Manchester United vs Paris Saint-Germain
Of all the Champions League ties to come over the next month, this is the one which has got most neutrals talking.
Teams full of attacking pedigree, two clubs possessing some of the best players on planet football, no wonder this clash is so eagerly anticipated the world over.
My advice to you is very simple: sit back and enjoy the spectacle!
Much of the Champions League 2019 news in the build-up has surrounded the fitness of Neymar.
Yes, the Brazilian is out with a recurrence of a metatarsal injury which will probably also rule him out of the second leg in Paris next month.
He could even be joined on the sidelines for the Old Trafford first leg by Edinson Cavani after he picked up a knock in Lique 1 at the weekend.
But the absence of one or possible two superstars does little to detract from the contest which awaits.
Not with the likes of Kylian Mbappe – who scored on his previous visit to England during a defeat in September – Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva and Gigi Buffon in the French club’s ranks.
Historically Paris has experienced its fair share of revolutions and in 2011 it witnessed another when Qatari investors took over the perennial underachievers.
Since then, billions have been invested into the club with them threatening to do in France what Manchester City have started to do in England – blow all and sundry out of the water when it comes to the transfer market.
Yet, despite their recent domestic dominance, it is football’s premier club competition which they crave most of all.
That they have failed to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals, despite a massive outlay over the past eight years, is a statistic that has clearly hurt the Parisians.
For there is no doubt this is a club which wants to build a pedigree and tradition,similar to that of established heavyweights like Manchester United.
On a run of fine form themselves since the appointment of interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – they broke into the Premier League top four with a convincing win at Fulham over the weekend –the Red Devils will relish the rarity of being underdogs in this tie.
Solskjaer has United believing again after the largely miserable few months of 2018, although there is no question this is the biggest test since his return.
In fact, the next three matches (Chelsea and Liverpool follow this one) will tell us a lot more about the state of United and whether or not Solskjaer is a genuine contender to get the job on a full-time basis.
Much could depend on whether Alexis Sanchez can introduce himself to life in Europe as a top United player.
He has failed to make an impression in Europe since signing for the club just over a year ago – indeed, his European campaign last season ended before it started with United going out in the last 16.
He has also only made two appearances in this season’s Champions League campaign, in the 2-1 win against Juventus in Turin and the goalless draw against Valencia.
The Chilean may have started just one of United’s nine Premier League games since Solskjaer took charge before the Premier League game against Cardiff in December.
However, there is a world class talent in the number seven shirt and one suspects this could be the occasion for him to show it to a wider audience.
It will also be interesting to see what kind of reception Di Maria receives on his return to Old Trafford.
The Argentine’s talent is not in doubt but he seems to go missing when the going gets tough, something which has been labelled against him at both his current and previous employers.
Anyway, that’s enough of the talking. It’s almost kick-off time!
Incredibly, this is the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides. One suspects it won’t be the last.
PSG won 2-0 against United in a pre-season friendly in 2015.
|Manchester United vs Paris Saint-Germain||Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.97|
|February 13 04:00 (GMT+8)|
With such dynamic attacking talent on show, I can’t predict anything but goals.
Correct score @ 14.50 it will not be. Over 3.00 goals @ 2.12 also suggests goals are expected.
There will be many us fans who are surprised that the Champions League 2019 betting odds have United as slight favourites.
1X2 Man Utd @ 2.35, 1X2 PSG @ 2.90 and the draw @ 3.30.
Asian Handicap odds also offer tempting bets with Man Utd -0.25 @ 2.09 and PSG 0.00 @ 2.20.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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