Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Match Preview: PSG v Man United


There will be plenty of familiar faces on both sides as 2020 Uefa Champions League runners-up Paris welcome Manchester United to the French capital on Matchday 1 of the new campaign.

Edinson Cavani signed for the English club earlier this month after seven highly successful years with Paris, Ander Herrera having moved in the opposite direction in 2019. In addition, Ángel Di María was once United's record signing.

There is also the small matter of a memorable Uefa Champions League tie between the clubs two seasons ago, when United created a piece of competition history with a memorable comeback.


Paris looked to have seized control of the 2018/19 Uefa Champions League round of 16 tie against United, the only previous fixtures between the clubs, with a 2-0 first-leg victory at Old Trafford thanks to two goals in eight second-half minutes from Presnel Kimpembe (53) and Kylian Mbappé (60).

No side had ever recovered from a two-goal home first-leg defeat in the Uefa Champions League era and, though United struck early at the Parc des Princes through Romelu Lukaku (2), Juan Bernat levelled for the home side ten minutes later. Lukaku restored United's lead on the night on the half-hour, however, and just when it appeared they would fall short, Marcus Rashford held his nerve from the penalty spot four minutes into added time after Kimpembe

had been penalised for handball to put his team in the quarterfinals on away goals.



Ligue 1 champions for the seventh time in eight years in 2019/20, and ninth time overall, Paris also won both domestic cups last season. This is the French side's ninth successive Uefa Champions League campaign and 13th in total.

Paris reached their first European Cup final last season, only to lose 1-0 to Bayern München in Lisbon. They had beaten Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 (1-2 a, 2-0 h), Atalanta in the one-off quarterfinal (2-1) and Leipzig in the semifinal (3-0) en route to the decider.

The Parisians have reached the knockout stages on their last eight Uefa Champions League appearances, although 2019/20 marked their first semifinal appearance since 1995. They suffered three successive last-16 defeats prior to last season.

Thomas Tuchel's team finished first in a section also including Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray in 2019/20. They won five of their six games, drawing the other, and conceded only two goals to finish five points above Madrid.

Paris had scored in 34 successive Uefa Champions League games, matching the competition record set by Real Madrid between 2011 and 2014, before drawing a blank in last season's final.

Paris have won 12 of their last 18 Uefa Champions League matches (D3 L3).

That 2019 defeat at home to United ended Paris's unbeaten run of six games against Premier League opposition in France (W3 D3), although they have not kept a clean sheet in any of those seven matches. Paris have now lost two of their ten home fixtures against English visitors (W4 D4), the other a 3-0 defeat against Chelsea in the 2004/05 Uefa Champions League group stage.

The second-leg defeat against United was only the Parisian club's third reverse in their last 55 European home games since crashing 4-2 to Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the 2006/07 Uefa Cup group stage (W36 D16) – they also went down 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2014/15 quarterfinals and 2-1 against Real Madrid in the 2017/18 round of 16 second leg.

In the Uefa Champions League group stage Paris are unbeaten in their last 24 matches at the Parc des Princes (W19 D5), since a December 2004 reversal against CSKA Moskva (1-3). In the last three group campaigns their home record is W8 D1.

Manchester United

This is United's 23th Uefa Champions League group stage campaign, more than any other English side and fewer only than Barcelona and Real Madrid (both 25) and Porto and Bayern München (both 24) overall. They have qualified for the knockout phase on 18 occasions, also an English record.

The three-time European champions' most recent appearance in the competition came in 2018/19, when they lost to Barcelona in the quarterfinals after that round of 16 comeback against Paris.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side reached the Uefa Europa League semifinals in 2019/20, losing to eventual champions Sevilla in the last four. They had finished first in their section on 13 points before comfortable aggregate wins against Club Brugge (6-1) and LASK (7-1) in the round of 32 and 16 respectively and a 1-0 extra-time defeat of Copenhagen in the one-off quarterfinal. Sevilla proved too strong in the semis, however, United going down 2-1 in Cologne.

United have finished first in their Uefa Champions League section 15 times, although only once since 2013/14.

The Manchester club finished third in the Premier League in 2019/20.

European Cup winners in 1968, United lifted the Uefa Champions League trophy in 1999 and 2008, also reaching the final in 2009 and 2011 – the latter four all under Sir Alex Ferguson.

United are unbeaten in their last five trips to France (W3 D2), since a 1-0 loss at LOSC Lille in the 2005/06 Uefa Champions League group stage in a match played at the Stade de France. United have lost only twice in their 14 away games with Ligue 1 clubs (W5 D7).

The Red Devils have lost only one of their last ten matches against Ligue 1 clubs, home and away (W7 D2) – at home to Paris in 2019.


Cavani is Paris's record scorer, hitting 200 goals in 301 games for the club between 2013 and 2020. He won six Ligue 1 titles, four Coupes de France and five Coupes de la Ligue.

Herrera was at United from 2014 to 2019, scoring 20 goals in his 189 appearances. He was part of the team that won the Uefa Europa League and English League Cup in 2016/17 having lifted the FA Cup the previous season.

Di María spent 2014/15 at United, scoring three goals in 27 Premier League appearances before leaving for Paris.

Anthony Martial was born in the Paris suburb of Massy, starting his football education at local grassroots club Les Ulis, whose alumni include Thierry Henry, before joining Lyon's academy aged 14. He broke into OL's first team in 2012/13, joining Monaco in 2013 before signing for United two years later.

• Have also played in England:

Moise Kean (Everton 2019/20)

Sergio Rico (Fulham 2018/19 loan)

Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa 2015/16, Everton 2016–19)

• Have played together:

Layvin Kurzawa & Anthony Martial (Monaco 2013–15)

Danilo Pereira & Alex Telles (Porto 2016–20)

• International teammates:

Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa, Kylian Mbappé & Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial (France)

Marquinhos, Neymar & Alex Telles, Fred (Brazil)

Juan Bernat, Pablo Sarabia, Ander Herrera & David de Gea (Spain)

Danilo Pereira & Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)

Kimpembe, Mbappé and Pogba were all in France's victorious 2018 Fifa World Cup squad.



• Summer transfers

In: Mauro Icardi (Inter), Sergio Rico (Sevilla), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma, loan), Moise Kean (Everton, loan), Danilo

Pereira (Porto, loan), Rafinha (Barcelona)

Out: Moussa Sissako (Standard Liège), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Eric Dina-Ebimbe (Dijon, loan), Adil Aouchiche (St-Étienne), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Edinson Cavani (Manchester United), Alphonse Areola (Fulham), Loïc Mbe Soh

(Nottingham Forest), Marcin Bulka (Cartagena, loan), Garissone Innocent (Caen, loan), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern)

Paris started their Ligue 1 season with two defeats for the first time since 1984/85, losing 1-0 at Lens on 10 September and by the same scoreline at home to Marseille three days later, a game they finished with eight players.That was the first time since 1978/79 they had failed to score in their opening two league fixtures.

Thomas Tuchel's side have won their five subsequent Ligue 1 games, scoring 16 goals and conceding only one.BThey were 4-0 victors at Nîmes on Friday.

Kylian Mbappé scored twice at Nîmes, making it 68 Ligue 1 goals and 23 assists in his 80 appearances for Paris.

With four goals in four appearances this season, Kylian Mbappé has now scored 94 in 128 games for Paris in all competitions.

Neymar scored twice in a 6-1 home win against Angers on 2 October, his first goals since the French Cup final against St-Étienne on 24 July.

Juan Bernat suffered a serious knee injury in a 1-0 win against Metz on 16 September and is expected to be sidelined for around six months.

Thilo Kehrer (hamstring) has not played since the defeat against Marseille on 13 September.

Mbappé scored and provided an assist in France's 7-1 friendly win at home to Ukraine on 7 October before getting the decisive goal in a 2-1 Uefa Nations League win in Croatia seven days later.

Marquinhos scored in Brazil's 5-0 win against Bolivia in 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying on 9 October, with Neymar setting up two of the goals.

Julian Draxler was on target for Germany in their 3-3 friendly draw against Turkey on 7 October.

Neymar hit a fourth hat-trick for Brazil in their 4-2 win in Peru, also in a World Cup qualifier, on 13 October. That took him on to 64 goals, above Ronaldo and behind only record scorer Pelé, who managed 77.

Marquinhos limped off against Peru with a thigh injury and missed the win at Nîmes.

Leandro Paredes had to be replaced after 11 minutes on Friday after damaging his thigh.

Manchester United

• Summer transfers

In: Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Alex Telles (Porto), Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Facundo Pellistri (Peñarol)

Out: Tahith Chong (Bremen, loan), Angel Gomes (LOSC Lille), Alexis Sánchez (Inter), Joel Pereira (Huddersfield, loan), Dylan Levitt (Charlton, loan), Kieran O'Hara (Burton), Diogo Dalot (AC Milan, loan), Chris Smalling (Roma)

Edinson Cavani's next goal in Uefa club competition will be his 50th.

The Red Devils came from behind to win 4-1 at Newcastle on Saturday, making it two wins from two away matches in the league this season.

Bruno Fernandes, who had earlier missed a penalty for United for the first time after ten successful kicks, scored the second goal at Newcastle. He has 11 goals and eight assists in his 18 Premier League appearances for United.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored his first United goal on Saturday; he is the 116th player to find the net for the club in the Premier League.

United lost two of their first three Premier League games of the season, both at home. Crystal Palace were 3-1 winners at Old Trafford on 9 September; on 4 October, Tottenham inflicted a 6-1 loss on United, their heaviest home defeat since losing by the same scoreline to Manchester City in October 2011.

That defeat by Spurs was the third time United have conceded six goals in a Premier League match; they trailed 4-1 at halftime, the first time they had conceded four goals in the first half of a league match since November 1957.

United conceded 11 goals in their first three league games, their worst total since 1930/31, when they conceded 13 in a season that ended in relegation.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side were unbeaten in 14 Premier League matches (W9 D5) before losing to Palace in their opening game of the campaign.

After 3-0 wins away to Luton and Brighton, United will travel to Everton in the English League Cup quarterfinals in the week beginning 21 December.

Marcus Rashford scored a penalty in England's 2-1 Uefa Nations League win at home to Belgium on 10 October, the fourth consecutive competitive international in which he had found the net. The run ended three days later in a 1-0home defeat by Denmark.

Donny van de Beek scored the Netherlands' equaliser in a 1-1 Uefa Nations League draw away to Italy on 14 October – the Oranje's first goal under new coach Frank de Boer.

On 7 October, Brandon Williams made his debut for England in a 3-3 draw against Andorra in Uefa European Under-21 Championship qualifying.

Rashford was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's birthday honours list on 10 October.

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