Manchester United enter this monstrous game at Old Trafford in high spirits after yet another victory in the Premier League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian, who remains undefeated, could not have asked for a better start as interim manager, and is now in genuine contention to land the full-time job for himself – Betfair offer odds of 1/4 for him to do just that.
Paris Saint-Germain, as expected, are cruising to another Ligue 1 title with little competition in their way. Their whole season is built around the Champions League, which is why Thomas Tuchel will be gutted to be without Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier and, most importantly, Neymar.
Pogba Form To Roll On
Ever since Solskjaer took over in late December, Paul Pogba’s performances have been to a world-class standard. The France international has been playing with the imagination and creative ingenuity that many were expecting when he came back to England in 2016.
After another two goals to his name in the Red Devils’ latest game away to Fulham, Pogba will be expected to rise to the occasion and deliver for Man United in their biggest test yet under Solskjaer.
The World Cup-winning midfielder has delivered by all accounts so far under the Norwegian, but this will be the game in which he is scrutinised most. His doubters will be waiting for him to underperform, but Pogba usually – as seen in the World Cup last summer – steps up to the plate when his team need him most, especially in the bigger games.
With 11 Premier League goals to his name in 23 appearances, as well as two goals in Europe’s top-tier competition, Pogba is destined to score at Old Trafford against a club that has been chasing his signature for many years.
🏆 #UCL outright odds ahead of the last 16 ties— Bookies UK (@bookies_uk) February 11, 2019
🏴 Man City - 10/3
🇪🇸 Barca - 9/2
🇮🇹 Juve - 13/2
🏴 Liverpool 8/1
🇫🇷 PSG - 15/2
🇪🇸 Real Madrid - 12/1
🇩🇪 Bayern - 14/1
🏴 Man Utd - 28/1
🏴 Spurs - 30/1
👂 Who ya got?
While Tuchel’s side are by far the best team in the French top division, they have been known to leak goals unnecessarily this season. When put under pressure, the Parisian’s defence has crumbled, which is also why they conceded the second-most amount of goals in their Champions League group.
With Meunier out injured, Dani Alves is set to take to the field, occupying down the right-hand side.
As seen with Juventus and Barcelona, the Brazilian has put the defending aspect of his job to one side and primarily focussed on acting as another winger. Man United will look to exploit the gaping holes in behind Alves with Anthony Martial, his opposite man, breaking away and launching fluent counter attacks.
Liverpool entertained PSG earlier this season and, once again, highlighted their defensive frailties with a high press and a bombardment of pressure. Solskjaer’s players need to adopt similar energy if they are to rattle Tuchel’s side.
Even with key missing players, PSG have the tools in abundance to make Manchester United’s defenders squirm. It wasn’t too long ago that the Red Devils were in a deficit for their goal difference in the Premier League.
While Solskjaer has seemingly settled on a Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly partnership, the Ivory Coast international is known to be rash and can make costly mistakes within a blink of an eye. Kylian Mbappe will certainly target United’s weaker full backs and continually push them back inside their own half.
This game is bound to deliver goals, which is why Paddy Power’s odds of 13/20 for over 2.5 goals looks a safe bet to make.
Bet on Manchester United to Win
It is certainly a bold prediction, but with Manchester United’s good form, high spirits and luxurious football that they are currently offering, they have what is required to get under PSG’s skin and pose threats all night.
As long as the Red Devils attack from the off – just as they have done in their previous 11 games under the Norwegian – the Parisian giants will find it difficult to carve United’s midfield open, especially with Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic in such stellar form.
No matter what, this game is going to be tantalisingly close and will offer immense drama. For both managers, they will want to get a good result in the first leg and not leave too much to do in the second.
Although United want to play the best PSG side possible, the injuries to Tuchel’s squad is certainly going to give them the advantage at Old Trafford. Solskjaer, on the other hand, has all his first-team players fit that he wants to use from the first whistle and even the likes of Marcus Rashford being fresh after resting him at the weekend.
Having won 10 of their last 11 matches under their caretaker manager, Manchester United are in a great position to live up to expectation and keep their streak going.
Bet365 back the Red Devils at 5/4 to win the first leg of this enticing Champions League encounter.