The long-awaited return of the Champions League is finally upon us, presenting the football fan with some mouth-watering ties. One such clash was Manchester United vs PSG, with Manchester United hoping for a home win to make the trip to Paris somewhat less daunting.
Manchester United came into the game as strong favourites with Neymar ruled out of both legs suffering a metatarsal injury in late January and with Cavani being ruled out a couple of days prior to the fixture with a muscle problem. Therefore the United fans were confident in their team being able to subdue the young prodigy, Mbappe.
United started quite strong, pressuring the backline of PSG well, with a standout run from Pogba in the opening 30 minutes which was very close to creating the first goal, but the veteran Buffon kept Lingard from tapping the ball in. Prior to Martial and Lingard having to be substituted off, Utd were 50/50 with PSG and it could have gone either way. However, it was evident in the second half, bringing Mata and Sanchez on was a backwards step that couldn’t be changed - United lost width and speed in the midfield. Sanchez had recorded zero crosses, zero key dribbles and zero shots in the 45 minutes he was on.
Man Utd conceded two goals from poor defending at the set pieces, with Matic not picking up Kimpembe at a corner, and both Lindelof and Bailly not being close enough to Mbappe when the cross from Di Maria came in. Many, including myself thought Utd could win the game - but as Solskjaer put it in the post-match interview ‘mountains are there to be climbed’. It will be a battle at the Parc Des Princes that’s for sure.