Champions League Group B: Man Utd make daunting CSKA Moscow trip
Lee Gormley | October 20, 2015
CSKA Moscow v Manchester United
- Champions League
- Wednesday, October 21st
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- Arena Khimki, Moscow
- Live on BT Sport 1
Man Utd seek Group B top spot
Manchester United will look to challenge for top spot in Champions League Group B with victory on their travels to Russia to face CSKA Moscow, and can take hope from the fact they have never lost to their next opponents before.
On their previous visit to Moscow, the Red Devils prevailed with a narrow 1-0 triumph in 2009, as Antonio Valencia struck decisively on the road, and Louis van Gaal’s men are 9/2 with Coral to win by two or more this time out, with a max stake of £20.
United bounced back from their opening European defeat to PSV Eindhoven with victory against Wolfsburg in their last clash, and three points in the Russian capital could see them seize control of proceedings in Group B.
All four sides in this tight group currently reside on three points, after one win and a defeat each, and the Russian hosts pose a genuine threat to a hopeful United outfit, with CSKA 8/5 to cause an upset on home soil.
From Russia with hope
CSKA recorded an impressive 2-1 triumph over PSV on matchday two and recently maintained their advantage at the summit of the domestic Russian league table, though coach Leonid Slutsky is concerned by his men’s lack of control during play.
“Unfortunately, we’re unable to control the entire match at the moment,” Slutsky stated after a league win over Russian rivals Ural.
“Even those games, which went relatively well for us, like the game against PSV or today’s game, we turn these games into victories by a single goal. The score puts some pressure on you in these situations.”
Russia’s top-flight leaders are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions at home and hold enough firepower to cause United problems, with Ahmed Musa set to be a key danger. The Nigerian forward has struck seven times so far this term and is 11/2 to fire CSKA to another victory (max stake £20).
Can Mata maintain magical form?
Van Gaal will hope Spanish playmaker Juan Mata can continue his recent European exploits on what will be a tough tussle in Moscow, with the Old Trafford maestro having starred in the Wolfsburg win. Mata is 11/4 to net again anytime, while teenage sensation Anthony Martial is 6/1 to strike last.
Mata’s fellow countryman Ander Herrera was the star of the Goodison Park show recently with his sensational performance in that key number 10 role proving decisive, and he is 5/1 to dispatch another goal anytime on Russian soil.
Skipper Wayne Rooney returned to goal scoring form last weekend, breaking his domestic duck with a clinical effort in the dominant victory over Everton, and the Premier League’s second all-time marksman is 9/2 to score in another United win with a £20 max stake.
Dutch boss Van Gaal confirmed that he would be without Luke Shaw, Paddy McNair, Ashley Young and James Wilson, with Bastian Schweinsteiger doubtful to be fit, but also stated that Valencia would return to the fray after being rested. The latter Ecuador winger has fond memories of Moscow and is 9/1 to get on the scoresheet anytime again.
Meanwhile, CSKA are likely to be without Vasili Berezutski after picking up a thigh injury, with Bibras Natkho also a doubt due to concussion, so Slutsky could stick with the majority of the side that toppled PSV for this Red Devils match-up.
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Betting tip: Wayne Rooney to score and Man Utd to win @ 9/2