Man United travel to Paris for this second-leg clash seeking to avenge the only blemish on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s brief, but beautiful managerial career in the Old Trafford hotseat to date. United’s dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton at the weekend meant they were able to capitalise on Arsenal’s failure to beat Spurs to leapfrog the Gunners into fourth in the table.
This extended Solskjaer’s unbeaten Premier League start as United boss to 12 games: 10 wins and two draws. However, the manner in which they were comprehensively outplayed by Paris Saint-Germain at home in the first-leg of this tie highlighted just how far the Red Devils still need to go to recapture their former glory – and they’ll be up against it again on Wednesday night.
PSG have lost once in nine home games against English sides and are currently on a run of six games without defeat against Premier League teams in Paris. They’ve also lost just two of their last 50 European home games, those defeats inflicted by relative nobodies: Barcelona (2014/15 quarter-finals) and Real Madrid (2017/18 last-16). Oh, and they’ve only lost three games in all competitions this season.
That said, they have been beaten by an English team already in the current campaign, albeit it was away from home, when Liverpool won a thrilling contest 3-2 at Anfield in September. Jurgen Klopp’s men were also unlucky not to claw something from their 2-1 defeat in the Par des Princes two months later, so Solskjaer will look to these games to see what weaknesses his team can exploit.
We think this task is beyond United, but reckon that the Norwegian will channel the hairdryer of a certain Sir Alex Ferguson to get his side well up for this one – they’ll battle manfully to a draw and bow out without disgracing themselves.
This is a clash as nicely poised as they come following a tight first-leg as Roma take a 2-1 lead to Portugal, but the concession of an away goal means their position is precarious. More interestingly still, both teams come into this one on the back of devastating derby defeats at the weekend.
Porto let slip a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 at home to Benfica – this result meant that their rivals leapfrogged them at the top of the Primeira Liga table. For Os Dragões, this marked a first league defeat since the same team beat them 1-0 in October. Roma, meanwhile, were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Lazio, which marked their first Serie A loss since a 1-0 reverse to Juventus in December.
Speaking of the Turin side, the last team Porto faced in the knockout phase of this competition was Juventus in the last-16 of the 2016/17 edition – this ended in a 3-0 aggregate defeat, with the loss at Estádio do Dragão ending a seven-game unbeaten run for Porto against Italian sides at home. On the whole, they’ve won five of their nine two-legged ties against Italian clubs and having won their three home games in the group stage, they’ll fancy themselves to progress with the away goal to their name.
As for Roma, if they’re going to get the job done here they’ll need to overcome a terrible recent away record in the Champions League. I Giallorossi may have reached the semi-finals last season, but this owed nothing to their form on the road in the knockout phase as they lost all three away games; that poor form has crept into the current campaign as they lost two of their three group stage fixtures away from the Stadio Olimpico en route to the last-16.
That said, Roma’s last two trips to Portugal have ended in draws, so we reckon they’ll get the job done but only after a nervy evening in which both teams hit the target.
* All odds correct at time of posting.