Manchester United brushed CSKA Moscow aside in a dominant 4-1 away Champions League win on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho had troubles completing the strongest starting XI with five of his players being unable for selection. However, Manchester United showed real strength of depth beating the Russian side in proper swagger. Romelu Lukaku (twice), Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored on a great European night.
Manchester United are now the only team with maximum six points after two rounds played in Group A.
Manchester United Strength Of Depth Is Their Biggest Victory
It was a matter of showing everyone Manchester United are more than their crux of the team. However, they showed their crux is actually wider than expected. Without Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick, United showed real quality.
They were swift and even brutal on some occasions. United were taking the chances that presented themselves and showed real character. There were no nervousness or silly mistakes. From beginning to the end Manchester United played a great football match away from home.
Anthony Martial Is A Delight On Its Own
What a performance this was from the French winger. He scored a goal and assisted two more and saying that on its own is good enough explanation. However, Martial was brilliant for whole 72 minutes he was on the pitch.
Martial made both Lukaku’s goals happen, the Belgian scoring them after his lovely assists. He was also composed to convert a penalty and deservedly earned Man of the match award. Martial harassed CSKA’s shaky defence, putting on a show every travelling Manchester United fan will remembe
CSKA Defence Is Dreadful
Manchester United should be proud of their big win, especially given the circumstances. Still, CSKA defence is a reason not to be too overly excited. Igor Akinfeev has now gone 41 Champions League matches without a clean sheet. However, it is not only that. Their centre-back pairing of Alexei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski have a combined age of 73. They seem to be playing for the Moscow club for decades now.
CSKA were very exposed on many occasions and combined with a team with such attacking strength, this match could not have ended any differently. Ignashevich was unable to stop Lukaku in the air for the Belgian’s first goal, while Berezutski’s poor clearance led to his second of the match.
However, not everything is horrible for CSKA. With Basel thrashing Benfica 5-0 in Switzerland, the race for the second spot in the group looks wide open. Benfica lost both matches and CSKA will have a double-header against Basel in game-weeks three and four.
Victor Lindelof Is Improving
If we were to watch solely his performance against Basel or Burton Albion, Lindelof would be still far from the starting XI. However, Mourinho is daily working with the player and knows his qualities.
He got another Champions League start on Wednesday and duly delivered this time around. His performance was much better and disciplined. “He will improve step by step like the good player he is”, Mourinho said and he was completely right. Lindelof certainly improved and felt comfortable in an away match.
Obviously, this does not mean he is now ready to play constantly in starting XI. Mourinho will need plenty more from him before he gives him such opportunity. However, this was a good step towards that.