In Paris, Thomas Tuchel is scrambling all of his remaining forces at Paris Saint-Germain to do battle at Old Trafford on Tuesday, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the similarly unenviable task of picking a starting XI for a key Champions League clash from a group who are performing at a very high level.
Even after making six changes for their win over Fulham at the weekend, Manchester United were still able to maintain their recent momentum and take a tenth win from 11 games with Solskjaer in charge. Under Jose Mourinho, settling on a system that benefitted the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford proved tough, but since that managerial change in mid-December, the Red Devils have found a style of play that is delivering results. Solskjaer has passed every test that has been thrown into his path as Man United boss so far, but one minor criticism levelled at the Norwegian coach is that he is yet to face a tough opponent while at the helm. That will change on Tuesday evening, despite PSG’s injuries, and deploying the right eleven men from the off at Old Trafford is vital. Here’s a breakdown of Solskjaer’s selection dilemmas: Defence Victor Lindelof has improved hugely under Solskjaer’s management (Getty Images) Against Fulham, Solskjaer was able to rest what has become his first-choice partnership at centre back. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were given a run out at Craven Cottage, after Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly featured at the heart of the back four against Leicester. Both duos were able to keep clean sheets. Luke Shaw is undisputed at left-back, with right-back Ashley Young rested in favour of Diogo Dalot on Saturday with Tuesday in mind. Read more: How injury-hit PSG could line up against Manchester United Despite Jones also getting a good amount of minutes and a new contract since Solskjaer’s hiring, Lindelof and Bailly look settled for the requirements of big games. The Swedish central defender recently scored an important goal against Burnley to help United claw back a point, and has been far more commanding during the last month than during the many that preceded it under Mourinho. Bailly’s pace should be a useful tool against an injury-hit PSG attack, with Kylian Mbappe fairly likely to have a great deal asked of him up top for the visitors. Using his speed to cover in behind United’s back four, the Ivorian should be a definite starter for the hosts. As Neymar and Edinson Cavani are both sidelined due to injury, including Bailly to try and nullify Mbappe’s impact seems a sensible choice. Midfield Ander Herrera is an important big-game player for the hosts (Getty Images) Ander Herrera was important under Mourinho, entrusted as a midfield terrier and occasional man-marker when United wanted to pay special attention to a specific opposition threat. Since the Portuguese coach’s departure, Herrera has instead offered balance to a midfield that has been able to let the shackles off Pogba. Read more: Special report: How Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have revived Manchester United Working hard alongside Nemanja Matic, another mainstay in the centre of midfield, it has been of little surprise that when Solskjaer does try and rotate, his central midfield options remain untouched. All three featured against both Leicester and Fulham most recently, with their balancing act in the middle of midfield key to getting the most out of Pogba without leaving their back four exposed. Attempting rotation using personnel such as Fred, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay has seen results lurch from average to disastrous, marking out Herrera, Matic and Pogba as United’s only possible midfield for a tough game. The engine room has been key under Solskjaer, providing the service and platform for United’s front three to get forward at pace. Attack Marcus Rashford has been in excellent form over the last month (Getty Images) Marcus Rashford took the Premier League’s player of the month award in January, as the young England international continues to go from strength to strength. Linking up neatly with Pogba and those around him in attack, the 21-year-old is enjoying his football while showing a clinical edge. Save for one scuffed effort in the early stages of United’s 1-0 win over Leicester, Rashford has looked very sharp. Read more: Gary Lineker reveals the key difference between Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappe Jesse Lingard’s energy, movement and pace should be the order of the day against PSG, as United look to turn defence to attack quickly, as well as having the players required to track back and put the miles in if needed. If Anthony Martial is given the nod on the left wing, Lingard will provide the balance needed given that the Frenchman’s defensive work can lack at times. Starting Romelu Lukaku isn’t the most positive option to go for. The Belgian has put in some improved performances on the right-hand side of the attack, but sheer pace and mobility should be the way to hurt PSG. Martial’s effortless finish against Fulham after a devastating run shows the ex-Monaco man is in top shape, with Rashford in similar form. Not to mention, Lingard often pops up with a goal on big occasions. Expected line-ups
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