Manchester United proved in their last league match that they are capable of coming from behind and stealing the match away, much like they were under Sir Alex Ferguson. However, heading into the second leg against Paris Saint-Germain, they have a lot of work to do.
First of all, they are two goals behind, with PSG having scored twice goals at Old Trafford. Secondly, they are heading over to Paris with a depleted team. Paul Pogba is suspended and there is a bit of an injury crisis at the club as well
PSG themselves aren’t at their strongest, but the two sides still have some very capable players in their squad. Here are three key battles that might decide the outcome of the game.
Romelu Lukaku vs Marquinhos
Manchester United will rely on in-form striker Romelu Lukaku to cause the damage. The Belgian showed just what he was capable of when he played against Southampton, scoring two goals that typify what kind of a forward he is; out-muscling defenders in the process.
Lukaku will be hoping to receive support from his midfielders, and given that he has got a boost of late, could propel United forward. It won’t be easy, however, with him facing Marquinhos.
The Brazilian has been in imperious form this season, but if Lukaku is in his elements, it might be an interesting duel.
Kylian Mbappe vs the Manchester United defence
Mbappe scored at Old Trafford and has been in stunning form for the Parisians. Because of how good he is, Manchester United need to collectively come up with a game plan to stop him as he is too good a specimen for any one player in the Manchester United defence.
Mbappe played on the right side of the attack against Caen last time in the league and he is likely to come up against Luke Shaw who has been in good touch.
The United left centre-half, likely to be Victor Lindelof, will have to do the covering defending.
Julian Draxler vs Scott McTominay
Julian Draxler has been a force in the midfield for PSG this season. He has both scored and assisted when required, and has stepped up in Neymar’s absence.
The German’s most important job lies in creating chances for Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe. He is one of the chief suppliers of the ball to them.
With an average of 1.4 key passes per match, it seems like he’s the creative force in the team. This time, his opposite number will likely be Scott McTominay.
The 22-year-old midfielder has proved himself when called upon by Manchester United, doing his work in front of the defence line. He will be called upon to hinder Draxler’s game to stop the defence-splitting passes.
Stats via Whoscored