Potential Manchester United XI vs CSKA Moscow

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /

After three consecutive 0-0 draws, Manchester United and Louis van Gaal are desperate for goals and victory when they host CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night at Old Trafford.

The Reds have failed to score in 325 minutes of football, since Anthony Martial’s equaliser in Moscow in the first encounter between these sides two weeks ago, and after admitting that they need to score in this game to get the fans back on side van Gaal could be tempted to go with a slightly more attacking line-up.

In goal, David De Gea has done nothing wrong. The Spaniard is the main man once again and with three clean sheets in his last three games and his fine form continued as he denied Crystal Palace with a couple of top saves at the weekend. He was unlucky not to get a clean sheet in Moscow when he saved a penalty before Seydou Doumbia smashed in the rebound and he’ll be hoping he can continue his run and that the players at the other end of the pitch do their jobs.

At right-back, Matteo Darmian starts through necessity if nothing else. The Italian picked up a booking at the weekend meaning he is unavailable for the visit of West Brom on Saturday but with Antonio Valencia out injured following his knock against Manchester City, the Italian’s selection for midweek is forced.

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In central defence, Phil Jones is back in contention after coming out of ‘the red zone’. The England centre-back won his place back in the side at the expense of Daley Blind after recovering from injury but missed the last two games with Louis van Gaal worried about overplaying him. But the boss confirmed during the pre-match press conference that Jones was back in the squad and he now looks set to go straight back into the starting line-up. Chris Smalling will undoubtedly keep his place in the side after a formidable start to the season.

At left-back, van Gaal has a choice to make. The first game between these two sides saw the Russian side target Marcos Rojo in this position with balls over the top to test his poor positioning. He struggled throughout the game and it was this tactic which eventually led to them getting their penalty. van Gaal has the option of shifting Daley Blind over to the flank, which although would see the side lose some pace on that side his greater tactical awareness could prevent that tactic coming into play again.

In midfield, van Gaal was joined by vice-captain Michael Carrick at the press conference which hints that he will feature. Carrick played 120 minutes against Middlesbrough and struggled in that game but with Schweinsteiger hardly setting games alight with his performances, it’s possible that van Gaal will try to switch it up.

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Morgan Schneiderlin missed training on Monday due to personal reasons and is fit to play but it’s possible van Gaal goes slightly more attacking due to circumstance. With no goals in three games, van Gaal could be tempted to drop Ander Herrera into a deeper role like he did against PSV Eindhoven.

This decision would allow Anthony Martial to move back up front, with Wayne Rooney somehow still keeping his place in the team as the No.10.

The manager admitted during today’s press conference that he sees Martial’s best position as a central striker, while he also revealed that he still has confidence in his captain to deliver despite his poor form this season. This suggests that it may be time for Martial to move back in from the left wing, while Rooney could be shoehorned in elsewhere.

Juan Mata has struggled for form since winning the Player of the Month award, with Jesse Lingard impressing in his few appearances. Mata’s lacked the pace that has seemingly been needed to unlock defences in recent weeks, while Lingard’s lack of a killer instinct has seen him hit the post twice. A blend of the two players would be perfect right now but with Mata’s reputation and match-winning ability, the boss is more likely to lean towards the Spaniard for this crunch tie.

Next: Jones fit but Memphis out of CSKA clash

Memphis will miss the game through injury Louis van Gaal has confirmed, which leaves the left-wing spot wide open. Anthony Martial could of course continue but with the boss hinting that he’d be reinstated to the central striker role, it seems Ashley Young will get his chance. The England winger has been sidelined with a calf injury and when he has been fit he’s often been put into a more defensive role thanks to injuries in the squad. But with his favoured position now vacant, this is a big chance for him to cement himself in the team once more.

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /
Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /