If Manchester United could play Paris Saint-Germain every week for the rest of the season, there’s a good chance they’d put an end to the reign of terror that is the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era and win a Premier League title.
Slight overreaction, but it’s fair to say that fans can only look forward to the encounter after not one, but two incredible results over in Paris for the Red Devils. After that famous round of 16 comeback in 2019, United snatched a late win again in October in the Champions League group stages and can book their ticket to the knockout stages with just a point as PSG visit Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Les Parisiens face a different fate, however, and anything less than a win won’t suffice. It’s often swept under the carpet that PSG actually won at Old Trafford two seasons ago in the midst of the emotions, thus Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be drilling his side into a vigilant state of mind.
In order to secure their spot in the knockouts, here’s how the Red Devils should line up.
David De Gea (GK) – After going off with a knock against Southampton at the weekend, the Spaniard is fit and ready to return between the sticks.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – He left Paris with Kylian Mbappe still in his pocket in October and will be vital in keeping him at bay once again in this one. United only need a point, so Wan-Bissaka’s defensive excellence will be key.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – United need Lindelof to put in a mature shift here, just as much as Lindelof to put in a shift himself. Speculation about moving for another centre back just isn’t going away…
Harry Maguire (CB) – Captain. Leader. Legend. Sort of. Maguire has actually enjoyed an upturn in form as of late and his qualities cannot go unnoticed. Nobody remind Roy Keane that he’s still United captain, though, or he might explode.
Alex Telles (LB) – The Brazilian has been a breath of fresh air at left back with his energising attacking displays and enjoyed a fine debut in the reverse fixture. This one will prove seriously testing for him.
Fred (CM) – Fred has proven to be a key figure in the starting XI for United in recent weeks. While his attacking contribution remains limited, his defensive contribution is second to none. Crisp tackles, often well-positioned and a tireless presence.
Donny van de Beek (CM) – Even with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay fit again, they’d have to drop out for the Dutchman. Van de Beek looks different gravy in any position he’s deployed in and will be key in manufacturing United’s counter attacks, soaking up the PSG press.
Bruno Fernandes (AM) – Fernandes is by far and away United’s best player and the man they look toward when the chips are down. Captain material? Definitely. Likely to score a penalty? Even more so.
Mason Greenwood (RW) – Greenwood seems bereft of confidence at the moment which is affecting his performance in front of goal. Anthony Martial might not be rushed back into the fold though, so he keeps his place in the XI and moves to the right flank.
Edinson Cavani (ST) – An electric substitute appearance saw Cavani score twice and assist once to claw United back from the gutter and snatch three points against Southampton. He could be facing a domestic ban, however, meaning these European minutes are even more vital, and should start against the club where he is the record goal scorer.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – The match winner on two occasions at Parc des Princes, Rashford will be key in trying to catch PSG on the break alongside his attacking colleagues. He moves to the left in Martial’s likely absence.