In the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United meet at Paris’ Parc des Princes tonight. With a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
United’s Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur are already there after seeing off Borussia Dortmund last night, along with Ajax who shocked Real Madrid. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men have a hill to climb if they are going to be joining Spurs.
This is because they are currently 2-0 down in the tie following the two-goal victory of Thomas Tuchel’s side at Old Trafford three weeks ago. And tonight, the Red Devils are going to need to fight off injury woes and win many individual battles all over the field if they are going to have any hope of knocking out the French champions and continuing their Champions League odyssey.
One of those battles will be taking place mentally between two players who won’t see much of each other on the field of play at all. One between a goalkeeping legend at one end in Gianluigi Buffon of the hosts and perhaps a legend-in-the-making at the other, in David de Gea for the visitors. Ahead of kick-off in France’s capital, we’re going to be comparing them.
The comparison we’re going to be carrying out is a statistical one, analysing the ‘keepers’ figures for their respective clubs in the 2018/2019 season so far in the Champions League. The stats are contained in the below image, provided by our good friends over at whoscored.com.
As we can see, Dea Gea has made two more appearances and played 180 minutes more than Buffon in Europe’s premier club competition this campaign. Whilst, surprisingly, neither have made a tackle as we look at the first of these defensive stats.
Meanwhile, the former Juventus star has made more interceptions per match and committed more fouls per match than his Spanish fellow shot-stopper.
Whilst both goalkeepers haven’t won an offside, haven’t been dribbled past, haven’t made a block or scored an own-goal in the Champions League in ’18/19. They have made clearances, being locked on 0.3 each per game. Whereas, the man with the higher WhoScored match rating is De Gea (6.72 to 6.33).
In conclusion in this statistical tactical analysis, some of the stats have told us that neither ‘keeper has set Europe alight in the tournament this term, with De Gea just having the edge on the all-time great 13 years his senior, stats-wise.
This offers us little clue as to who will have the better evening in Paris. But the fact that the United man has the better UCL figures this season will give him the mental edge and mentally can be so important on those big European nights.
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