Solskjaer surprised Tuchel

Solskjaer surprised Tuchel

Manchester United defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1:2 in the first round of the Champions League group stage.

PSG entered the match in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, while Manchester United unexpectedly chose 3-4-1-2 from the start. Given that Harry Maguire did not go to Paris, it seemed that this would only complicate the task for Solskjaer in defense.

The fact is that the three central defenders were Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelöf and Axel Tuanzebe. Each of them is not reliable in the game from behind, and Shaw is generally a left wing player. Nevertheless, Solskjaer decided to close the attacking trio of Neymar, Mbappé, Di Maria using quantity, not quality. The laterals were the nominal wing defenders Alex Telles and Aaron wan Bissaka, who had time to both support the attacks and, most importantly, work out in defense. In the semi-wings, Fred and McTominay were actively shifting to safety net.

Due to this, impassable redoubts were formed in front of PSG players during attacks, among the seven football players of Manchester United. Despite the pressure, possession of the ball and the advantage in shots on goal, the Parisians occasionally entered the opponent's penalty area. If this happened, it was only thanks to the individual skill of Kilian Mbappe, Neymar or Di Maria.

Due to such different styles of play, United foul more often (9:14), made more tackles (27:38) and more than doubled the opponents in clearance (12:27). Due to this, Manchester United clung to the ball in front and hoped that the three attacks from Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford would bring the counterattack to its logical conclusion.

But the goals didn’t come from the teams' styles of play. Not a single PSG wing attack ended in a goal, and their only goal was scored by Martial after a corner into his own net. Manchester United scored the first goal from the penalty spot, and the second in a counterattack, when it seemed that it was turning into a positional siege. But Diallo and Danilo gave space to Rashford and the Englishman scored the winning goal of the guests.

Oddly enough, but the plans of both teams worked in this match. If Manchester United's plan, aimed primarily at destruction, worked 100%, then PSG did not implement it due to problems in the final stage. Mbappe and Neymar did not score their chances, they greatly lacked a playmaker, be it Verratti or even Draxler. Therefore, the hosts have only one goal and the one scored by Martial. Solskjaer managed to take three points at Parc des Princes even with not the most rosy pre-match layouts, and his 3-4-1-2 formation out of utopian became the single true.