Manchester United have not scored in 325 minutes and are up against a CSKA Moskva side unbeaten in ten, so it is little surprise Louis van Gaal expects a testing assignment.
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- Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal prepared for "very organised" CSKA
- Since picking up a point in Moscow, United have drawn all three matches 0-0
- United are 325 minutes without a goal, since Anthony Martial's header against CSKA
- CSKA are ten games unbeaten and a club record 21 without losing in the league
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Rooney, Fellaini; Martial.
Out: Valencia (ankle/foot), Depay (unspecified), McNair (abdominal strain), Shaw (broken leg)
Doubtful: Schneiderlin (personal reasons), Wilson (unspecified)
CSKA Moskva: Akinfeev; Mário Fernandes, A Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov; Wernbloom, Tošić, Panchenko, Dzagoev; Musa, Doumbia.
Out: V Berezutski (adductor), Eremenko (groin)
Louis van Gaal, Manchester United manager
I think the most important thing is that you create chances and that you finish those chances. Against Middlesbrough [in the League Cup last week] we created more than enough. Against Crystal Palace it was a concern because we didn't create as much, but that was one of the few matches in which we were not the better team.
We are hopefully making history but it takes time. We are the best defenders in the Premier League; you say we cannot attack and it's not true. It's only a moment in a process. When you don't score it is a bad period because football is scoring goals, because that makes the difference. I hope we will score against CSKA, but I know it will be very difficult as they are very organised.
Leonid Slutski, CSKA Moskva coach
They are very different from the team we faced in 2009 ... but Manchester United are Manchester United. They remain a club of top quality. This team is obviously very good with possession so we will play a counterattacking game. When a team has players like Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and so on, they can score at any time and against any opponent so their recent blanks don't provide much comfort.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester United
The result left the fourth-placed Red Devils four points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and Arsenal.
CSKA Moskva 2-0 Ufa (Ignashevich 21pen, Tošić 62)
Unbeaten CSKA continued to set a relentless pace in Russia, winning their 11th game in 14 league outings this term.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Manchester United: DDDDWL
CSKA Moskva: WWDDWW
Reporter's view: Simon Hart (@UEFAcomSimonH)
The big question accompanying United is when their goal drought is going to end. They last went three games without scoring in January 2005, so it will be interesting to assess the mood at Old Trafford tomorrow if CSKA manage to frustrate United early on, given the home side have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions. Van Gaal will point to the excellent defensive stats his team have earned so far this term (13 conceded in 18 games) but it is the other end of the pitch that will hold the focus of fans and media alike.
Did you know?
United are still seeking a first home victory over Russian opposition, following three draws. They were held 0-0 at Old Trafford by CSKA in 2009/10, following UEFA Cup first-round aggregate defeats by both Torpedo Moskva (0-0 in 1992/93) and Rotor Volgograd (2-2 in 1995/96); find out more in our extensive match background.