PSh head to Old Trafford for Tuesday's first leg.

Paris St Germain in focus ahead of Champions League tie with Manchester United

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  • 2019-02-11 21:10:18 10 months ago
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Paris St Germain take on Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the reigning French champions.

Domestic form

PSG appear to be cruising to their eighth Ligue 1 title. They are 10 points clear of closest challengers Lille with two games in hand. Their recent 2-1 loss at Lyon was their first league defeat of the season. Thomas Tuchel’s side are on course for a domestic double having reached the quarter-finals of the French Cup, while last month’s 2-1 home defeat to Guincamp in the French League Cup was one of only three defeats in all competitions this campaign.

Champions League form

  • Liverpool 3-2 PSG
  • PSG 6-1 Red Star
  • PSG 2-2 Napoli
  • Napoli 1-1 PSG
  • PSG 2-1 Liverpool
  • Red Star 1-4 PSG

One of those three defeats was against Champions League Group C rivals Liverpool at Anfield in September, when Roberto Firmino’s stoppage-time winner snatched Jurgen Klopp’s side a 3-2 win. But PSG finished two points clear of their English rivals at the top of the group after gaining revenge in the return match in November, while they won three and drew two of their other group matches. Under the ownership of Qatar Sports Investments since 2011, PSG have reached the Champions League knockout stages in each of the last six seasons, but have never gone beyond the quarter-finals.

Manager

Thomas Tuchel succeeded Unai Emery as Paris St Germain boss in May
Thomas Tuchel succeeded Unai Emery as Paris St Germain boss in May (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tuchel, appointed in May, was tasked with transforming PSG into serious Champions League contenders while maintaining their domestic dominance – and the knockout stages represent his biggest challenge since replacing Unai Emery. The German gained a reputation as one of Europe’s best young managers after establishing unfashionable Mainz in the Bundesliga and guiding them to the Europa League before succeeding Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. The 45-year-old won the DFB-Pokal with Dortmund in 2017, but was sacked three days later. The club had finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in both the league and cup under Tuchel the previous season.

Star players

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are the two most expensive footballers in the world
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are the two most expensive footballers in the world (Mike Egerton/PA)

In Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG boast the world’s two most expensive footballers. But Neymar will play no part against United due to a broken metatarsal and striker Edinson Cavani, forced off with a hip problem after scoring his 22nd goal of the season in Saturday’s home win against Bordeaux, plus right-back Thomas Meunier (concussion) are also expected to miss out. Mbappe and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are likely to spearhead PSG’s attack at Old Trafford, while the likes of Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti, Julian Draxler and Dani Alves could be involved.

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Paris St Germain in focus ahead of Champions League tie with Manchester United

Paris Saint-Germain's Angel Di Maria: 'I needed more time at Manchester United'

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Angel Di Maria has suggested that he was not provided with the right circumstances to make an impression at Manchester United.

Di Maria signed for United in 2014, but the Argentine playmaker netted just three times in 27 Premier League appearances before making the switch to PSG.

The 30-year-old returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday night as PSG face United in the Champions League, and the South American has suggested that 'problems' with Louis van Gaal contributed to his lack of an impact at the North-West giants.

Di Maria told France Bleu: "I only stayed one year. It wasn't the best period of my career, or they didn't let me have my best time there.

"There were problems with the coach at the time. But thanks to God, I was able to come to PSG and be myself again."

Di Maria has enjoyed a successful spell at the French giants, with 60 goals coming from 153 appearances in all competitions.

Bernd Leno: 'Arsenal ready to claim fourth spot in Premier League'

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno has claimed that Arsenal are ready to capitalise on any mistakes from the club's rivals in the race for fourth position in the Premier League table.

Arsenal have endured an indifferent top-flight campaign, but the Gunners find themselves just one point adrift of Manchester United with 13 matches remaining.

Chelsea are also in the hunt for the final Champions League spot, but Leno has backed the North London outfit to outlast their nearest rivals.

The German stopper is quoted by the London Evening Standard as saying: "It is a good competition between all the teams. Chelsea played Manchester City and the gap to Manchester United is one point, so everything is possible.

"We wait for the other teams and if they make mistakes. We do our work to win every game and on Saturday we did the job. In two weeks, we have another league game and we want to work hard. Our last away win [in the league] was at Bournemouth in November. It was important for us to win and also to win away."

Arsenal registered a 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town at the weekend.

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