Paris Saint-Germain has been a side never short of transfer budgets and has a definite vision in place to be the best in the world. And they showed everything off it in the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The game ended 2-0 in favour of the visitors. The first match of the Round of 16 first-leg of the UEFA Champions League started with both sides having a conservative approach to the game. United looked composed on the ball in the opening exchanges before Verratti and company started controlling the game. There were no clear cut opportunities for either side in the first half.
The French club looked a totally different team after the break. Comfortable at the back and a real threat going forward. Soon this pressure started building on the hosts and Kimpembe took full advantage of Matic's fault on a corner kick at the 53-minute mark. A lot was given to Di Maria since the starting by the United fans and he gave them all back while the others were celebrating the first goal. This was a memorable comeback for the Argentinian as he was devastating on the left flank. He slid a ball past the defenders to Mbappe who wasn't missing on that one. They were 2 goals up at the hour mark. After this, PSG really switched off while the reds started to take control of the proceeding in the game. But it is fair to say that nothing went for them as the visitors wrapped up a comfortable 2-0 victory away from home.
With Pogba out of context for the return leg due to a red card, here are five talking points from the game:
Verratti and Marquinhos ran the show: A lot had been written prior to this meeting that the Paris-based club is without the likes of Neymar and Cavani. But to the dismay of many, we have seen nothing from a top performance from PSG. This shows that they have great depth in the squad. There were fitness concerns for Verratti too but he and Marquinhos were exquisite throughout the match. In the first half, they lacked that penultimate ball but with time, they were finding their targets with ease.
United lacked big match nerves: Manchester United have a squad full of youth and not many have had experience at this level in the Champions League. It’s fair to say that the reds were not up for the challenge. PSG have players with vast experience in the later stages in this competition under their belt. With Martial and Lingard pulling their hamstrings in the first 45-minutes itself, United never looked like going throughout the match.
PSG have a complete squad: Paris Saint-Germain is always known to an attacking side but it is their defence which looks questionable at times. But this was a different story altogether. Defence looked well-organised as Thiago Silva and company grasped every bit that the United forwards threw at them. United didn't look like scoring at any point of the game. And PSG was quite effective going forward even without two of their three best players in Neymar Junior and Edinson Cavani.
The honeymoon period is over: When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reigns at United, no one expected him to do so well in this little time. Going unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions is a thing to behold. But the honeymoon period is finally over for the reds as PSG have finally got the better out of them. This will be the first real test under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's stint. Will they be able to dust themselves off and pull themselves back in the coming weeks as the competition turns more fierce?
The second-leg looks intriguing for the reds: When United travel to Paris for the return leg on the 7th of March, they have to score twice while also stop PSG from scoring to stay in the tie. Given this kind of defensive stability at the back from PSG, it looks next to impossible. And to make the situation worse, Neymar and Cavani could be available for that tie. With Paul Pogba out of context, it will need an exceptional performance to remain in the competition.
While the tie looks done and dusted on paper, but it is football and you never know what's coming next!