Talking Points: United 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3
Manchester United fell to a disappointing 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
However, things could have been very different had the Reds converted several clear-cut opportunities in a second half during which Fred was sent off.
After a drama-filled European night at the Theatre of Dreams, we’ve rounded up all the major talking points, starting with the state of play heading into the final group game.
A feisty affair Gallery
These pics tell at least part of the story of our Champions League battle with PSG.
PSG’s win means there are now three teams tied on nine points, and the two sides going into the last 16 will be determined by next Tuesday's final group matches. United, of course, face a trip to RB Leipzig, where a draw would see us progress due to our superior head-to-head record against the Germans. As for the French champions, they host Istanbul Basaksehir, who prop up the table with three points from five games.
Ole named a strong, attacking XI to take on PSG, but there were also a few interesting names included among his 12 substitutes. Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba, all of whom have been missing recently, were included on the bench and could be involved at the weekend against West Ham United.
FRED’S EVENTFUL NIGHT
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching staff must have been a little worried midway through the first half when Fred was involved in a collision with Leandro Paredes. The Brazilian appeared to incline his head towards the PSG man and, after a VAR check from referee Daniele Orsato, our no.17 could perhaps count himself a little fortunate to escape with just a booking. However, Fred’s luck ran out later in the game when he appeared to win the ball in a challenge with Ander Herrera. Yet, with the midfielder following through to catch the former Red, Fred was harshly booked for a second time and subsequently received his marching orders.
Edinson Cavani spent seven seasons in Paris, and during a trophy-laden period with PSG, he became the club’s top scorer with 200 goals. Of course, having played for Thomas Tuchel’s side last term, the Uruguayan was desperate to feature on Wednesday, especially after his exploits against Southampton at the weekend. Our no.7 greeted his former team-mates with a warm smile ahead of the game, but all those niceties were forgotten when the action got under way. Edi was just inches away from giving us the lead near the start of the second period when his exquisite chip rattled off the crossbar. What a way that would have been to reintroduce yourself to the Parisians!
RASHFORD STILL TOP SCORER
The Reds were under the cosh for the first 25 minutes at Old Trafford, until Marcus got us on level terms, helped by a deflection off an outstretched Danilo Pereira leg. The striker’s equaliser means he’s netted six times in this season’s Champions League, the joint-highest tally of anyone in the tournament, alongside Erling Haaland and Alvaro Morata. In fact, Marcus has actually scored more Champions League goals this season from five games, than he did in 18 games across the previous two campaigns, when he bagged five.
David De Gea was a doubt heading into this clash, but recovered from a niggle he sustained in the weekend win over Southampton. The Spaniard actually had a relatively quiet night on Wednesday, but was called into action on 68 minutes to deny Mitchel Bakker with a superb, sprawling stop from point-blank range. Our keeper won’t produce many better saves than that this season.
CONCERN FOR MARCUS
Not long after Marquinhos’s decisive goal, Pogba was introduced as a replacement for Rashford. Our no.10 received on-field treatment and then headed immediately down the Old Trafford tunnel, indicating he may have make picked up a knock in the midst of this fixture-heavy period.