By Imran Kardar
So I finally got a prediction right! Well done! Not so well done by United though. It wasn’t United best game but in the end they came away with a point. United were absolutely lackluster in the first half. Their play was way too slow; they kept passing the ball around at the half way line and CSKA hardly looked in any danger from the United attacks. It was all aimless football. What I don’t understand is that in the post-match press conference LVG came out and said that they were too slow in their build up and play in the first half and criticized the team why not get up and come to the touchline and get the players to show some urgency?! Why wait a whole half to give them a grilling in the dressing room? I would like to see LVG on the touchline giving it to the players who he thinks are underperforming and also show some passion and urgency on his own part. He probably thinks that he has taught the players whatever they need to know before the game and he doesn’t need to be on the touchline but I don’t agree with that approach.
United went a goal down when Anthony Martial through a moment of madness handled the ball in the area and CSKA were given a penalty. DDG made a great save but the ball bounced back to the on rushing Doumbia who scored. The United defense caught napping as no one tracked the attackers when the penalty was saved. Poor defending and anticipation. Throughout the game whenever CSKA attacked they did so with pace and commitment. Their final passes were more often than not the right passes and United always looked troubled when they attacked.
The second half showing was far better from United. The tempo was higher and there was more purpose behind United’s play. Rooney had a good chance from a tight angle but couldn’t put the ball past the keeper. However moments later Valencia put in a cross that Martial met from a diving header, the ball hit the post and went in. A great piece of play by United and an excellent finish as the header was struck from distance and placed to perfection. Martial had made up for his earlier gaffe with the handball. United had gotten the all-important goal and tried to look for the winner but they couldn’t score. The game ended as a 1-1 draw and United came away with a point.
With the half way stage reached in the group stages of the Champions League United sit 2nd in their group with 2 home games and an away game to come. From this position United should be able to qualify but they’ll need to get the job done in their next two games and not leave anything till the end. The players will board a flight back to Manchester and start preparations for the big one, the Manchester Derby! GGMU!