PSG vs Manchester United Champions League preview: Why are Edinson Cavani and skipper Harry Maguire not playing?
In what comes as a blow for Manchester United fans, the team will be without the services of striker Edinson Cavani and skipper Harry Maguire as they are set to miss their UEFA Champions League clash against PSG on Tuesday, October 20. The news was confirmed by gaffer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who also added that Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard were not among the players on the flight to the French capital.
Quite simply, this makes it challenging for the patchy Red Devils unit to vault across Neymar and Co. While they may have shown signs of the vintage United side when they trounced Newcastle 4-1 earlier, the job against PSG just got a lot harder. According to Solskjaer, Cavani needed some more time to work on his fitness levels while Maguire has suffered a minor knock. "We hope the players won't be away for too long," Solskjaer told a news conference. "Edinson needs a few more days of training before we can maybe think about the weekend."
"Hopefully Harry, Eric, and Mason as well, but not sure about that." Cavani was looked at as a key component ahead of the clash as the 33-year-old striker would be up against his former club. With the French club, Cavani has scored over 200 goals in his 301 games for the side. He joined the outfit in 2013 for a fee estimated to be around €64M ($75M), making it the sixth-largest transfer in history. In addition, he topped the Ligue 1 goal charts between 2016 and 2018, according to Goal, and was also Ligue 1's Player of the Year.
Bruno Fernandes will captain the side in Maguire's absence for the first time. "I was not expecting this," said Fernandes. "To be captain of Man United is an important achievement. But everyone needs to be a leader. Tomorrow is not about me, it is the team." He has made his way to the scoring charts as he has three goals in the season already but opined he could do better. "I have played well last few months, I can do much better," he said. "I know my numbers are good but I am sure I will do better."
What does this mean for Manchester United's chances?
In one word, tough. PSG are coming off wins against Stade de Reims, the Angers SCO and Nimes Olympique. With Neymar back in the side, he will be partnering Kylian Mbappe and that already marks the two strikers who have managed to breach defenses a threat. Solskjaer will be counting on Marcus Rashford to do some damage upfront while hoping his defense would be enough to hold back the PSG strikers.
Paul Pogba will come under the radar and PSG will be aware of the threat the Frenchman poses. Alex Telles coming in would serve as a massive boost. The playmaker will be crucial in setting up key strategies for United if they need to pull off a win against Thomas Tuchel's men.
Kick-off is scheduled at 3 pm ET on Tuesday, October 20. Fans can watch the game on CBS All Access.