Edinson Cavani has a chance to go up against his former club Paris Saint-Germain twice in the Champions League group stages.

With matches also upcoming against RB Salzburg and Istanbul Basaksehir, United face a real challenge just to get out of the group stages.

Cavani’s experience will be crucial to United’s success. He has scored 35 goals in 62 games in the competition during his career.

To put that in context, Cavani has the 17 highest number of goals in the history of the European Cup and Champions League.

On 35 goals he is level with Neymar and Ferenc Puskas, with Cristiano Ronaldo (130), Ruud van Nistelrooy (56) the only former Manchester United players ahead of him.

Cavani has more than Wayne Rooney (30) managed, as well as Ryan Giggs (28) and Paul Scholes (24).

Paris Saint-Germain v Girondins Bordeaux - Ligue 1
(Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

United lack experience in the competition

United have a young strikeforce, one which only has brief experience in the Champions League.

Marcus Rashford has five Champions League goals to his name in total. One famously was the penalty to knock Cavani’s PSG out of the competition in 2018/19.

Anthony Martial has four Champions League goals, just one came during United’s last run in the competition.

Paul Pogba has four Champions League goals for United and Juventus during his career.

United’s top scorer in the squad aside from Cavani in the competition is actually Juan Mata, who has eight goals. Three of these were with Chelsea, as he contributed to their 2011/12 triumph.

 

New signing Donny van de Beek has good experience to bring to the team. He helped Ajax reach the semi-finals in 2018/19, and has five goals in the Champions League in total. He will help, and along with Cavani, should play a big role.

For all Bruno Fernandes’ quality, Sporting have spent more time in the Europa League, and he has only one Premier League goal.

United have further Champions League goalscoring pedigree through Nemanja Matic (3), Alex Telles (2), Fred (1), but that’s it.

Cavani’s 35 goals are more than the rest of United’s squad have combined (33).

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images)

Divide that further to count United’s acquisitions this summer, and Cavani, Van de Beek and Telles have 42 goals, compared to the rest of the squad’s 25.

Minus the nine goals Mata, Fred, Matic, and Pogba scored for previous clubs, and the squad has only 16 goals scored in the Champions League by current players for Manchester United.

United then can say they have done a good job of preparing the team to step up and compete in the competition this season, and this is a chance for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to grow and establish their own credentials at the top level.

This is also Mason Greenwood’s first real chance to test himself in the Champions League, and he will be looking to make a splash.

But if it does not work out for him, or any of United’s young forwards, having Cavani on hand will be a huge help.

Champions League group stage fixtures

  1. PSG (A)

    United win 2-1: Fernandes, Rashford

  2. RB Leipzig (H)

    United win 5-0: Greenwood, Rashford (3), Martial

  3. Istanbul Basaksehir (A)

    United lose 2-1: Martial

  4. Istanbul Basaksehir (H)

    United win 4-1: Fernandes (2), Rashford, James

  5. PSG (H)

    United lose 3-1: Rashford

  6. RB Leipzig (A)

    United lose 3-2: Fernandes, Pogba

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