Preview: Manchester United v CSKA Moscow

Manchester United Lukaku Pogba

Manchester United will be looking to seal top spot in Group A when they welcome CSKA Moscow to Old Trafford in the final round on Tuesday.

5 December 2017
UEFA Champions League
Group A Matchday 6
Kick-off: 19:45 local time
Venue: Old Trafford

Referee: G. Rocchi
Assistants: E. Liberatore, M. Tonolini
Fourth official: F. Preti

Head-to-head summary

Man United 5 3 2 0
CSKA Moscow 5 0 2 3

Previous encounter

CSKA Moscow 1-4 Manchester United – 03/11/2017 (UEFA Champions League)

CSKA Moscow goalscorers: K. Kuchaev (90′)
Man United goalscorers: R. Lukaku (4′, 26′), A. Martial (18′ pen), H. Mkhitaryan (57′)

Players to watch

Paul Pogba is expected to feature against CSKA as he misses the next three Premier League matches, starting with Sunday’s derby against Manchester City, for his red card at Arsenal this past weekend.

The France international was influential once more for United as he provided assists for Antonio Valencia and Lesse Lingard in the 3-1 win over the Gunners. Pogba has been limited to just two appearances on the continent this term due to a thigh injury, but he’s hoping to make an impact in midweek.

Vitinho has found the back of the net just once in five group games for the Horses, but he’s their top scorer in the Russian Premier League with seven goals and he bagged a brace in the 6-0 demolition of FC Tosno on Friday.

Team form and manager quotes

United have gone 39 games unbeaten at the Theatre of Dreams since losing to neighbours City on September 10 last year. The 1-0 defeat at Basel on matchday 5 was their only blip in the UEFA Champions League, where they lead Group A by three points ahead of their Swiss and Russian counterparts.

Jose Mourinho’s side have won three league matches on the spin after going down to Michael Lang’s late goal at St Jakob-Park a fortnight ago. They maintained the eight-point gap to the Citizens with victory at the Emirates Stadium, and Mourinho insists they have pushed thoughts of Sunday’s top-of-the-table derby to the back of their minds for the time being.

“We are used to it. It’s just the next match. We don’t think about the next one [after that], it’s just about tomorrow,” the Portuguese coach said in his pre-match press conference on Monday.

CSKA need a 3-0 success at Old Trafford to progress to the knockout stages and they enter the clash in fine form having gone undefeated in the month of November.

The 2-0 win over Basel last time out kept their European hopes alive, with manager Viktor Goncharenko refusing to write off their chances in the return tie against the Red Devils.

“You were just talking about Manchester United’s home record and now we’re talking about another outcome – a 3-0 for us,” Goncharenko told the press.

“We’re not thinking about either. What I want to say is we have to do our best. Every team has a chance to win.”

Team news

Mourinho confirmed that Nemanja Matic will play no part after taking a knock at Arsenal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also misses out as he continues to work his way back to full fitness from a serious knee injury.

Luke Shaw is in contention for a rare appearance, while Sergio Romero is back in goal for United’s European adventure, with David De Gea rested.

The visitors must do without injured duo Georgi Schennikov and Aleksei Berezutski, while suspension robs them of ibras Natcho and Pontus Wernbloom.