By Imran Kardar
Manchester United will return to Moscow the city of their last Champions League victory to face up with CSKA Moscow. A crucial game for United as they have registered only one win in their last two outings in the Champions League. With the return leg of the fixture to be played at Old Trafford in the next couple of weeks a win on Wednesday could go a long way in confirming United’s qualification in the knockout stages of the Champions League. United and LVG will be happy with a draw as well but Manchester United always play to win, that’s the mentality taught to the players.
Team selection for this one is tricky. LVG might be tempted to rest a few players as we have the Manchester Derby on the weekend. However, we don’t want LVG to make the mistake that Wenger made with Ospina. He should go in with a strong XI and worry about the derby later. DDG to start in goal with Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Rojo in the backline. LVG might be tempted to keep Jones in the lineup as he had a great game last weekend at Everton however, LVG’s stubbornness to play a left footed defender in the centre back position might come in to play.
Carrick could come back in to the fold to partner Schneiderlin allowing to give Schweinsteiger a rest. Mata should be a certainty to start as he was taken off at half time against Everton alongside Herrera and Martial with Rooney up top. I wouldn’t disturb the formation that did so well against Everton however I’m not LVG and we could see a totally different attacking lineup with Depay, Fellaini and Valencia playing!
The derby must be playing on LVG’s mind but that is a Sunday kickoff and I sincerely hope that he doesn’t go in with a weakened team, though the bench strength at United is good these days with only Young and McNair out with minor injuries and Luke Shaw the long term absentee. A job needs to be done in Europe and CSKA will be a tough team to beat. But United must be high on confidence after the weekend’s win over Everton and must treat the game and CSKA with respect. I’m going to be a bit pessimistic and go with a 1-1 draw as my prediction for the game, however I hope United win, for obvious reasons! GGMU!