CSKA Moscow enjoyed an unexpected success in their Champions League opener earlier in September as they came from a goal behind to beat Benfica 2-1 away from home, a result which sees their chances of progressing from this group skyrocket.
With the group including Manchester United, Benfica, and Basel as well as CSKA Moscow their opponents on Wednesday were always the favourites for the top spot, but CSKA’s victory in Portugal is potentially their most important result of the group stages and could balance the scales in their favour come December.
Since that win the Russians haven’t fared so well though. They beat Rostov 2-0 at home but were then knocked out of the Russian Cup and drew with Dinamo Moscow on Saturday to make it 12 wins, two draws, and four defeats since their competitive season began way back in July.
This early return to action is to counteract their lengthy winter break, and whilst the extra match practise may have come in handy a couple of months ago, their opponents are well up to speed by now. Manchester United have already played nine competitive matches, and with seven wins from those games, they will be feeling full of confidence.
The Red Devils only defeat of the season came in their first game as they faced Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, but since then they have looked unstoppable at times. They have won seven and drawn one, scoring an impressive 24 goals and conceding just three in the process.
Much of Manchester United’s attacking success has been thanks to their new star striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian forward has only failed to score in one of his appearances for his new club so far and has averaged a goal per game. Backing him to find the net once again at 21/20 looks a great choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
CSKA Moscow may have impressed against Benfica, but they’re facing a team of much higher calibre on Wednesday and the fact they have lost six of their last 14 Champions League home games is a worry. Meanwhile, Manchester United have won 11 of their last 15 European outings. Odds of 4/6 for them to extend their winning streak looks good value, so we’re backing that along with a 2-0 correct score predictions.
It’s also worth looking at Manchester United to Win to Nil. The visitors have kept a clean sheet in six of their nine competitive outings this season and CSKA Moscow have failed to score in four of their last five Champions League defeats, so that looks good value at 13/8.