Man Utd v CSKA Moscow preview: Sergio Romero and Paul Pogba to start
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 05/12/17 7:20pm
Manchester United need a point from their home game against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday evening to secure top spot in Champions League Group A.
In fact, Jose Mourinho's side simply need to avoid a seven-goal defeat to confirm their place in the last 16 and are set to finish top as long as they avoid conceding five goals at Old Trafford.
Their opponents are also in the hunt for qualification and must pick up more points than Basel, who travel to Benfica on Tuesday night, to guarantee a place in the knock-out round.
United boss Mourinho has promised to take this match seriously, despite having a huge Premier League clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
He said: "I am going to make a few [changes] but not too many changes. We didn't qualify yet. We didn't finish first in the group yet. There are other clubs also involved in the qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team."
The chance of elimination for United is so slender that Mourinho will rest goalkeeper David de Gea, following his man-of-the-match display against Arsenal on Saturday.
The United boss has confirmed that Sergio Romero will start the game in goal with Joel Pereira named on the substitutes' bench.
Left-back Luke Shaw is in line for his first United appearance since October 24, while Paul Pogba, who is suspended for Sunday's Premier League derby against Manchester City, will definitely play on Tuesday.
Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick will all miss the game through injury and the match will also come too soon for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is in contention to return on Sunday.
- CSKA Moscow are winless in their five previous games against Man Utd (D2 L3), all in the Champions League group stages. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in those five games.
- Man Utd have lost only two of their last 48 Champions League group games at Old Trafford (W34 D12), against Besiktas in November 2009 and Cluj in December 2012.
- CSKA Moscow have won both of their two away games in the competition this season (both by a 2-1 scoreline).
- CSKA Moscow have failed to reach the knockout stages in their previous four Champions League appearances. The last time they made the last 16 was in 2011/12 when Real Madrid eventually knocked them out.
Given the way the group is set up, with third-placed Basel going to Benfica, who have been useless, CSKA have to go for it.
It was a great game at the weekend and David De Gea was sensational, although I would not be surprised if he was one of the players rested ahead of the derby clash on Sunday, such is its importance.
United have accepted Paul Pogba's ban so he should get a game and Zlatan Ibrahimovic might start if he recovers in time.
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However, I do see it being low on goals even though CSKA will go for it, as I think an early United goal will kill the game and then they will just sit in and turn their focus to the Manchester derby.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0, Marcus Rashford to score first (18/1 with Sky Bet)
Manchester United are Sky Bet's 1/2 favourites for the victory with CSKA Moscow up against odds of 6/1 for the win, while the draw is priced at 10/3. Jose Mourinho's men are 14/1 sixth favourites to go on and win the competition while their visitors are 6/1 to just to qualify for the knockout stages.
Romelu Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 11/4 with Vitinho considered the visitors' main threat at 17/2, while Paul Pogba is enhanced from 11/2 to 13/2 to score from outside the area in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.