Real Madrid have not faced CSKA since 2011-2012 in the Champions League. That’s about to change when Real travel to Moscow and face CSKA at the VEB Arena.
Real have hit a bit of a slump this past week, losing to Sevilla 3-0 and then drawing 0-0 to Atlético. To top it all off, Real are missing key figures for this match and some going forward. Overall, however, they remain 2nd in LaLiga in what’s been a competitive race so far. CKSA are 4th in the Russian Premier League.
With a full squad, Real are the overwhelming favorites. But, without several stars they are going to have to be cautious with CSKA, certainly cannot afford to take them lightly. Group G is a fairly easy group, especially when Real have already defeated their toughest competition in Roma. However, that does not mean this guarantees a win, considering the amount of injuries that have been racked up in the last week. And, they will be on the road in Russia.
The injury list grew substantially for Real over the weekend. Both Ramos and Bale picked up knocks against Atlético. Bale’s MRI came back negative for injury and Lopetegui said Ramos is not injured, but neither are included in Real’s squad. Marcelo is still out with injury after the Sevilla match. Isco remains out as well, while Jesus Vallejo is back in the squad.
CSKA have a great share of injuries themselves, missing: Viktor Vasin, Aleksandr Makarov, Abel Hernandez, Kristijan Bistrovic, Ilya Pomazun, and Georgi Schennikov.
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Vallejo, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vasquez, Asensio, Mariano
Since Navas started against Roma, he may start again in the Champions League. With Vallejo back in the squad, he may get in for Ramos if fully healthy, which means Nacho remains the replacement for Marcelo.
With Bale out, Vasquez may get a start in his place. Mariano may also get the start for Benzema, the two could even realistically be paired up top. We’ll likely see Vinicius come on as a substitute as well, getting some much anticipated playtime for the club.
Akinfeev; Fernandes, Becao, Chernov, Nababkin; Bijol, Akhmetov; Vlasic, Dzagoev, Oblyakov; Chalov
Real Madrid-CSKA 3-0
Even with Real missing some of their starters, this should be a win for them. It would be disconcerting if they draw, shocking if they manage to lose. With a group that really isn’t that tough, they must win these types of matches. Winning on the road with an incomplete squad would be a huge positive coming off a week of negativity.
CSKA aren’t just going to roll over, so Real will have to make sure they are all-in and not complacent. This is a manageable win and should be expected to be one, barring complete disappointment. Hopefully, even with the injuries, we see a similar performance to the Roma match a few weeks ago.