If stagnant rock & roll was a music genre, it could perfectly summarize the month of October for Manchester United. Rolled over at Arsenal, bossed Everton at Goodison Park and absolutely stagnant for the rest of the month. From being top to trailing the leaders, out of the League Cup in appalling fashion and somewhat uneasy ride in the Champions League.
It is a process, a philosophy Van Gaal might say. However when you have not scored for three straight games, problems would mount one after another in front of the ever optimistic Iron Tulip.
CSKA Moscow coming to town is a perfect opportunity to show that the Devils are truly better than last season. Not to mention that a win is a must if we are to qualify for the knockout stages. No pressure on Rooney and his teammates then…
The Moscow Reds on the other hand are rocking in their domestic league. They have a nice nine point gap over the second placed FC Rostov, things can hardly be any better for the Russians.
They come into this one on the back of a comfortable home win, and they’ll be full of plenty of optimism for the long trip to Manchester. With the two teams tied on four points apiece it would seem that a repeat of the result in 2009 would do them wonders with a home game to current leaders Wolfsburg to follow. One thing to be noticed is the tactical discipline of the Russian’s. Their relentless pursuit and adherence to tactical instructions nearly earned them the home win. With United needing to attack and being at home, CSKA can sit and enjoy their counter attacking style.
United expect to be without Antonio Valencia (foot) for the game, while Memphis Depay is still struggling to shake off a knock suffered against Middlesbrough. Morgan Schneiderlin could miss the match due to personal issues.
Bibras Natcho (head), Vasiliy Berezutsky (thigh) and Roman Eremenko (groin) are doubts for CSKA boss Leonid Slutsky.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Carrick, Schweinsteiger; Lingard, Rooney, Herrera; Martial
Cska Moscow (4-3-3): Akinfeev,Fernandes, Nababkin, Ignashevich, Schennikov; Eremenko, Wernbloom, Tosic, Dzagoev; Musa, Doumbia
Last meeting: Manchester United : Cska Moscow 3:3 3rd November 2009
Apart from the meeting two weeks ago, the teams have actually met at Old Trafford before. Exactly six years ago when Cska jumped to 3:1 lead before a late equaliser gave United the strategic home draw.
It would seem almost impossible to replicate such scenario, as United would find it very hard to score three goals if recent matches are anything to go by.
With fans being pessimistic and wanting that bit of excitement back, a lot of questions are being asked. Van Gaal is hopeful Rooney can silence the critics and bring some of the smiles back at Old Trafford.