Old Trafford, Manchester
Champions League, Round of Sixteen, 1st Leg
Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 20:00
Manchester United bring their current 11-match unbeaten run (W10, D1) to the defence of another unbeaten run. The Red Devils never lost at home to a French club (W10, D3) while it’s been eight games since a Ligue Un side beat them (W6, D2) in European competition.
But in Paris St-Germain, they face a team which is used to winning but with much to prove in European football. Despite flouting FFP rules and suffering the consequences previously, Les Parisiens constantly fail to deliver in the Champions League.
A semi-final appearance in 1994/95 is the pinnacle of their achievement but the last two seasons saw them exit at this stage to Barcelona and Real Madrid. Is this a case of third time lucky to make progress to the last eight?
PSG’s infallibility at home was punctured by Lyon a week ago, coming a month after Guingamp won at the Parc Des Princes. However, it’s just two defeats in the last 24 (W18, D4) in all competitions and United won’t take them lightly; thirteen points clear at the top of Ligue Un, the same distance by which they won the title last year, demands respect.
Their Champions League campaign got off to a dreadful start at Anfield, losing 3 – 2 to Liverpool. Without Neymar, they rallied late in the game to give the scoreline a sense of respectability. Three wins and two draws – home and away with Napoli – saw them comfortably win their group.
Despite their lack of tangible success, PSG are entertainers in Europe. Twenty of their last 21 games saw over 2.5 goals with the French champions scoring at least twice in five of the last six (W3, D2).
They travel to Old Trafford where United have lost two of their last three Round of Sixteen matches. Both were to Spanish clubs – Real Madrid in 2012/13, Sevilla 2017/18 – with the defeats bookending a 21-match unbeaten run (W17, D4). The pair form part of a run which has seen the Mancunians lose five of their last 26 matches (W16, D5) in European competition, home and away.
Monaco are the only French club to beat United over two legs, winning on away goals in 1997/98. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored United’s goal in the 1 – 1 aggregate scoreline.
This is the first time the two clubs faced each other in a competitive match.
In 13 previous meetings, Manchester United never lost to a French club (W10, D3).
Paris St-Germain’s form in England is not so good. Their only victory in 10 visits (D4, L5) came at Stamford Bridge in March 2016 when they beat Chelsea 2 – 1 at this same stage of the competition. PSG won 4 – 2 on aggregate.
Manchester United Team News
Marcus Rashford has a dead leg and is likely to remain on the bench for this fixture. Victor Lindelhof is expected to be fit after missing the trip to Fulham.
Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo are all out injured with none expected to be fit for the visit of PSG.
Paris St-Germain Team News
Neymar Jr is out until April with a broken Metatarsal. Edinson Cavani is also rumoured to be ruled out with a thigh strain suffered during Saturday’s 1 – 0 win over Bordeaux.
Marco Verratti and Thomas Meunier are doubts for the fixture but Kylian Mbappe will return to the side having been rested by Thomas Tuchel at the weekend.
A fly in the ointment of United’s optimism comes in the shape of referee Daniele Orsato. He has officiated them twice, both ending in 1 – 0 defeats. PSG, by contrast, won 5 – 0 at Celtic with Orsato in charge.
Despite this, the absence of Neymar is writ large over this tie and tips the scales in the home side’s favour, which is why we like Manchester United to win at 7/5 with Unibet.
- PSG to win: 85/40 with Marathon Bet
- Kylian Mbappe, Anytime Goalscorer: 7/4 with Paddy Power
- Manchester United to score in both halves: 21/10 with 188bet
- Under 2.5 goals in Total: 23/20 with Betfair
- Manchester United to Qualify for QF: 6/4 with Betway