CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United didn’t win once on the road during their last Champions League campaign and it proved to be their death knell in the group stages.

Needless to say, the visit to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday presents Jose Mourinho’s men with the perfect opportunity to put that record straight and take them to just four points from the desired ten points normally sufficient to reach the knockout stage.

But the Portuguese will have to do it without a number of key players: Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia are all unavailable.

With that in mind, here are three players who must start against CSKA on Wednesday night.

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman was rested during United’s 1-0 win at Southampton over the weekend with this game in mind, you sense. He was on the scoresheet when the two sides played out a 1-1 draw back in 2015 and has been in simply irresistible form on the left hand side in recent weeks, producing a ‘Man of the Match’ performance against Burton Albion and netting three Premier League goals despite only starting one game.

And with CSKA right-back Mario Fernandes, their best player, out with a concussion, Martial could inflict plenty of damage on the flank.

Ander Herrera

Mourinho’s midfield options for this game are scarce and he will be counting on Herrera to produce the same grit and tenacity displayed during his cameo against Southampton.

The Spaniard hasn’t been required for large parts of the season, but you sense his presence in Moscow will be vital for United to maintain their control of proceedings against a CSKA side with nothing to lose.

Eric Bailly

The partnership of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. The pair have claimed five clean sheets from six Premier League games and look physically imposing as well as assured.

But the Ivorian will be without his defensive partner in Moscow, with either Chris Smalling or Victor Lindelof starting instead, and supporters will be counting on him to spearhead an imposing, organised defensive display.

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