Jose Mourinho’s men will be feeling the effects of a hectic – and successful – week comprising of wins over Everton, Burton Albion and Southampton, but the clash with CSKA Moscow serves as Manchester United’s biggest test yet this month and they cannot afford any lapses in intensity.
United failed to win any of their away games in the Champions League back in 2015 and it was ultimately the agent behind their miserable downfall in the group stages. Winning away in Moscow would invoke a vital psychological boost for the players – a firm indicator that the stumbling blocks which felled Louis van Gaal’s men are a thing of the past, paving the way for confidence and fluidity to properly enter this European campaign.
But Mourinho will have to make a series of changes to his line-up on Wednesday: both Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini didn’t travel to Moscow after picking up knocks against Southampton, paving the way for Ashley Young to receive a start at right back after impressing in that role against FC Basel. Ander Herrera, meanwhile, will be handed a chance to impress following his decisive cameo from the bench at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, where he made six tackles and tightened up United’s midfield.
Another player destined to start, you sense, is Anthony Martial. The Frenchman scored on United’s last visit to Moscow and, after being rested over the weekend, will be ready to inflict damage on the left hand side – especially with right back Mario Fernandes, CSKA’s best player this season, set to miss the game through injury.
Here is our predicted XI for the clash with the Russian side including Herrera starting alongside Nemanja Matic and Martial featuring on the left flank.