Manchester United Champions League preview

Manchester United face a long and arduous trip to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on Wednesday as they look to make it two wins from two in the group-stage of the Champions League. Domestically, they go into the game following a 1-0 win over Southampton which showcased their clinical finishing and defensive solidity.

Romelu Lukaku is in good form as the Belgian is looking to repay to £75 million plus add-ons that United paid for him, but Paul Pogba will be a big miss after picking up an injury in their win over Basel which saw the English side climb to the top of Group A.

Across the rest of Europe, there are some massive games to come. From a British perspective, Liverpool make a similar trip to Russia the day before United to play Spartak Moscow with Jurgen Klopp’s side looking for their first win of the European campaign following a 2-2 draw with Sevilla on matchday one. Chelsea face a very tough trip to play against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday with the Spanish side sitting in second in La Liga following four wins and two draws. This could also see the Blues come face to face with Diego Costa, at least off the pitch anyway, with reports that he could be paraded before the game. Back in England, Manchester City host Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday as they look to build upon their fantastic 4-0 win over Feyenoord in their first game.

The big games across Europe mostly happen in Group H though. Tottenham face Apoel Nicosia following their superb 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in their first game, but their match against the group minnows is made very important as Spurs’ next game sees them play double-European champions Real Madrid. German side Dortmund currently find themselves top of the Bundesliga, while Madrid languish in sixth in La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo and co will be desperate to get back to winning ways, while Dortmund can’t afford to lose more ground on the top two.

The biggest game on Wednesday comes in the form of Paris Saint-Germain’s game against Bayern Munich. The French side are still looking to really compete on the European stage but, with Neymar in superb form, the French side will be confident ahead of their game. Bayern, on the other hand, find themselves in the unknown position of sitting in third in their domestic league, but they are joint top of their Champions League group. A win for either side would really cement their power at the top of Group B, although it is still very much early days.

Manchester United’s match is with a side that currently sit in fourth place in the Russian League with 20 points from 11 games. It has not been an ideal start for CSKA having already tasted defeat twice, however they did secure a very impressive win over Benfica last time around in the Champions League. United will be confident though as they have been in fine form this campaign, although a trip to Russia is always tough, and without the physical presence of Marouane Fellaini in the middle it could be even more difficult. However, a win would see United take another big step towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.