Is Pogba recalled?
Manchester United did not miss Paul Pogba prior to his introduction at Newcastle and Donny van de Beek was the more influential substitute. Van de Beek has started in United’s previous midweek matches this season and it would be a waste of his craft to leave him on the bench again in Paris.
Pogba has a penchant for turning it on when he has a point to prove and, even in a sparse Parc des Princes, would relish duelling with his former teammate Ander Herrera back in his hometown, especially as Pogba’s Mino Raiola stablemate Marco Verratti is out injured. It is unlikely Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will accommodate Pogba, Van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes.
Who’s the defensive midfielder?
Scott McTominay was used in a more conservative role at Newcastle and Solskjaer specifically tasked him with shackling Allan Saint-Maximin midway through the first-half. McTominay is more of an asset when deployed deep, due to the shortage of defensive midfielders at United, and has the experience of starting in the comeback at PSG 19 months ago.
Nemanja Matic was overwhelmed by Brighton and wilted against Tottenham, when he was removed at half-time. McTominay, the de facto replacement for Herrera, is the more energetic option to keep the Basque in check.
Does Solskjaer keep Mata?
Solskjaer was vague in his summary of Mason Greenwood’s absence at Newcastle and the teenager who made his debut off the bench at PSG last year and has not even travelled this time.
The intensity of Tuesday night’s game will be unrecognisable from the relatively serene passages United enjoyed at Newcastle – an occasion made for Juan Mata. The Spaniard has often missed the cut against the elite in recent years but his current form and telepathy with Fernandes would make him a worthy selection.
Back to a back three?
Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly were not with the squad that left Manchester Airport on Monday afternoon but Axel Tuanzebe was. Tuanzebe’s last appearance was against Colchester on December 19 and pitting him against Kylian Mbappe and Neymar would be the ultimate baptism of fire.
Given the eminence of the PSG attack, a back three has to be considered, possibly with Luke Shaw tucked inside again with Lindelof and Tuanzebe, and Alex Telles coming in for his debut. An axis of Lindelof and Tuanzebe – or even Shaw – seems too risky.
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Impact on the attack?
If Solskjaer switches to a back three there will be a significant knock-on effect on his forwards. Fernandes is guaranteed to start as the captain and so is Marcus Rashford. The likelihood of Mata lining up has increased with Greenwood still in Manchester but Anthony Martial is available.
Martial is maybe an unsuitable foil for Rashford in a front two and the wildcard pick would be Daniel James, Rashford’s partner in the split striker strategy United had some joy with last year. The Welshman was more purposeful at Newcastle but he might be like a rabbit in the headlights in the City of Light.