Manchester United welcome Neymar-less Paris St-Germain to Old Trafford on Tuesday evening as the Champions League returns and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in with a great chance of getting a win.
When this draw was made in December with Jose Mourinho in charge, United looked to have been handed a nightmare test. However, a lot of water has passed under the bridge from the Champions League group stage ending until now.
We now find a different United coming into this one with every reason to be high on confidence.
They have won all bar one of their games since Solskjaer was appointed in December and are now free-scoring. Paul Pogba, 13/2 to score first on Tuesday, is flying and would relish a big performance against French opposition.
Similarly, Anthony Martial has given his boss a headache after his starring role in Saturday’s wine over Fulham, although in-form Marcus Rashford may get the nod here.
PSG meanwhile have lost talisman Neymar to injury and are also likely to be without Edinson Cavani for the game, leaving Kylian Mbappe with the burden of expectation.
The long-term problem of their Ligue 1 domination (ten points clear with two games in hand) leaving them vulnerable when they face elite European opponents is still a worry for a team that has not yet fulfilled its potential on this stage.
They were leading scorers (17) in the group stage but did not keep a single clean sheet in six games and only two of the teams in the last-16 conceded more goals (Tottenham and Lyon).
Old Trafford is right behind their Norwegian leader and, just like Anfield where PSG were beaten in September, the ground has a special air to it on a European night with the fans in full voice.
That should be enough to help the hosts secure a lead to take to Paris, with a 3-1 United win priced at 17/1.
Roma’s memorable run to the semi-finals last season brought with it goals. Over 2.5 goals were scored in five of their six games at the knockout stage and their last-16 challenge can start with an entertaining game in the Italian capital, where over 2.5 goals is priced at 10/11.
The Serie A outfit have scored 20 times in their last eight league games, although they have also been poor at the back, conceding 13 in their last five outings.
There is not a lot to choose between Roma and Porto coming into this game, and perhaps 14/5 on an away win is a bit big in the betting.
Roma won three of six games to come out of a weak group ahead of CSKA Moscow and Victoria Plzen. They were no match for group winners Real Madrid, at a time when the European champions were more than vulnerable.
Porto, on the other hand, had five wins in six games as they overcame Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow.
Porto beat Roma 4-1 on aggregate in the 2016/17 play-offs for the Champions League and have never lost in four games against their Italian hosts, winning 3-0 on their previous trip to the Stadio Olimpico.
It might not be as emphatic now, but they are decent value to come away with a 2-1 at 12/1.
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