Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain: Is Marquinhos more important than Mbappé and Neymar for PSG?

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When Paris Saint-Germain come out at Old Trafford with their Champions League campaign at stake against Manchester United, the spotlight will fall on a family duo.

Despite his team’s run to the 2019-20 final, Kylian Mbappé hasn’t found the net in competition since December last year against Galatasaray.

This time, two wins and two losses in his four group stage matches mean it would be the ideal time for the French forward to end that drought and point a clear path to the round of 16.

Having been so close last time, staying out of the group could be the final nail in Neymar’s dream of bringing Champions League glory to the French capital.

However, the man who carries the greatest weight when it comes to fortunes on Thomas Tuchel’s side could reside at the other end of the field.

Marquinhos puts himself in Silva’s place

Since the departure of captain Thiago Silva at the end of last season, Marquinhos looks increasingly crucial to PSG’s prospects.

Having taken the armband from his Brazilian colleague, the 26-year-old center-back has shown that he can be just as influential, most recently in last week’s 1-0 win over RB Leipzig.

“Playing taller was also the plan against Leipzig, but it wasn’t possible,” Tuchel said when considering the possible tactical approach against United.

“If the game requires playing low, we have to give answers on the field. That is why it was necessary to find defensive solutions against Leipzig ”.

Marquinhos was the man who gave the answers most of the time, making three interceptions, seven recoveries and conceding a lone foul over the course of 90 minutes.

What happens to PSG when their boss is not around this season is perhaps even more instructive.

They were left out of the first two games of the Ligue 1 season with coronavirus, with Tuchel’s threadbare squad suffering back-to-back 1-0 losses against Lens and Marseille.

The return of Marquinhos sparked a streak of eight consecutive victories at the national level. He missed the 4-0 win over Nimes due to a complaint from the adductors, which also ruled him out of the 2-1 setback at home against United.

On both sides of their heroics against Leipzig, Marquinhos watched PSG lose 3-2 in Monaco before drawing 2-2 at Bordeaux last weekend.

Dominating from central areas

In addition to being PSG’s main central defender, for the past 18 months Marquinhos has also solidly defended being their best retention midfielder, presenting Tuchel with plenty to ponder ahead of a match where the threat of United counterattack. vital.

“I am not going to answer you now,” he told reporters when asked what position Marquinhos would hold.

“This is also a question that [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer is very interested in, so I can’t tell him. “

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