Five things we learned as Manchester United lose to PSG
Manchester United have lost 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford.
United had chances at 1-1 before conceding a second, with PSG adding a third in injury time.
Here is a look at five things we learned from a closely fought game…
Questions re-emerge over David de Gea
It would not have been a surprise to see Dean Henderson picked to start this game after De Gea’s injury at the weekend.
The Spaniard was passed fit and got the nod. Six minutes in PSG took the lead and De Gea was beaten easily by Neymar.
De Gea put up a poor effort to save the shot. Instead of making himself big he gambled on blocking the near post shot and was outwitted by the Brazilian who shot through his wide open legs.
He made up for it in a way with a smart second half save, as he often does. It would be better not to make the mistake in the first place.
Questions will now re-emerge over whether De Gea should be United’s first choice goalkeeper.
That may seem harsh on De Gea after he showed signs of improvement over the past few weeks to start the season, but that’s also the life of a top level goalkeeper. Especially when there is one as talented as Henderson behind him waiting for a chance.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selected his favoured midfield duo in big games this season, Scott McTominay and Fred.
It was a cautious approach aimed to stop PSG’s attacks. The problem was that it did not work early on, with United looking flat.
When United’s midfield is bypassed so easily like this, the combination of Fred and McTominay is not worth going with, for the midfield creativity which is sacrificed.
Fred was incredibly fortunate not to be sent off, on a night where calm heads were needed. He appeared to headbutt Leandro Paredes in the first half and escaped with a yellow.
It was a surprise to see him come out for the second half. It was not a surprise to see him pick up a second yellow, even if he got the ball.
United had Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic waiting to come on, and Solskjaer did nothing. It was bad management from Solskjaer and Fred’s red made him pay.
Rashford makes up for early error
PSG’s opening goal came after a bad moment of hesitation from Marcus Rashford in the final third when through on goal. PSG hit United on the counter attack and scored.
After this, Rashford was a little more decisive. And as usual it was United’s number 10 who scored the team’s goal against PSG, for the third game running.
Rashford’s strike had a heavy dose of luck, with a big deflection. Sometimes you make your own luck, and Rashford’s intent to shoot paid off for his sixth Champions League goal of the campaign.
He was particularly bright in the second half, causing PSG real problems down the right side.
Anthony Martial is a real concern
Anthony Martial’s wasteful finishing is letting Manchester United down.
United could have been 3-1 up by the 60th minute if he had buried two easy chances from inside the box.
He blazed one over the bar and one straight at the goalkeeper. On both occasions he was too casual and let his team down.
Martial has been a problem all season. It’s now December and he is not improving. United have to fix this.
The group is still in our hands
Yes United do still top the group – but we should have been qualified already by now if we had beaten Istanbul Basaksehir away.
Now we head to RB Leipzig in a fortnight needing a draw or a win to go through. That won’t be easy – although Dayot Upamecano is suspended for the fixture.
The concern is two-fold. Not only could United lose and crash out, but the inability to rotate will mean there will be no respite between Premier League games in a busy month, for a fixture which could have been largely meaningless.
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