Preview: CSKA Moscow v Manchester United

CSKA Moscow will be vying for top spot in Group A with Manchester United when the two sides clash at the VEB Arena on Wednesday.

Champions League:
27 September 2017
Kick-off 20:45 local time
Venue: VEB Arena
Referee: J. Eriksson
Assistants: M. Klaseniuns, D. Wärnmark
Fourth official: M. Culum
 
Head-to-head summary:

TEAM       MATCHES  WIN   DRAW   LOSS

CSKA Moscow         4    0    2    2
Manchester United   4    2    2    0

Previous encounter:

Manchester United 1-0 CSKA Moscow 03/11/ 15 (Champions League)

Manchester United goalscorer: W. Rooney (79')

Players to watch:

Moscow have two in-form goalscorers in Vitinho and Timur Zhamaletdinov who United will need to keep in check.

Both scored in their opening Champions League tie as the Russian side overcame Benfica 2-1.

United's goalscoring options meanwhile seem fairly unlimited, with Romelu Lukaku being ably supported by goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in recent matches.

Team form and manager quotes:

CSKA head into this clash in fourth place on the Russian Premier League standings after 11 games.

While they recently recorded three successive wins, Viktor Goncharenko's side were eliminated from the Russian cup by National League side FC Avangard Kursk ahead of being held by Dinamo Moscow in the league.

United, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last eight games and sit joint top with Manchester City on the Premier League standings. They head into this tie having seen off Southampton 1-0 on the road.

Ahead of facing United, CSKA head coach Viktor Goncharenko praised the quality of his side's opponent.

He said: "Since Sir Alex Ferguson left [in 2013], this current version of Manchester United is without any doubt, their strongest team.

"Sir Alex Ferguson created so many strong versions of Manchester United. We can compare it [the current side] with the 1999 version, the 2003 team… they have had a lot of great squads and great teams. The transfer policy that Manchester United is developing now is good and clear so they are making themselves stronger. In great clubs, it must be exactly like this."

He added: "Despite having spoken a lot about the strong qualities of Manchester United, in any game against any opponent, we can change the course of the match.

"We have to keep looking for our chances and soon as our supporters are feeling that we are close to achieving a great performance and a great result, then I am sure that we can succeed a lot."

Jose Mourinho was meanwhile focused on how the team would adjust to having key players Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones all unavailable.

He said: "The solutions are not many. We are trying not to focus on individual battles in specific areas on the pitch..we are going to have a team with quality and balance to try to win the match.

"That's our objective."

On his opponents, he then added: ""Opponents wise, I think it's the best CSKA that I'm going to play against. I think it's the best team that I face with CSKA as an opponent.

"We are going to have a team with quality, with balance, to try to win the match which is our objective."

Team news:

CSKA are hopeful that Mario Fernandes will play after suffering a concussion on Saturday but Aleksandr Makarov will miss the game with an ankle problem.

For United, Carrick, Fellaini and Jones will all miss Wednesday's clash alongside Paul Pogba. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo remain long-term absentees.

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