Manchester United’s win over PSG was quite an eventful affair. The 1-2 scoreline at the Parc des Princes does not do full justice to the entire spectacle that transpired.
Anthony Martial’s own goal was the sole consolation for the Ligue 1 side who were unable to respond to Bruno Fernandes’ early penalty and Marcus Rashford’s excellent late goal.
Likewise, the highly-rated frontline of the Parisians couldn’t penetrate United’s backline and one member of the defense has gotten a lot of the credit for it.
Axel Tuanzebe was a force to be reckoned with on Tuesday. The 22-year-old was in outstanding form and did a far better job at the back than anyone could have expected from someone who has been sidelined by injury for over 10 months.
His numbers alone were exceptional with the English centre-back notching a flawless aerial duels stat and a near-perfect passing. From a defensive perspective, his 7 clearances and 2 blocks were vital.
In particular, the academy graduate was paramount in frustrating Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappe from doing any real damage despite their blistering pace and physicality.
Fans were heavily supportive of the youngster and stormed to Twitter to make their delight known.
It took guts for Solskjaer to play Axel Tuanzebe in his first game in nearly a year against Mbappe and Neymar, but he put on an incredible performance. #MUFC have a very special defender pic.twitter.com/QScbrynkye
— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) October 21, 2020
Axel Tuanzebe’s game by numbers vs. PSG:
100% aerial duels won
92% pass accuracy
Excellent performance. 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/eDdlKgGS8h
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 20, 2020
Axel Tuanzebe has not played for United for nearly a year and went to Paris and pocketed Kylian Mbappe. What an incredibly inspired performance. That’s our centre back.
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) October 20, 2020
One thing is for certain, Tuanzebe has made his case this evening at centre back, I knew he was good but I can’t believe how he has seamlessly just slotted back into the team after a lengthy period on the sidelines, provides that much needed composure at the back.#MUFC
— Al Foran (@ImpressionistAL) October 20, 2020
Mbappe really tried to take Tuanzebe on twice in a foot race and got put on the floor on both occasions, get back in the gym fella this isn’t the deliveroo league anymore
— ‘ (@vintageredss) October 20, 2020
Axel Tuanzebe after his outstanding performance pocketing both Neymar & Kylian Mbappe on his first competitive game for #mufc in 307 days:
“Yeah, it was good to get a run out.”
— ً (@utdrobbo) October 20, 2020
No player in the Champions League this evening made more clearances than Axel Tuanzebe, all seven coming from inside his own box.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 20, 2020
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was likewise pleased with the player’s performance as he stated after the game: “Axel’s a tremendous defender, a great leader. He’s come through the Academy and we’ve known for years that he’s going to be a top player for us and he’s got the character and the attitude that a Man United player should have.”
With all that has been said and done as of recent about United’s defensive woes, such a performance from Tuanzebe now does make one wonder whether the transfer market should be looked at for a capable centre-back after all?