David de Gea was among the colossal performers as Manchester United enjoyed another memorable European night in Paris to beat PSG 2-1 on Tuesday.
Manchester United were set up in a defensive shape, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation as they looked to absorb the pressure from the PSG attack. For the most part, the tactics did work, although David de Gea was forced into a couple of fine saves before his side hit the hosts on counter. One such move yielded a penalty, after Anthony Martial was fouled in the PSG box by Abdou Diallo.
Up stepped Bruno Fernandes, who had his first attempt saved by Keylor Navas but made no error in converting the second penalty after VAR found the PSG goalkeeper to be off his line. Both sides continued to trade blows thereafter, but it was the French champions who hit back early into the second period, with Martial glancing a header from Neymar’s corner into his own box.
While PSG continued to heap the pressure, the Manchester United defence and de Gea had all the answers, setting them up for a late winner, which was scored by Marcus Rashford. The result was a club record 10th successive away win in all competitions and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, following a successful start to the Champions League campaign.
David de Gea: 9/10
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 20, 2020
For quite some time now, de Gea has been under heaps of pressure to prove his credentials. With Dean Henderson breathing down his neck, the Manchester United no. 1 has had a lot to lose this season. But, so far, de Gea has done much wrong and has in fact, grown with each passing game.
After impressing against Newcastle United, de Gea rolled back the years to be at his absolute best versus PSG. In all, the Spaniard made 5 saves on Tuesday, with the outstretched stops to deny Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe standing out. Much improved with the ball at his feet as well, de Gea helped open up play smartly on counter-attacks. Couldn’t have done much about the own goal.
Axel Tuanzebe: 9/10
Making his first appearance in 2020, Tuanzebe showed just why Solskjaer has imposed his faith in him despite the injury horrors. The young defender was imperious at the back, forging a formidable tandem with Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right side to contain Mbappe and Neymar almost entirely.
In fact, along with Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe was a major reason why both Mbappe and Neymar had a paltry dribble success rate of 50 percent, effectively ensuring that de Gea did not have a lot of glove-work to do. He was also commanding in the air, winning each of his aerial duels. A step in the right direction.
Axel Tuanzebe played his first game for Manchester United since December last year.
He had Kylian Mbappe on lock 🔒 pic.twitter.com/mVn4H2Q0IP
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 20, 2020
Victor Lindelof: 8/10
With Harry Maguire unavailable, it was up to Lindelof to step up as the senior defender and that is exactly what he did. While Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw took care of PSG’s wide men, the Swede did well to keep the backline organised in addition to making 3 blocks and as many clearances. Lindelof was also precise while playing out from the back, misplacing just 5 passes. Solid effort.
Luke Shaw: 8/10
Back in a familiar role on the left of the back-three, Shaw looked at home in the defensive setup. Di Maria did give him some trouble initially but once Shaw settled, he had the measure of the former Manchester United winger. Often relied on long ball to open up play, notably doing so when the visitors earned the penalty through Anthony Martial. Confidence booster, this performance.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 9/10
Coming into the match on the back of some off-field controversy, Wan-Bissaka shrugged off talks of his head not being in the game with a commanding display. The wing-back had a couple of nervy moments against Mbappe but was generally at ease, making a number of crunching tackles to keep the threat at bay. Did not do much going forward, but this was all about a defensive masterclass.
Fred vs PSG:
28 passes completed (90% accuracy)
9 ground duels won
5 tackles won
2/2 long balls
2 dribbles completed
2 fouls won.
Midfield engine. pic.twitter.com/QvhtTAZ1iW
— Kevan (@kevanred) October 20, 2020
Fred was one of those players who embodied the openness of the first third of the game or so. The Brazilian had a couple of hairy moments in the first half, but there was no way past him once he found his feet. A nippy customer, Fred won 5 tackles, completed 3 interceptions and won 9 duels while misplacing a mere 3 passes. Getting into his stride.
Scott McTominay: 8/10
Unlike Fred, McTominay flitted in and out of the game. However, that is not to say the youngster did not have his fair share of positive moments when he contained his opposite number from PSG. McTominay was tasked with taking up higher positions on the counter while Fred transitioned and he did so quite well.
In fact, he created a couple of chances as well while also having 2 shots blocked. On another day, he might have boasted of some fine attacking returns. Defensively, McTominay was quite solid as well, making 4 clearances while winning 3 tackles.
Alex Telles: 7/10
Making his first start since joining Manchester United, Telles was thrown into the deep end against PSG. The Brazilian, though, made a solid first impression. While he was wasteful at times with the ball at his feet, he also looked menacing from set-pieces, with his whipped balls from corners creating a lot of threat. Supported Shaw well on the defensive front.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Premier League & #UCL stats this season [both have played 5 games]:
🇵🇹 Fernandes — ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️🅰️🅰️
🏴 Rashford — ⚽️⚽️⚽️🅰️🅰️
Some duo. 💥💥💥 pic.twitter.com/smobdh4QLg
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 20, 2020
Donning the armband in the absence of Maguire, Bruno Fernandes had a slightly different role on Tuesday against PSG. The Portuguese playmaker had to release the ball quicker and squandered possession a few times as a result.
However, such was the nature of the game and this outlook even helped him create a couple of fine openings. Scored yet another goal from the spot, although he might have to address his penalty tactics after having a second successive spot-kick saved. Nevertheless, he did his job well.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Martial was the definition of a hit and miss game. The Frenchman did well to win the penalty which was converted by Bruno Fernandes. However, apart from that one moment, Martial was sloppy in possession, giving the ball away cheaply quite a few times.
At times, he gave the PSG defence a bit too much respect, which is why he completed just half of his dribble attempts. The own goal was unfortunate and that is not why his rating point has been slashed. Needs to rediscover his best touch quickly.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
Since the start of 2018/2019, Marcus Rashford has scored as many Champions League goals at the Parc des Princes as Kylian Mbappè (2).
Return. 🏟🏟🏟 pic.twitter.com/gFk7nu5Zui
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 20, 2020
Starting at the head of the attack for a second successive game, Rashford endured a frustrating night for large parts before he finally found the back of the net. Like Martial, the English forward was guilty of trying too much at times, but he was also thwarted by Keylor Navas. The finish for his goal, though, was absolutely fabulous. Getting back to his top levels.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Pogba’s introduction signalled a shift in tactics from Solskjaer, who showed the intent to grab all three points. The Frenchman also showcased his desire to earn his spot back, providing an injection of creativity from the middle of the park with his accurate long passes.
Only Telles created more chances than him among Manchester United players; this despite being on the pitch for a quarter of the game. Might be in contention to start against Chelsea this weekend.
Donny van de Beek: N/A
A late introduction, van de Beek helped see the game out.
Daniel James: N/A
James’s work-rate helped in the dying minutes of the game.