Comparing PSG to Champions League Elite: Manchester City & Manchester United

With the UEFA Champions League group stage finally underway, we continue to look at the clubs Paris Saint-Germain will have to contend with this season. There are five clubs from the English Premier League appearing in this year’s tournament and we’ve already compared them to PSG in an earlier article. Now, it’s time to look at Manchester clubs and how Les Parisiens stack up against them.

Manchester City finished third in the Premier League and was eliminated in the round of 16 in last year’s Champions League by the eventual French champions AS Monaco. Their red rivals, Manchester United, enter this year’s competition via their UEFA Europa League championship as they finished sixth in their league standings.

Last year marked the last time PSG faced either of the Manchester teams as they lost to City in the quarter-finals of the 2015-16 Champions League. With all three clubs having rebuilt their core with new managers, it’s quite interesting to see how they fare against PSG if they should make it past the group stage.

So how do these teams compare against one another on paper?

Manchester United

Let’s start with the Red Devils, who have made significant transfers over the last two summers with the addition of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku to name a couple. Thus far, the signings are paying dividends as they currently sit atop the Premier League table with 10 points through four matches.

Their offensive attack has garnered much of the attention and for good reason. Through four matches, United have scored 12 goals–more than any other English side. Their prized striker, Lukaku (sorry Zlatan), has lived up to his hefty transfer fee so far, scoring 4 goals in 4 matches. Also, compared to PSG, United’s midfield has become a key contributor offensively as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pogba have hit their stride in their second season with United.

Through five matches though, PSG has matched United’s offensive numbers as they have scored 19 goals. Furthermore, United might have better individual numbers but when it comes to team stats, PSG has a higher amount of chances created (78) and a 74.55 percentage rate when it comes to successful take-ons. The passing game also favors Paris as they possess a better pass completion percentage (90 percent) and more key passes (66).

When looking at their fixtures, United’s numbers are impressive (they lead all Premier League clubs in goals cored and chances created). When making the comparisons to PSG though, it shows the French giants are no slouches themselves. In fact, they appear to have their offensive attack on video game mode with all of the cheat codes. If the two sides should meet in the Champions League it would definitely make for an intriguing fixture.

Manchester City

In the span of two transfer windows, City went on a spending spree to improve their defense. The influx of John Stones, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, and Ederson have revamped City’s defense while also making it younger.

Through four games, it appears as though Pep Guardiola’s team is getting their money’s worth from their new investments. City has conceded two goals, have limited their defensive errors, and have allowed one error to result in a goal thus far. Ederson, who cost City €40 million, the Brazilian keeper has only conceded two goals while averaging 3.5 saves per goal.

PSG didn’t spend the kind of money City did on defense, however, their defense is on par with the Citizens as they’ve only conceded 3 goals in 5 games. Their defensive errors have not resulted in any goals for the opposition either. The center-back position is one where PSG didn’t upgrade in a major way due to their capable starters but added depth would have comforted many supporters. City, on the other hand, spent €55.6 million on Stones, who has yet to impress.

The fullback position is one where City possess an edge. The sale of Serge Aurier dealt a blow to PSG but it was a needed move for both the player and club. Layvin Kurzawa remains his inconsistent self, often plagued by boneheaded plays while also showing flashes of world-class form. The veteran Dani Alves isn’t a long-term solution but could be a mentor for Thomas Meunier and Kurzawa.

With their revamped defense, City will look to use their strength to push opponents off the ball. PSG on the other hand, will look to rely on their defense to bend but don’t break as they let their offensive attack shred the opposition.

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Posted by Eduardo