Champions League preview: Man Utd vs Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla vs Chelsea
Man Utd vs Paris Saint-Germain
United are going through one of their characteristic good spells with Ole at the helm, the side coming back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton 2-3 at the death on Sunday; that was the side’s eighth consecutive away win in the league, remarkably.
United can also feel positive about their Champions League form, with a 5-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig at Old Trafford that very few saw coming, and more recently an easy 4-1 victory over Basaksehir on home turf (making up for a defeat on the road to the Turkish side earlier in November).
United beat Paris Saint-Germain in their opening CL fixture of the campaign; as they host the French side on Wednesday, is there reason to suspect the visitors can gain some measure of revenge?
PSG’s recent form has hardly been formidable, Thomas Tuchel’s side losing to Monaco and drawing with Bordeaux in the last two league outings. The side have lost twice in the Champions League too, and are not guaranteed to make it out of the group stage, with Leipzig matching them on six points accrued so far; Man Utd top the group with nine points.
All of which might imply that this could be another good night for United – except there’s still a sneaking suspicion that the wheels can fall off at any time with this Manchester side. Paris are favourites to win – and it’s worth remembering that in this fixture in February 2019, the Ligue 1 side won 2-0 against Ole’s Red Devils.
United definitely seem like a team it’s difficult to invest a great deal of trust in, even when they’re playing well – but at the same time, I’m not sure it’s enough to say they’ll be beaten here simply because PSG need the win, or even because the visitors can call on superstar players like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Neymar has not been at his most prolific this season, with four goals in nine appearances – though he’s found the net in each of his last two games. Mbappe has been hotter, with nine goals since the start of the campaign – though none in the Champions League.
Either man is clearly capable of doing something spectacular – but might Edinson Cavani have a substantial say in this game too? The former PSG man scored two goals and made a third for United against Southampton at the weekend, despite only coming on in the second half; the Uruguayan would clearly be delighted to find the net against his old team, and looks to have lost little of his former sharpness.
I’ll back Cavani to score at any time at 9/5. PSG will presumably take an attacking approach here (because they need to) – but it’s also exactly the kind of approach where Solskjaer’s side has prevailed in the past, hitting back on the counter to good effect. That could add up to a Man Utd win at odds of 37/20.
Sevilla vs Chelsea
Sevilla are unbeaten in the Champions League so far, holding Chelsea to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge and beating the other sides they’ve faced. The Spanish team have won their last three La Liga matches too – so how will they fare against Frank Lampard’s side on home turf?
Chelsea have won their last three Champions League matches too, and are unbeaten in all comps since Liverpool beat them back in September. For all that, the Blues have drawn blanks against Man United and this weekend, Spurs – and Sevilla have already proven they can keep the West London side from finding the net.
Both sides are already guaranteed to make it to the round of 16, but a win for either would see them top their group. Honestly, there’s not much to separate the chances of the two sides here and that’s reflected in the odds – Sevilla are 9/5 to land the win, Chelsea a slightly tighter 31/20.
The draw is a 49/20 shot, which could be the right call again here. Sevilla held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw earlier this season, and are unbeaten in their last 14 home games in the Champions League and Europa League.
In a similar vein, this might not be a goal-heavy occasion, with Sevilla well practiced at setting up solid defences against strong sides. Under 2.5 goals at 17/20 might pay off.
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