponsorship requirements, their home ground will be called the RB Arena. The stadium was built between 2000 and 2004, opened on the 17 November 2004 and holds a maximum crowd side of 42,959 supporters (50,000 for a concert). The Zentralstadion was opened in 1956 and at that time was the biggest stadium in Europe and able to hold 100,000 supporters. This outside of the stadium remains the same with the RB Arena build inside the old stadium, much like Soldier Field in Chicago.

Who manages RB Leipzig?

Julian Nagelsmann is the current manager of RB Leipzig. Born on the 23 July 1987 and aged just 33, Nagelsmann is one of the youngest manager’s in European football. He started out as a youth player for FC Augsburg, also playing for 1860 Munich at youth level. He made the 1860 Munich II side during the 2006/07 season, playing for FC Augsburg II during the 2007/08 season. After sone injuries, in which he injured his knee and meniscus for the second time, damaging the cartilage, he decided to end his playing career. He joined the 1899 Hoffenheim youth academy as a coach in 2010, becoming the head coach from the 2016/17 season – for three years. From there, he became the Leipzig manager in 2019.

When will the matches against RB Leipzig be played, and where?

United will welcome Leipzig to Old Trafford on Wednesday 28th October 2020 with the match kicking off at 20:00 GMT. It will be the first time that both teams will have met competitively, which will make this encounter interesting. The reverse fixture will be played at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig on Tuesday 8 December 2020 with kick off scheduled for 20:00 GMT. This will be the final fixture in the group for both teams with both hoping that they have done enough already to qualify for the latter rounds of the competition. Leipzig reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and will at least be hoping to get out of the group again.

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

Patrice Evra talks about Sir Alex Ferguson’s hairdryer and his ‘best speech ever’

On the 6 January 2006, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that the club had signed Patrice Evra from AS Monaco for £5.5 million. The French left-back was a lesser known name in the game at the time but that did not matter to Ferguson or the club. On his debut, Evra was replaced at half time in a game that United lost 3-1 against rivals Manchester City. The Frenchman received Ferguson’s infamous hairdryer treatment and his agent apologised for taking him to Manchester.

Speaking to The Guardian, the French left-back recalled:

“My first introduction to the real Sir Alex was my debut against Manchester City. At half-time he gave the hairdryer for one minute to every player. It was a long 15 minutes.

“At the end he said to me in five seconds, ‘Patrice, sit down. You will learn how to play in England’. That night my agent said, ‘We made the biggest mistake coming here. I’m sorry’. I was upset but I was burning.”

All good players have bad starts at clubs it is how they overcome that which matters and Evra did very well in doing just that. Ferguson was the type of manager that would not let his players become too big headed about their ability and performances. It is a good way to manage as it worked for him. United would not have had the period of success they had without that. There were many quality players during his near 27 years in charge and many less talented players who worked hard, which made his teams.

Evra, speaking about a half time break during a victory over Tottenham Hotspur, stated:

“Everyone’s saying, ‘Patrice, you’re playing amazing’. The worst is when Ferguson stays quiet.

“He was quiet that day for five minutes. He looks straight in my eyes. ‘Patrice, do you think you’re playing good?’ I say, ‘Yeah’. Ferguson says, ‘I saw you pass the ball back to [Edwin] Van der Saar’.

“‘Yes, boss, but just one’. He said, ‘If you pass the ball back again I take you off because this is one of your worst games’. My eyes start burning because I don’t like the injustice. We won 4-0 and the next day I go to Ferguson’s office. ‘Hello, son, what’s the problem?’

“‘Boss, the problem is yesterday’. Ferguson says, ‘Patrice, some players were disrespecting the opposition. I wanted everyone focused. I picked you to give them the message because you’re strong’.”

Evra played for United for eight and a half seasons, leaving for Juventus during the summer of 2014 after seeing Ferguson retire at the end of the 2012/13 season and David Moyes come and go with Ryan Giggs ending the 2013/14 season with Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville as part of his coaching team. Evra was annoyed with the way Ed Woodward handled his contract situation and was left missing Manchester, a city he had lived in for more than eight years.

Evra recalled a speech that Ferguson gave before the UEFA Champions League final in Moscow in 2008, stating:

“He didn’t talk football. He said, ‘Imagine Patrice with his 24 brothers and sisters. His parents have to feed them all on a bad street’.

“He talked about Rooney growing up in a tough part of Liverpool. Carlos Tevez coming from Argentina. He talked about difficulties for other players.

“He then said, ‘This is my victory. We have already won the Champions League. Enjoy the game’. Even now I’m having goosebumps. When Ferguson left, United lost their DNA, their philosophy.

“He was inspiring so much respect, so much fear, and if any player starts thinking he is bigger than the team then he destroyed you. The players always wanted to play for Ferguson. 

“I tried my best for David Moyes but I knew it would be a disaster because players won’t respect him like that. It was a mission impossible.”

In the eight and a half seasons that Evra played for United, he made a total of 379 appearances for the club, scoring 10 goals and 40 assists, which is not something that Luke Shaw has ever looked like matching, making Evra the best left-back to play for the club since Denis Irwin. The Frenchman helped the club win five Premier League titles, three League Cups, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup. It was a successful period for the player and the club.

Evra played for three seasons at Juventus, two seasons at Marseille and one season at West Ham United before retiring after a glittering career. Evra was capped 81 times by France, not scoring a single goal for his country. The Frenchman will always be a player that will be fondly remembered by the United supporters based on what he achieved at the club, despite it looking ropey for the player at the very start. It just goes to show that form is temporary and class is permanent.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW