United will be looking to get a win after three consecutive draws in all competitions when they face CSKA Moscow tonight at Old Trafford.
In the last three games, Van Gaal’s men have failed to score which looks like they are in a dip in form after a much improved start to the season. In the UEFA Champions League, they are currently second levelled on points with CSKA Moscow with three games already played. Now it is the chance to get the points at home to make sure they qualify for the knock out stages. Wolfsburg are two points ahead of the two teams and it looks like Group B is still to play for in terms of where teams will finish.
The Red Devil’s need to take their chances as they have dominated teams with possession and passing. This does not mean they will win games as it takes goals scored to win. It was frustrating to see the team not get a goal against Crystal Palace but you cannot blame the team as they only managed to have three shots on goal and one on target. Are United afraid to shoot or score? Could it be the players are not playing in their preferred positions and having to select players based on merit? As the chase with Rooney’s form of not scoring enough goals has been called for him to be dropped and allow Martial to take the lone striker role. After Martial’s mistake of giving away a penalty, he rectified his mistake by heading into the back of the net to rescue a hard fought point away in Russia.
CSKA were comfortable of keeping possession and playing on the counter attack as United were forward. It gave the right back and left back to go forward and make chances in front of goal. So United will need to be aware of the threat from these positions if they want to get all three points.
Schneiderlin looks like a doubt for the game. Valencia and Wilson are still missing through injury. Phil Jones and Memphis trained separately from the rest of the squad so they may not feature.
United will need to use players who are able to track back and help out the full backs when CSKA are on the attack. Mata cannot defend but his eye of the needle passes are outrageous when it comes to assists. Then you have Martial who can track back but can get caught out as he did in the previous game and gave a penalty through a handball. Young should play at left wing as he can go forward as well as help out Rojo. If Rooney plays, he would need to be playing behind Martial and let the striker be the target man. He may not score if he is trying to all the things and that has shown in recent games. When Fellaini came on, he provided the strength in midfield which the opposition could not control. The Old Trafford faithful will be expecting a win and get all three points but lately, this has not been the case as opponents are not afraid or fearful of United.
Obviously, it is down to the lack of consistency from United as they are being unpredictable in their results. Although, the style of play Van Gaal is adopting is best suited to the European competition rather than the Premier League so we have to accept he has his ways and trust him to get the best out of the team he has.
Possible starting XI:
Man Utd; De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Carrick, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Rooney, Young, Martial.
CSKA; Akinfeev, Fernandes, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov, Wernbloom, Tosic, Eremenko, Dzagoev, Musa, Doumbia.