Manchester United return to the Champions League yet again! After a year in exile, playing in the Europa League following a sixth-placed finish in the league, the Devils are now back where they belong – among the European elite, the 32 best clubs on the continent. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be playing Paris Saint-Germain, the Champions League runners-up. This match will see his and his team’s return to Paris 18 months after their last visit.
Last time around, Man United shocked PSG 3-1 to seal a place in the Champions League quarterfinals, ultimately handing Solskjaer the job at Old Trafford on a full-time basis. It was then and there that Solskjaer earned getting rid of his ‘caretaker’ tag and became the manager of Manchester United. This time, it will be hard for Devils to repeat what they did in March 2019.
Among the players that are not in the matchday squad which traveled to France, there are three big names. Edinson Cavani will not play against his former club as he still has not made a debut in Man United’s red shirt, due to the coronavirus quarantine. Harry Maguire is also not named in the team, while Mason Greenwood is understood to be absent. An injury is quoted to be the reason, while on the other hand, youngster Facundo Pellistri has been included in the team and he could very well make his debut on Tuesday night.
When we talk about the perennial champions of France, they will be without two players. Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes will not be participating due to injury issues, while the duo of Marquinhos and Julian Draxler will be back in contention. Those two players should offer a massive boost to Thomas Tuchel and his team.
Paris Saint-Germain are picking up their form. They started their season poorly. Following their 1-0 loss in the Champions League final on 23 August, they already started new campaign in Ligue 1 on 10 September and it did not go to plan.
They lost 1-0 to Lens and then 1-0 against Olympique Marseille as well, entering Ligue 1 season with zero goals in the first three games. But then things started changing. They have won the next five games, conceding just one goal and scoring a total of 16, against the likes of Metz, Nice, Reims, Angers and Nimes.
Man United will hope to continue playing well after their 4-1 win in Newcastle and forget the 6-1 debacle at Old Trafford at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur which happened before the international break. Man United’s performances this season have been far from ideal and only the match against Newcastle could offer some positives.
This match will be tough to predict. Paris Saint-Germain are clear favourites, especially now that they enjoy playing in the Champions League, finally ‘breaking the duck’ after reaching the final in Lisbon. Man United would do really well to get a draw in Paris this time around and they might catch PSG by surprise, if they show some of the rustiness we had seen from them in Ligue 1 this season.