The Champions League is back and United are favourites

UEFA Champions League Trophy
UEFA Champions League Trophy

The group stage of the most exciting and most difficult-to-win football competition is back with some mouthwatering clashes.

From Manchester to Amsterdam, there will be excitement and disappointment in almost equal measures.

Man. United v PSG @Old Trafford @9pm on February 12

On February 14, PSG travelled to Madrid as favourites but lost 3-1.

When the draws were made last December, PSG were runaway favourites but on Tuesday, that advantage is no longer tenable after United sacked Jose Mourinho last December.

His replacement, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has taken Manchester United on an 11-match unbeaten run that has seen them record 10 wins, scoring 28 goals and conceding just seven.

PSG are hampered with injuries to Neymar, Edinson Cavani, and Thomas MeunierDani Alves says concentration will be key. “We must pay attention to all the details, to avoid having to score decisively in additional time for example. We have to make sure that our opponent is in this situation.”

Current Form: Man. United [W-W-D-W-W]; PSG [W-W-L-W-W]

Thu      30/07/15         ICC     Man. United             0 – 2    PSG

Prediction: Man. United 3-1 PSG

Three duels to watch

Ashley Young v Angel Di Maria

Di Maria spent 12 unfulfilling months at Old Trafford and he will be keen to prove a point on his return. His PSG teammate, Julian Draxler said in the pre-match conference that the Argentine would be ready.


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“He will be ready for tomorrow – he is a big player and he will be ready,” which means Ashley Young must be at his most concentrated because the winger cum forward can be very slippery and dangerous, with runs from midfield into the opposition box.

Victor Lindelof v Kylian Mbappe

The Swedish defender is currently full of confidence and he is one player that Mourinho’s departure has greatly benefitted. Fast, strong and quick to the tackle, he will have his hands [and legs] full with the trickery and speed from Mbappe.

Paul Pogba v Marco Verratti

Pogba is in the form of his life while Verratti is just back from injury and lacking some match fitness.

The French man, who has been delivering goals and assists in almost equal measures while Verratti, in top shape, is one of the best match controllers in the game. Whoever wins this battle would help his team hurdle this first leg.

Stats Man. United PSG
Goal Attempts 14199 14054
Attempted Passes 3123 3584
Average Ball Possession 57% 51%
Fouls Committed 92 71
Tackles Won [EPL] 207 204
Goals Scored 7 17
Goals Conceded 4 9

What the Managers are saying

“It’s a fantastic game to look forward to and the Champions League is a fantastic tournament so it is a test for our whole team. We’ve given ourselves the best possible opportunity because of the way we’ve come into this game. We’re confident and we’re looking like a team. If there was ever a time to go into big games, it’s now.” – Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Manchester United Manager

“It’s impressive [United’s form under Solskjaer] and we must give him no presents tomorrow. I did not analyse them under Mourinho because it was so far away. All the games I have watched were Solskjaer games. I am very clear what we will do tomorrow. It’s is a tough game tactically and physically and I hope we can bring out our best.”– Thomas Tuchel, PSG Manager

Probable XIs

Man. United: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera; Pogba, Martial, Lingard; Rashford

PSG: Buffon; Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe; Bernat; Verratti; Marquinhos, Di Maria, Draxler, Alves, Mbappe.

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