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CSKA Have To Be Considered Favourites Tonight

Well last night's been a truly wretched one for English clubs - and the trend could easily continue today, with United facing a very tricky away tie at CSKA Moscow.

As you're all undoubtedly aware, the game will be played at the scene of our greatest success of the 21st century: the Luzhniki Stadium where Edwin van der Sar's save from Nicolas Anelka handed us the Champions League trophy after a dramatic penalty shootout. This time, however, we won't play on grass but on the Luzhniki's usual artificial surface.

Fergie insisted they're not worried about the plastic pitch at all but it's certainly more familiar for our opponents which could be an advantage for them. I'm not worried about the Russian weather either: it'll be cold but no colder than your average English winter.

No, what makes CSKA favourites is of course United's injury list and decidedly dodgy away form in the Champions League even though we went to great length to rectify that during the last two seasons, with wins at Sporting, Dinamo Kiev, Sporting, Roma, Aalborg, Porto and Arsenal. But we're just not as good away from home as we're at Old Trafford where, remember, United haven't lost a Champions League game since 2005.

The injury list is the bigger problem though: Ryan Giggs has been the player of the season so far, edging Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra - all three are out, as is the very, very good Darren Fletcher. Which makes picking a balanced and effective team very difficult for Fergie.

And of course there's another aspect: the boss said he's not a great believer in the 'can afford not to win' philosohpy but that's precisely the case now. We're top of the group having won our first two games, still have two home games coming up and if we win those we're almost certain to win the group. With a visit to Liverpool looming this game is hardly a priority, demonstrated excellently by the number and quality of players left behind as a precaution.

The players' vowed to concentrate fully on this game but the reality is that the subject of their focus will be Liverpool. Nobody will want to pick up an injury ahead of that game so I expect an aggressive, fighting CSKA team to take the game to us and they could well get the three points.

Predicted starting line-up:

an der Sar - Brown, Ferdinand, Evans, O'Shea - Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani - Owen, Berbatov




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday October 21 2009

Time: 9:51AM

Your Comments

After last night, i'm worried about both english teams tonight. obviously less worried about you lot, but as an english team who i'd like to stuff cesspool on sunday, there's a slight concern. Watch out for Alan Dzagoev, he supports chelsea and he's incredible!
LifeLongBlue
Shrek, Giggs and Vidic are out. A draw is written all over it xD
German Blues Brother
FU, I tried to watch the game for 15minutes. It is just too boring, no movement, no creativity from both sides. Red nose wants too beat Poo badly....
German Blues Brother
2nd half I was really impressed with United, this was such a tricky tie where many teams could easily have slipped up. The tripe wriiten by a certain cit-eh fan about Valencia not being able to score goals is slowly coming undone. Akinfeev is a good keeper who reads the game well and I was impressed with him and Klasic.
NotoriousRedDevil
I am still one of those (perhaps few now) that doesn't want valencia...i think he is a porr poor player....but even poor players will get chances in United and eventually he was bound to score...but he has no creativity and no natural ability to make me think for one minute he is united class....i am hoping he is just a stop gap replacement until we find a good player
ibrahiy
Ah, talking about people behind their back - Tres Tres yoonited! For what it's worth nerdy me old mucker, I never said he wouldn't score, just that he wouldn't get that many - and I see that some of your own fans agree with me. hero worship him all you like, the tranny had more talent in one of his pubes than Valencia.
fifthcolumnblue
"Talking about people behind their back!" Pot calling kettle black. You aint a person you're just scum and already your back tracking on what you're said like most of your fans. You've had a go at me for name calling and yet here you are acting like a juvenilke delinquent. Good on the keyboard bet you don't run your mouth in the flesh if you have your dentist bills must be pretty high :-)
NotoriousRedDevil
Oh and I agree about that tranny Torres that you're reffering to having more talent than Valencia
NotoriousRedDevil
Such harsh words young man! Just to refresh your memory, this is what I posted regarding Valencia ('twas only last week, you must have a short one - memory that is) " One swallow does not a summer make. Based on his performances at Wigan, you should now be expecting at least 2-3 goals from him - Pers season. fifthcolumnblue" Wouldn't call that backtracking, but then again, who am I top disagree with the mighty nerd?
fifthcolumnblue
And nerdy, you know full well there was only one tranaldo that played for the rags.
fifthcolumnblue
Wot no response? Pity this has now moved down the page as I was really looking forward to hearing your response.
fifthcolumnblue
 

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