Manchester United undefeated run under Solskjaer came to a disappointing end at home with PSG getting the better of two sides. The hosts were outplayed in every department by the visitors, who now have a two away goal cushion heading into the tie at Paris.
Manchester United went in with the expected lineup of De Gea, Young (c), Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Lingard, Pogba, Martial and Rashford. While the injury-hit PSG went with Buffon, Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Marquinhos, Verratti, Alves, Draxler, Di Maria, and the superstar Mbappe.
Old Trafford was buzzing with over 74,000 people who came to watch one of the biggest game in United’s recent history and that too with an unexpected hope of getting the win. Manchester United started well with the pressing and pace. The atmosphere was such the Buffon looked troubled initially. A rocket shot from Rashford and a blasting run from Pogba were the highlights of the first half but both chances did not result in the end product.
PSG’s midfield controlled the game efficiently with its structured organization. Every time Pogba had the ball, Marquinhos was quick to get onto him, providing him very little space and time to wave his magic. Matic and Herrera were hurried but made some great interceptions which prevented PSG from getting any real ball to Mbappe.
Also Read: Manchester United vs PSG: Match Preview
Ashley Young looked pretty comfortable for the first 30 minutes but seemed completely rattled post his one on one run with Mbappe in which he had to get a yellow to stop the French. Everything looked in control right till the half time when suddenly Lingard got injured and had to be replaced by Alexis. Martial was also having trouble with his muscles and was substituted post the break.
Injuries to two of the most important players up top for United was surely going to effect the performance. Mata and Alexis who came on as replacement never looked to pose any threat nor were able to provide the press and pace which was visibile in the first half.
Mbappe won a free header which resulted in a corner post save from DeGea. The set peice was easily put in by Kimpembe after Matic stopped the run tracking the defender. The goal took the gas out of United and gave extra energy to PSG who shifted gear and started cruising in the game. A quick counter-attack with a breathtaking run from Mbappe who finished it with ease resulted in the second for PSG.
Manchester United was not able to cope with the pressure that PSG and putting in and if not for DeGea, Mbappe would have scored a third from another counter-attack. Solskjaer bought in Lukaku to try and change something but by that time PSG had lowered their tempo and were looking to defend and pass time. They were happy with the two-goal cushion and just kept control of the game denying any opportunity to United.
The match ended with dissapointment for Manchester United who really had nothing to show in the second half.
DeGea: Had very little to do in the first half and had no fault in the two goals conceeded. Saved a one on one with Mbappe and was good as always.
Lindelof and Bailly both were decent and put in their hearts out. Could have done better for the second goal but it was all about the pin point cross from Di Maria and an absolute beast of a run from Mbappe. Still the best defensive combination United have.
Ashley Youung: The captain had a tough day coping with the pace and agility of PSG. Most of his crosses never found a United shirt and defensively also was not able to put his best foot forward.
Luke Shaw: Made some nice runs, defended well but got an unneccesary yellow in the end.
Ander Herrera: The best United player on the pitch. Made interceptions, got the ball back and bossed the midfield. Was trying everything.
Matic: Started off well but later on could not cope with the pace at which the game was going. The culprit for the first goal.
Paul Pogba: His presence was subdued by Marquinhos, who was always around him. Made a blasting run in the first half which caught everyone’s eye. Although the second yellow was controversial, a red means he will miss the reverse fixture.
Martial: Looked a bit lazy to start off with. Muscle injury meant he was subsituted in the half time.
Rashford: Could not replicate his league form. Looked ineffective and confused without Martial and Lingard in the second half.
Lingard: Had a good start to the match which was again cut short due to injury right before the half time. Started a good looking counter attack but was never materialized.
Alexis: Played the entire second half and literally contributed nothing to the game. Slipped an awful lot of times and never looked threatning.
Mata: Introduced in the second half in place of Martial.
Lukaku: The game was already over by the time he was brought in. Did not have much to do.
Manchester United could not replicate the recent performances they have been showcasing and the injuries to Martial and Lingard did not help. The Ref could have done better as they were some challenges especially the one from Kimpembe which deserved a booking or at least a free kick. PSG in the end seemed a much better side which totally outplayed United at their home.
With Pogba not available and the two away goals, Manchester United will have to bring out much more than their best in Paris in order to turn the tides around. But the way the team performed today a favorable result seems highly unlikely.
Also, this probably has to be the end for Alexis. He is nowhere near to the player he was at Arsenal and is just not contributing anything to the side. Even Solskjaer mentioned that he cannot help him.
Another thing which was clear yesterday, is that Manchester United needs to make significant improvements in the squad if they want to compete with the best in Europe. There were big names on the bench but their impact recently have been a way to minimal. Some of them need to go and the management has to be harsh about it.
As a team all Manchester United can do now is, keep their head high and move on. This is not the end of the season and with games against Chelsea and Liverpool coming up, they cannot afford any remorse or afterthoughts. Ole has to continue the things he has been doing and move on.