Manchester United are facing a difficult task if they are to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League as they have to overcome a two-goal deficit against PSG away from home. Taking the away goals rule into account, it looks impossible for the Premier League side. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to surprise in the Old Trafford hot-seat and is the man responsible for one of the greatest comebacks in the history of this competition. The team can go into this match with nothing to lose and that makes them a dangerous proposition.
The first-leg loss remains the only defeat of Solskjaer’s short reign at Manchester United manager. It comes with no shame as PSG are further down the line in terms of their development as a team, but there was hope that the team would perform better. They were hamstrung by two first-half injuries to Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Their departures left them with no pace on the counter-attack and this allowed PSG to play further up the field. That said, there was a clear class divide on the day and it was a stark reminder of the progress needed at Old Trafford.
PSG are currently one of the favourites to win the competition. If they are to back that up, they will want to pick up another win on Wednesday and build momentum in this competition. It is difficult for the French club, as their domestic campaign provides few tests for the players, which means they can be undercooked going into the latter stages of the Champions League. This is why they must treat Wednesday’s game with respect and use it as another opportunity to test themselves against a high calibre opposition, regardless of the status of the tie.
- Kylian Mbappe has scored seven goals in his last five matches across all competitions.
- Manchester United have scored in every single away game since Solskjaer took over as interim manager.
The Frenchman is emerging as one of the greatest players in the world and he remains only 20-year-old. The injury to Neymar was portrayed as a huge positive for Manchester United’s chances in the tie, but the Brazilian’s absence wasn’t really felt in the first leg. In fact, some people have even suggested that PSG are a more coherent team without the Brazilian in the team. The development of Mbappe has been a big reason for that. He has already broken multiple records since breaking through as a teenager at Monaco and is discussed as a potential Balon D’Or winner already. Considering his tender age, he has to be seen as the best young player in the world and his achievements reflect that. He has already won the World Cup and he will be desperate to win the Champions League for his club team. During this campaign, he has contributed four goals and four assists in the competition. That is an excellent return and there is more to come. Manchester United have to go for it on Wednesday and that will leave a lot of space for Mbappe to exploit.
Although he isn’t at the level of Mbappe, there is no doubting that Marcus Rashford has a huge future at the very top of the sport. He has made a lot of progress since the managerial change and has emerged as the first-choice striker at the club. Solskjaer immediately gave him that role and there has been no looking back. The recent form of Romelu Lukaku has been impressive, but that competition is only likely to get even more from Rashford. He has been patient to wait for his chance to become the main man at Old Trafford and he won’t relinquish that easily. A recent injury has slowed down his form on the pitch, but Wednesday is a big occasion and one that could see him back to his best. The task is an unlikely one, but if Rashford performs, the visitors may have a chance.
There is a huge injury list for Manchester United. Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic will all be unavailable. Paul Pogba is suspended following his sending off in the first leg.
Neymar isn’t back to feature for PSG. It is doubted that Thomas Tuchel will make major alterations from the team that won the first leg. Edinson Cavani is back in contention and could provide an extra goal threat in attack.
PSG are the 1.47 odds-on favourites to win the game with betolimp.com and are obviously strongly tipped to progress to the quarterfinals. The South African Betting site has Manchester United priced at 6.39 to win the game tonight, which isn’t a surprise given how strong PSG are at home and the injury crisis Solskjaer is having to deal with. Some United fans may feel their side can avoid defeat and Man Utd or the draw is available at odds of 4.63. However, we predict PSG to triumph 2-1 and that scoreline can be backed at odds of 7.60.
The injuries to both teams means that this match won’t be as exciting as everybody hoped it would when the draw was made. The result of the first leg has meant that there is relatively little to play for as Manchester United require two goals to even stand a chance. Even that wouldn’t be enough, as they are unlikely to keep a clean sheet in France. PSG should have enough quality to beat the Premier League side again.
PSG 2-1 Manchester United