Mon. Nov 30th, 2020

Man Utd

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Manchester United might already have their perfect defender

3 min read

Wan-Bissaka proves his worth

The last time Manchester United faced Paris Saint-Germain they started the match with Eric Bailly at right-back before he was hooked in the first half. Diogo Dalot replaced him that night with makeshift option Ashley Young forced into midfield, but now such a lack of quality seems incomprehensible.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is an easy target for his tame attacking threat even despite his excellent showing against Newcastle at the weekend, but there are few in world football as good as him defensively.

He was exceptional in against PSG with a performance so good he forced World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe to switch wings and try his luck down United’s left instead.

The 22-year-old is affectionately known as ‘the spider’ for his lunging tackles, and Neymar and Mbappe were the two latest victims to be caught in his web. Improvement is still needed going forward, but a defender’s job is primarily to defend and few are as good as Wan-Bissaka.


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Tuanzebe could be Maguire’s long-term partner

United fans knew there would need to be a serious tactical tweak in order to contain PSG when news emerged that Harry Maguire and Bailly would miss the game through injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put his trust in young Axel Tuanzebe and the centre-back returned his manager’s faith with an exceptional performance against one of the most potent attacks in Europe.

His emphatic tackle on Mbappe early on was a huge confidence booster and set the tone for his evening, with Tuanzebe putting in a defensive display which likely won’t be bettered in the Champions League this week.

Tuanzebe was out for 10 months so his game time still needs to be handled carefully but if this is the level he can perform at then United might already have their long-term partner for club captain Maguire.

De Gea back to his best

The return of Dean Henderson from loan this season was supposed to signal the end of David de Gea’s reign in goal for United, but instead it has seen him reach a level of performance we have not seen for a few years.

Just as Luke Shaw was rejuvenated by genuine competition from Brandon Williams last year it is now De Gea who is benefitting from having somebody breathing down his neck.

On a tricky night in the French rain it was De Gea who again proved his world-class ability with a string of exceptional saves throughout, with his stop to deny Kylian Mbappe the pick of the bunch.

United have finally replaced Herrera

Ander Herrera’s appearance at the Paris Saint-Germain press conference ahead of the match brought with it the anticipated debate of his time at Old Trafford.

The Basque midfielder remains a favourite among United fans but the travelling team no longer miss him.

United paid the price for failing to replace Herrera when he left last year but the arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek have helped to transform the biggest weakness in the squad to the biggest strength.

Paul Pogba was the star man in midfield the last time the Spaniard wore a United shirt, yet now he is no longer even a guaranteed starter and Solskjaer deserves plenty of credit for that.

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Bruno Penandes no more?

United took the lead from the penalty spot but there can be no ignoring the fact Bruno Fernandes saw his initial effort saved. He immediately answered his critics with the retake, but after his miss at Newcastle there could be argument for a change from 12 yards if he misses another.

Deadline day signing Alex Telles is a set-piece specialist and whipped in some inviting corners in Paris. He’ll be eagerly awaiting any dead-ball opportunities which may come his way.

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