THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Last 16 gets underway this week as Manchester United welcome PSG to Old Trafford. Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) shares his betting thoughts.
Manchester United v PSG | Tuesday 12th February 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
When the draw was made, this tie looked like somewhat of a formality for PSG. However, the Manchester United of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are an altogether different beast to the one we saw under Jose Mourinho.
Since the Norweigan arrived, United have won 10 and drawn one of his 11 fixtures, with notable away victories at Tottenham and Arsenal in that sequence. Moreover, they face a PSG who have actually tasted some rare domestic defeats – a league loss to Lyon and a cup reverse against Guingamp – in recent weeks.
The French side are also going to be missing Neymar and Edison Cavani, which should give United confidence of taking a lead to the Parc des Princes.
Still, at 7/5 the home side are simply too skinny and the goals market is the angle I like. Since Solskjaer took the reins seven of their 11 matches have seen Over 2.5 Goals land and while I am convinced that they are a far better attacking force with him at the helm, I am still not convinced about them defensively.
United have kept an impressive number of clean sheets during Solskjaer’s short spell (four in nine matches) but a closer inspection of the statistics suggests that this is a little flattering. Across those games – against Newcastle, Tottenham, Leicester and Fulham – they have faced 67 shots, with 23 on-target and a combined xG of 6.36.
As stated previously, PSG missing Neymar and Cavani is concerning, but there is plenty of other attacking threat in the French side and it’s worth noting that 20 of their last 22 Champions League encounters have seen three goals or more scored, including all four knockout matches.
Over 2.5 Goals is 3/4 with Marathon and that looks great value to me.
Elsewhere, I like the look of Paul Pogba at 3/1 with 888 in the Anytime Goalscorer market. The Frenchman has scored in five of the 10 matches he has played in since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho and is responsible for 35% of his sides league goals since the Portuguese left.
Moreover, I don’t think this is a flash in the pan. In total, he has 11 in the Premier League this term, but his xG is over 12. You can struggle to get 2/1 elsewhere, so I think this is excellent value.