After a season long absence, Manchester United are set to return to champions league football as they face last season’s runners-up Paris Saint-Germain in a tough contest on opening Matchday.
The 3-time title holders tied alonside RB Leipzig,Istanbul Basaksehir and PSG in group H –a group termed as the ‘group of death’ has precipitated speculations from football fans and pundits as to their chances of progression to the next stage of the competition.
*Paris vs United:Team Strength*
The previous season saw Paris Saint-Germain having their best stint of a UEFA champions league campaign so far –churning out 8 wins en route to their first European silverware – only for them to narrowly miss out to Bayern Munich in the final.
On the other hand,Manchester United were in fine form at the second half of a covid-19 dominated season.
They were at their best;earning the most point in the premier league after the start of February, leapfrogging both Chelsea and Leicester City to finish third on the table which secured them a champions league spot.
But business is back as usual. A new era of an alluring but cutthroat champions league football. PSG will like to kickstart a seemingly glorious champions league season with a winning streak. Also, will the Red Devils be able to ride their luck at Parc des Princes?.
We’ll profer an assessment of both teams ahead of the game.
Manchester United may have witnessed their worst start to a premier league season,shipping in 12 goals in 4 matches with no clean sheet to show off. Harry Maguire,signed from the Foxes last summer has failed to justify his £80m valuation since his move to Old Trafford in 2019 as flaws,Topsy-Turvy ,and disarray is still prevalent in United’s defense. Ole Gunnar Solksjear observing the status-quo sought for the service of Alex Telles. The 27-year-old Porto defender who had a stunning performance in Primeira Liga – scoring 11 and creating 8 – is seen as the man to help Ole Gunnar Solksjear plug a hole in the Red Devils defense.
Paris has had a better start to their domestic league campaign than their English counterpart. The vibrance and solidity present in Les Parisiens back line has paid-off as they have conceeded only 3 goals and kept 4 cleen sheets in a total of 7 games;what a way to begin a season!.
However, with the likes of defenders such as Kimpimbe,Marquinhos,Bernat at Thomas Tuchel’s disposal, it will be no walk in the park for the Red Devils attacking force to break through PSG’s back line and catch their defense cold.
For Pablo Sarabia PSG,it’s been a mouthwatering 2020/21 season. The individual brilliance embedded in the Spanish midfielder is made manifest as he outclass his colleagues to top the assist log with 3 assist and a goal to his name. Thus, sending message to the visiting team that there is more to be done.
But United will have something to cheer about. The terrific Bruno Fernandes who came on board for (£55m + add-ons) has proven, United had the identity it had severely lacked. Not only did he orchestrate United into clinching a Champions league spot but also leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of a sensational 2020/21 season – bagging 3 goals and 2 assist so far.
Though PSG may have missed playmaker Angel Di maria who was handed a four match ban in ligue 1 after misconduct, but his presence on Tuesday night is crucial. The pace,versatility and ability to make clinical runs of the Argentinian veteran is sufficient to unsettle and muddle his erstwhile employers.
Is it Bruno Fernandes and United midfield pair that will command the 90? or will Angel Di maria be the threat to oppress the visiting team back line?. A tough riddle to determine prequel to the outcome of the match.
Top notch would be a nice way to put it. Sublime,prolific,ebullient character exhibited at the front of goal would be a more accurate description of Les Parisiens’ attacking strength this season. No wonder they have notched 16 goals in 7 games. The 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe has began to show his class yet again,bagging 4 goals and 3 assist at the early start of a new campaign.
However, the reverse is the case in Old Trafford. After a turbulent start to the season,United have managed 9 goals – 7 fewer than their French opposition side.
Besides, the Manchester club were fortunate to land the illustrious Edison Cavani from their counterpart after 7 years of successful spell in Paris;the Uruguayan talisman possesses the quality needed to ignite Ole Gunnar Solksjear’s lackluster attacking unit.
But will the 33-year-old Edison Cavani cause an upset on his return to Parc des Princes? or maybe the French attacking front line will be too difficult for United defense to handle.
The few spectators at the Paris on Tuesday night will be treated to a show full of brilliance and masterclass.
*PSG vs United:Historical Clashes/Head-2-Head(h2h)*
The last meeting between both sides in this competition was in a memorable 2019 season round-of-16. PSG sinked United in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the first leg,but in grand style,Manchester United upturned a 2-0 deficit to beat PSG 3-1 in the return leg at Paris. A win which saw them advance to the last 8 on away goals.
The former will like to replicate their previous glory but will it be a revenge night for the latter to redeem their image?.
*PSG vs United: What a win will mean for both managers*
Ole Gunnar Solksjear did not kickstart a new campaign in the best possible way after a heavy 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham, but his side looked to make amends snatching a 4-1 win over Newcastle at St.James Park.
The Norwegian greatest triumph as a United manager came at Parc des Princes, and heads their on Tuesday needing a win to hold off further questions over his future.
For Tuchel,a victory implies that his team retains its potency and competence to challenge for the title once more after they fell short to Bayern Munich in the final of the previous season.
All in all,PSG will like to intensify effort in their pursuit for the European crown they so covet and have spared no expense to chase. At the other end, Manchester United will give it their last breath to ensure a perfect start on a return to champions league football as we anticipate a breathtaking 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season.
The road to Istanbul is on!!!.