European Elite Test for Solksjaer
Manchester United will finally play Paris St-Germain Tuesday at Old Trafford for the
round of 16 matchup of the UEFA Champions League. This match will be biggest test
for Solksjaer and this newly revitalized Manchester United. When Manchester
United was paired against PSG in December, even the most optimistic of fans were
pessimistic about their side advancing.
Manchester United during the draw was in utter shambles under Jose Mourinho
which eventually led to the dismissal of the Portuguese coach. Since the
appointment of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer the feeling around Manchester United for this
particular tie has drastically changed. The fears of a one sided destruction has been
replaced with a possible sensational turnaround.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has resuscitated the Red Devils form and importantly
confidence. Solksjaer’s recent ten unbeaten matches, nine of them wins, has given
many the argument that the once dubbed “baby faced” Norwegian forward has
earned his chance to stay for the long term.
Paris St-Germain currently are undergoing a different experience going into this
Champions League match. PSG has suffered their first defeat in the Ligue 1 to Lyon
along with shocking defeat in the league cup to Guingamp. The Parisians will also be
without Neymar in this match, which will dent PSG’s attacking trident. The Paris St-
Germain midfield also is being stretched thin. Adrien Rabiot’s recent decision to not
sign a extension with Paris and his deal due to expire in the summer has been exiled.
The current issue with Rabiot also has put the spotlight on Marco Veratti’s recent
injuries, which also has the Italian sidelined against United. Dani Alves has been
called in to fill in a role in the center. Manchester United on the other hand look
confident in midfield and especially in the counter, Solksjaer will need to win the
battle in the midfield.
The Red Devils now look to put to past their demons of Champions League exits,
perhaps at the expense of PSG’s current possible instability. Solksjaer’s odds of
remaining the manager at Manchester United will greatly increase if he manages to
knockout the Parisians.
By Gio Franco