Champions League Matchweek Two Preview: United aim to get back on track

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The 2023/34 UEFA Champions League rolls into its second gameweek, with some more big ties across the eight groups on offer.

We preview two of the standout games below.

Manchester United v Galatasaray – Tuesday 20:00

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag needs a quick response after overseeing the Red Devils’ worst start to a league campaign in 34 years. A 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday was their fourth loss in seven Premier League fixtures and also their fifth in nine matches in all competitions, a run that included their 4-3 loss at Bayern Munich in matchweek one of their Champions League return.

Ten Hag must now get their European campaign back on track, but with five first-team defenders currently ruled out injured, it may be a tricky task – especially considering United have managed just one clean sheet in their last 13 matches in this competition. They start as 2/5 favourites to pick up three points against Galatasaray, but will guard against complacency when they take to the field alongside their Turkish opponents, who are yet to lose in 14 competitive matches this season.

While the Turkish outfit are unbeaten on the road since April, they’ve not won an away match in the Champions League since March 2013 – a run of 17 games. They begin as 6/1 underdogs to pull off a famous upset at Old Trafford, with a draw deemed more likely at 4/1.

In terms of individual markets, Marcus Rashford predictably leads the betting for the anytime goalscorer markets for the hosts at 11/8. Galatasaray’s line up may include some more familiar faces than one would expect, so look out for the likes of Mauro Icardi (5/2), Dries Mertens (4/1) and former United man Wilfried Zaha (5/1), who will fancy themselves against this makeshift United defence.

Newcastle v PSG – Wednesday 20:00

Newcastle marked their two-decade wait for Champions League football with a commendable 0-0 draw away at AC Milan in matchweek one, but there will arguably be more optimism when they welcome an out of sorts PSG to what will surely be a raucous St James’ Park on Wednesday night.

Newcastle started the season quite tamely but with a club-record 8-0 victory over Sheffield United and five clean sheets on the bounce, Eddie Howe’s side are certainly looking back to their best. The Parisians will definitely have their work cut out if they are to get on the scoresheet – let alone leave the north-east with three points – and both sides start this one equal at 6/4 apiece for victory.

In a similar vein to their hosts, French champions PSG enter this clash on the back of three straight clean sheets, though they were left massively frustrated by a 0-0 stalemate  against Clermont Foot over the weekend. That result left Luis Enrique’s men dwindling in fifth in Ligue 1, yet they may well expect a bounce back here after reaching the knockout stages in each of the last 11 editions of the competition.

A draw at 14/5 may not be the worst punt, and, given the retrospective defensive records of both teams coming into Wednesday’s clash, the under 2.5 goals market of 5/4 may compliment a bet-builder very nicely. If there are to be goals, Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak (both 11/8) lead the betting for the hosts, whilst Kylian Mbappe (11/8) unsurprisingly carries the most threat for this new-look PSG front three.

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