Manchester United have all but assured their place in the Champions League Last 16 and welcome CSKA Moscow to Old Trafford for their matchday six finale. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter...
"Goals have tended to flow when the Russians take to the road in Europe’s premier club competition. A chunky 12 of their past 14 fixtures in games as Champions League guests have surpassed the Over 2.5 Goals line with CSKA firing blanks in only five of those 14 outings."
Manchester United v CSKA Moscow
Tuesday 5th December, 19:45
Live on BT Sport
Manchester United expected to rest and rotate
Manchester United aren't yet mathematically assured of Champions League qualification but for the Red Devils to miss out on the Last 16, Jose Mourinho's men would need to lose by seven goals on Tuesday night with Basel beating Benfica elsewhere.
United may have surprisingly slipped up in their last continental outing at Basel but return to Old Trafford in fine form. The hosts have claimed top honours in each of their last four domestic fixtures, whilst scoring 12 goals, including Saturday's thrilling 3-1 triumph at Arsenal.
However, with a Manchester derby on the horizon, Mourinho is expected to rest and rotate his squad here. Paul Pogba is likely to play due to his Premier League suspension but Jesse Lingard is a booking away from a ban and unlikely to feature with the likes of Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind and Sergio Romero all forecast to feature.
CSKA Moscow must better Basel's result
CSKA Moscow know they will guarantee Champions League knockout football for the first time since 2011/12 should they better Basel's result against Benfica this midweek and the Russians arrive in decent nick.
The return of midfield playmaker Alan Dzagoev has coincided with the Army Men's upturn in form. Saturday's 6-0 shellacking of FC Tosno was CSKA's fifth in six games across all competitions as Viktor Goncharenko's team climbed to third in the Russian Premier League standings.
Brazilian forward and top club goalscorer Vitinho bagged a brace at the weekend and will provide plenty of final-third threat but the capital club will be without suspended midfield pair Pontus Wernbloom and Bibras Natcho.
Manchester United [1.44] battered CSKA Moscow 4-1 in Russia back in late September and with the Red Devils boasting a W34-D12-L2 record at Old Trafford in Champions League group games, it's difficult to oppose the hosts here.
Nevertheless, a much-changed United side could give their visitors an opportunity to upset the odds. CSKA [9.20] have suffered a sole reverse in 16 away domestic games and have claimed victories in all four European away days this season.
The guests have proven to be stubborn opposition on their Champions League travels of late, holding their hosts at half-time in four of their most recent seven and only losing by two goals or more twice in eight away. With that in mind, supporting CSKA with a +1/1.5 start on the Asian Handicap should appeal at [1.93].
CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev kept his first Champions League group stage clean sheet in 11 years on matchday five and the Army Men haven't managed to silence any of their last 16 hosts in this competition.
And goals have tended to flow when the Russians take to the road in Europe's premier club competition. A chunky 12 of their past 14 fixtures in games as Champions League guests have surpassed the Over 2.5 Goals line with CSKA firing blanks in only five of those 14 outings.
With three of Manchester United's most recent five encounters breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier and Jose Mourinho's men managing one clean sheet in six, it may pay to support a goal-heavy game with Over 2.5 Goals backable at [1.90].