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Manchester United news: PSG pose biggest threat yet to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten run


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces the toughest test yet in the form of PSG (Picture: Getty)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces his toughest test yet as Manchester United’s caretaker boss when Paris Saint-Germain arrive at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The Norwegian is unbeaten in ten games in all competitions since replacing Jose Mourinho in mid-December but the Ligue 1 giants pose a serious threat to that record.

Few gave United much chance of overcoming the Parisians when the draw was made in December but Mourinho was sacked 24 hours later and Solskjaer has revived United’s attacking traditions in less than two months in the job.

Nevertheless, PSG remain favourites to reach the last-eight but what can United expect when Thomas Tuchel’s men walk out at the Theatre of Dreams?

Star player: Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is likely to play centrally in Cavani’s absence (Picture: getty)

With Neymar missing through injury, all eyes will be on 20-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe.

The forward lit up the 2018 World Cup and became the first teenager since Pele to score in a final during France’s 4-2 win against Croatia.

Mbappe’s taken his fine form in Russia into this season and has already bettered his goal return from his debut campaign at Paris Saint-Germain by bagging 22 goals in 25 games this term.

The Frenchman is expected to play from the centrally at Old Trafford and United will need Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof to be at their very best to keep him quiet.

Team news

Neymar will miss both legs (Picture: Getty)

The club have known they’ll be without Neymar for the last fortnight but Cavani’s absence has come as a hammer blow to the club in the build-up to Tuesday’s clash.

The Uruguayan was forced off during PSG’s clash with Bordeaux on Saturday and failed to travel with the side to Manchester on Tuesday. The club are also said to fear that he will miss the return leg in France in three weeks’ time.

Though the Parisians have the likes of former United winger Angel Di Maria to come in, the absence of Cavani and Neymar  is a huge blow to Tuchel’s side.

Cavani is a doubt for the second leg (Picture: Getty)

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the club’s injury problems with Marco Verratti, the Italian midfielder, a doubt for the first leg as he’s struggling with an ankle injury.

The Italian has resumed training but he’s made just three appearances in 2019.

Tuchel has used centre-back Marquinhos as an emergency defensive central midfielder without Verratti but the acquisition of Leandro Paredes in January has eased the issues in midfield.

League form

Tuchel’s side have a healthy lead in Ligue 1 (Picture: Getty)

Tuchel’s men have a healthy ten-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and have two games in hand on second placed Lille.

That will afford the German to rotate for this weekend’s clash against Bordeaux in Paris.

PSG were unbeaten in the league in their first 20 fixtures, winning 18 and drawing just two.

However, they were beaten 2-1 by rivals Lyon at the start of February in front of the onwatching Solskjaer.

The Norwegian would have no doubt been encouraged by the amount of chances that PSG gave away with former United boy Memphis Depay and ex-Celtic star Moussa Dembele posing serious problems to their defence.

Tactics

Tuchel has experimented with a back three (Picture :Getty)

Unlike his more rigid predecessor Unai Emery, Tuchel is more experimental with his tactics and has shown a willingness to adapt to the opposition.

Emery maintained a strict 4-3-3 system in the French capital and Tuchel has also leaned on the formation but with more flexibility for the front three to float in attacking positions.

Interestingly, Neymar was often being deployed in an attacking midfield position in a 4-2-3-1 before his injury but Tuchel may revert to a more traditional 4-3-3 in his absence.

However, in recent weeks Tuchel has experimented with a back three to deal with Neymar’s absence and the results have been mixed.

With Mbappe and Cavani playing in a front two, Marquinhos is pushed into the base of the midfield behind central midfielders Di Maria and Julian Draxler.

The front four are particularly narrow, creating space for full-backs Juan Bernat and Dani Alves to operate in the channels.

Tuchel’s side are less methodical than they were under Emery and are more dangerous on the counter-attack with the German at the helm.

Weakness

PSG have never gone further than the quarters (Picture: Getty)

With one of the finest squads in Europe and an elite manager at the helm, there are few obvious weaknesses to be found at Paris Saint-Germain

However, perhaps the squad’s biggest weakness is their mentality.

Though somewhat intangible, PSG have shown themselves to be uncomfortable bearing the tag of favourites in Europe and have struggled in the pressurised knockout stages of the Champions League.

Nobody will forget PSG throwing away a four-goal lead from the first-leg of their last-16 tie with Barcelona in 2017 to lose 6-1 at the Camp Nou.

But that’s far from an isolated occasion, with the Ligue 1 giants collapsing against inferior Chelsea sides in the past, as well as Manchester City in 2015.

The club have never reached further than the last-8 of the competition.

How they could line up

MORE: Alan Shearer names the one Manchester United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has failed to improve





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