CSKA Moscow 1 - 1 United
Valencia Jones Smalling Rojo(Blind)
Lingard(Memphis) Herrera Martial
This is a good result. Do not underestimate CSKA Moscow. This team is having a great season domestically. Including the Champions League games: they've played 15 games, only lost once and drew twice. This is not a bad team and although some of our football, especially during the first half, was on the verge of mediocre, we should be glad we managed to get a point.
We conceded a needless penalty. I don't know what Martial was thinking but he handled the ball deliberately and gave the ref little option but to give the penalty. DDG saved the penalty but Doumbia scored from the rebound. It was all about CSKA from then on. DDG produced a very good save midway through the half and CSKA's players kept frustrating our players with a lot of pressing. All our attacks got us to nowhere. We barely had a sniff of the ball and something had to change.
On comes Fellaini for Schweinsteiger. LVG seems to love to bring a player on just after half time. Fellaini, as always, won a few headers and helped us build attacks after he'd control an aerial ball. He's great at bringing a ball down. We were much better during the second half. We either shifted up a gear or CSKA tired out.
Lingard was quite good on the right. Rooney was peripheral during the first half but was a tad better during the second. Not a performance that will silence his critics but there were a few other players who had a worse game. Schweinsteiger didn't have the best of games and at the back Jones was anything but calm. Rojo wasn't great either. Valencia was pretty good going forward and even recorded an assist. Smalling was our best defender. In midfield, Herrera was better when he played deeper during the second half and Schneiderlin put in another solid performance.
|10 passes that led to Martial's goal|
As for Martial, I have no idea why he's playing out wide. He had a difficult game but still managed to show glimpses of genius. There was one time when he managed to get past two players with so much ease... it was wonderful to watch. He gave away a penalty quite carelessly but showed great mental strength to keep his head up and play on. He managed to redeem himself with a very good diving header that got us back on level terms with CSKA. I thought we'd go on to win the game but it seemed that United were happy with a draw and showed no urgency to attack the home side's goal.
Would have preferred a win, obviously, but a draw is not a bad result. We should keep in mind that we played away from home in difficult conditions after a five hour flight from England. We still have two home games to play so we should be fine. I'm not really bothered about the Champions League to be honest. I know we're two or three players short of being contenders for the title. We have to reinstate ourselves as one of England's best teams before we can start dreaming of the Champions League.
A mammoth of a game is up next. I have had a good feeling about this game all week long. City will be buoyed by their last minute win today against Seville but, hopefully, we won't be tired after our trip to Russia and rise to the occasion. Come on UNITED!