Paris Saint-Germain host Manchester United on Tuesday as the Champions League returns for another exciting campaign.
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The visitors won 3-1 at the Parc des Prince in March 2019 to seal a place in the quarter-final on away goals. It was the ultimate smash and grab via Marcus Rashford’s last minute penalty, with the Red Devils outplayed for the majority of both legs.
With Leipzig likely to gain three points at home against Istanbul Basaksehir, this is already an important match for both sides as they will not want to lose ground in a tough looking group.
They should be at it from minute one, then, making Antonio Mateu Lahoz an interesting referee appointment from a betting perspective.
The Spaniard tends to be more restrained in Europe than he is domestically – showing 3.55 yellow cards per game as opposed to 4.9 in La Liga – but one thing which remains constant is his propensity to show early yellow cards.
In 18 of his last 20 matches in all competitions, Lahoz has shown at least one yellow card in the first half. 12 of those 18 were prior to the 27h minute, which is bet365’s marker for this match in the ‘Time of First Card’ market.
Both sides are stacked with pace and cynicism, with the aforementioned ties in the season before last seeing 13 cards shown, so even though the 27th minute is earlier than I’d have liked, I’m happy to back Lahoz to work his magic at 5/6.
On that note I’m also tempted by Angel Di Maria to be shown a card at 4/1 (Sky Bet).
The former Man Utd winger was noticeably pumped in both legs against his former club, scoring in the first leg and picking up a booking in the second, and he was also cautioned three times in nine matches in last season’s competition.
With Alex Telles potentially making his debut at left-back for the visitors, Di Maria may be tempted into a few cynical fouls when tracking him and there’s always the possibility of dissent with him, too, especially if he’s in angry mode once again!
Surprisingly, PSG did not concede a goal at home in last season’s competition on their way to the final. Dortmund and Real Madrid were swatted aside 2-0 and 3-0 respectively, but that defensive record must be tempered by the fact that Atalanta and Leipzig did not get a chance to score at the Parc des Prince in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively due to the coronavirus crisis (and the Dortmund win was played behind closed doors).
Indeed, 22 of the Parisians’ 36 home matches since returning to dine at Europe’s top table in 2012 have seen both teams score. United, meanwhile, have now scored in 10 consecutive Premier League matches away from home, as well as in 11 of their last 14 Champions League away matches.
Utilising bet365’s Bet Builder, then, I’m happy to back both teams to score along with there being at least one card in the first half and PSG to earn at least one corner in each half at evens. I expect Thomas Tuchel’s side to be on the front foot so that part of it should sail in comfortably.
Another even-money shot (Betfair) I will be backing is much more simple: Kylian Mbappe to score anytime.
The France forward has scored four league goals already this season and gets himself in more goalscoring positions than ever now that he’s playing off the left.