Tuesday, February 12 – 8:00p.m Local time – Old Trafford, Manchester, United Kingdom
European football returns to Old Trafford this week where Manchester United will play host to French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16.
The Tuesday night knockout tie is expected to be an explosive encounter.
The Red devils put the gaze of a resolute team over the weekend, as they warmed up to PSG’s visit with a routine 3-0 win away to Fulham in the Premier League.
Despite making an imposing start to the game, the hosts just weren’t clinical enough for United who went ahead in the 14th minute through the incomparable Paul Pogba.
Anthony Martial, who put up a dominant display on the day, found his French counterpart on the left flank with an incisive pass. Although he appeared to have run out of angle on the left channel, Pogba still took a peach of a strike that gave United the early lead.
Creator turned goal scorer this time round, as Martial netted a brilliant individual goal midway through the second half. Having collected the ball on the half way line, the winger made a bullish run past Denis Odoi and equally breezed past Maxime Le Marchand before curling the ball into the bottom right corner—well beyond the stretching hands of goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
With the difference between the two sides already like day and night, United got another chance to extend the lead when Le Marchand needlessly brought down Juan Mata inside the area; thereby conceding a penalty.
A formidable and prevalent force throughout the match, Pogba stepped up to the responsibility and calmly converted with a tidy finish to make it 3-0 in the 65th minute. Once a maligned figure during Jose Mourinho’s final days at the club, Pogba’s renaissance under Ole Gunner Solskjaer has been nothing short of impressive.
The world cup winner has been involved in 19 goals in 23 Premier League appearances this season, and is unequivocally the most in-form midfielder in England.
Victory at Craven Cottage elevated the Old Trafford side to fourth on the table with 51 points; a point above Arsenal and Chelsea who are level on points. This came after Chelsea spiraled down the league table following their 6-0 trouncing at the hands of a ruthlessly efficient Manchester City side on Sunday.
PSG beat Bordeaux 1-0 at the Parc des Princes to move ten points clear at the top of Ligue One, despite having two matches in hand. The isolated goal of the encounter was a penalty scored by Edinson Cavani three minutes before the end of the first half.
It was however not without a price, as the Uruguayan striker was soon afterwards withdrawn having hurt himself while taking the spot kick.
Manchester United is in the best possible form ahead of the match, with only Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia ruled out of the encounter with injury.
The same however cannot be said about Thomas Tuchel’s side. Neymar was ruled out of both legs of the last-16 encounter after suffering a broken metatarsal in late January, whereas Cavani is out of the tie due to a hip injury sustained after scoring a penalty over the weekend. This leaves Kylian Mbappe as the only fit forward in their strongest front three.
Defender Thomas Meunier is similarly out of the Manchester trip with a concussion.
Marcus Rashford odds and specials
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Rashford to score anytime||+150 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Rashford to score/Man Utd to win||+280 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Marcus Rashford is just one of the many players at Manchester United who has blossomed under Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s man management and complimentary style of football. The 21-year old has become United’s marquee forward, and it is to no surprise that the gaffer made him an unused sub over the weekend ahead of Tuesday night’s decisive Champions League match.
Although Rashford isn’t United’s highest goal scorer this season, seeing that he is a goal behind Martial and three adrift of Pogba on 13, the irrepressible and irreplaceable striker will be the biggest beneficiary of Pogba’s maestro-like play from the middle of the park.
Since Ole’s tenure began in mid December, Manchester United has yet to be beaten; going on a scorching run of 10 wins from 11 games in all competitions.
PSG sustained their first Ligue One defeat of the season at the start of the month when they were beaten 2-1 away to Olympique Lyon. The French champions cast further doubts on their preparations for the knockout phase of the Champions League, as they had to go through extra time in order to beat third tier Villefranche in the French Cup last week.
Taking into account the current form and injury status of both clubs, Manchester United could very well register a historic result in front of their vocal supporters.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Man United to score in both halves||+250 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Manchester United vs. Paris Saint-Germain recent results
Man United 0-2 PSG (July 30, 2015)
Blaise Matuidi 25’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 34’
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