Parisians to get revenge for knockout loss
2019/20 runners up Paris Saint-Germain host the Premier League third best last term in Manchester United to kickoff this Champions League campaign. The pair are joined in Group H with RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga and Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir, with Julien Naglesmann’s side posing the biggest threat to qualify having finished third in Germany last term and reaching the Champions League semi final for the first time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are under pressure after a slow start to the season domestically with their 6-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford standing out just prior to the international break. The French champions are firm favourites for this encounter and rightly so given their attacking prowess combined with the Red Devils’ backline’s recent form.
That night in Paris
The last time these two met was a famous night in the last 16 of the 2018/19 tournament, with the scalp and comeback victory for United being the most prominent feather in Solskjaer’s cap to this day. A youthful Red Devils side came back from a two nil home defeat to win 3-1 and go through on away goals thanks to a suspect injury time penalty from Marcus Rashford. That finish from 12 yards came after a brace from now Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, seeing serious questions asked about Thomas Tuchel as gaffer. One year and seven months later and the German is a highly regarded manager on the world stage having led the Parisians to the CL final, putting in an admirable display that saw them only go down by a goal to nil against Bayern Munich.
Ones to watch
The key cog in Solskjaer’s machine that led the procession to CL qualification particularly after lockdown last season was Bruno Fernandes. The Portugal international has fitted brilliantly in the number 10 role and though a high proportion of his finishes have been from the spot, his impact cannot be underestimated. The 26-year-old amassed 12 goals and eight assists after signing in January, PSG must take him seriously.
Kylian Mbappe has scored four goals in his last two games and alongside Neymar will cause United a whole host of problems. There is no doubt that PSG are in better form and are more reliable given their performance last term, they smacked Real Madrid 3-0 at home in the group stage, a similar performance would reap better rewards against United.