Manchester United vs CSKA Moskva Verdict:
After coming back from three back to back goaless draws United had to win not only to secure a spot in next round of Champions league but also for the fans who show true faith in their team. United’s starting line-up must have left lot of fans in discomfort as one name i think unanimously everyone dont want to see is of Wayne Rooney.
United’s playing eleven had
Young Smalling Blind Rojo
Mata Rooney Lingard
Some surprise starters were Ashley Young at right back and Jese Lingard at left wing. Every single United fan wanted to see Martial on top and LVG did fulfill our wish. United started first half with an intent to score. There was a direct approach from United and many might not agree but LVG had a plan to attack and Lingard had a purpose to run on behind defenders which gave Rojo the freedom to put crosses in but unfortunately his delivery was poor. With every single cross put inside the box we could see atleast 3 United bodies inside and 2 on the edge of the box which United have lacked in earlier games. Lingard had couple of great chances which he dif not take and somehow was the brightest as well as poor in first half. In second half United knew they will have to be patient as CSKA had kept their defensive shape and they defended deep that Degea would have noticed well as he was spectator in first half. United first few mins dull with slow tempo and passing sideways and backwards. CSKA sent in their Target man Doumbia early in second half to exploit United and hit them on counter attack. CSKA and Doumbia got their chance but Degea was aware of the threat and got a crucial touch but Smalling who was equally aware too put his body on line to stop Doumbia’s second attempt. Smalling is leading the defence this season and have taken his chance and stood above all his teammates. By this team United had brought in Fellani who came in for Martial and decision was booed by Old trafford faithfuls. Carrick might have been slow and was playng away too many easy passes. This time he did find Lingard with a beauty and his touch was equally good to set up Rooney for his 237th goal equalling Legendary Dennis Law. Finally United got a win and Rooney got a goal to end his drought.
United’s Tactical Approach:
LVG did have a plan to generate some pace and tempo with fast movement. With Young at right back it helped Mata move inside and also kept CSKA on backfoot. Smalling and Blind were again brilliant with both look to have form a partnership of their own. Smalling was again brilliant game after game and his decision making as defender has improved tremendously. Rojo at left back didnt have too much to do defensively and had combined well with Lingard. If Rojo could improve on his deliveries he will be a nightmare for opposition. Schweinsteiger and Carrick were two holding players and the Latter again had a good game who late in second half gave way to Herrera. Schweinsteiger combined well and linked the play with back to front. His intentions were to pass quick and dribbled pass 3 CSKA defenders at one point. Carrick started the game little slow and also lost possession on some ocassion. He was more cautious in his approach but in second half Carrick picked up the tempo and his shot just missed the goal. But he did make it up with a pinpoint pass to Lingard which ultimately was headed in bu Rooney. Mata on the right was fairly quiet but he came inside and left the flank open for Young to cross the ball in the box. Mata should have had an assist to his name but Rooney could not put it in. Lingard started on the left and Rooney behind Martial. Both Lingard and Rooney combined well and Lingard had 2 good chances which he shot over the bar. In first half Lingard was brilliant running behind defenders and creating chances but his decision making looked inexperienced while taking corners and shooting on goal but in second half he looked a different player with some intent. I think Memphis can learn something from Lingard that is to keep his head up. This was a great opportunity for Lingard and he did take it with a man of the match performance. Rooney started brightly his pass to Lingard was superb on couple of ocassions and he was running behind while crosses came in and finally did get his 237th goal equalling Dennis Law. He looked more of Wayne Rooney that we know rather than that dull player he has been. I personally yesterdays game would turn around his season and his critics as he has been my star for almost a decade at United and one of the best team players. Martial as striker is definitely way forward for United. He has serious pace can driblle past defenders and has that surprise element to switch on and off at the right time. CSKA did their homework well and everytime had 2 players against Martial.
Manchester United deserved victory and some complaining should know United had 14 shots with 6 on target and had 10 corners which shows their attacking intent.