Pessimistic view: Van Gaal doesn't believe United can win the Champions League this season

As CSKA Moscow head to Old Trafford, Michael Lintorn focuses on the positive from their run of 0-0s – the clean sheets…
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Man United 1.60 v CSKA Moscow 7.00; The Draw 4.30
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Europe
Man United
From the high of a 3-0 victory at Everton in mid-October in which everything seemed to come together – there was even a goal for criticism-magnet captain Wayne Rooney – has come a four-match winless run, which is their longest since Louis van Gaal’s opening quartet in the dugout.
The good news is that they haven’t lost any of them in 90 minutes, though the latter three draws all finishing 0-0 has done nothing to improve the Paul Scholes-encouraged impression of the Dutchman’s team as dull and uninventive.
They face CSKA Moscow without Luke Shaw, while Paddy McNair, Antonio Valencia, Memphis Depay and James Wilson are all doubts.
CSKA Moscow
While Man United let Man City and Arsenal push four points ahead of them with their stalemate at Crystal Palace, CSKA Moscow were extending their lead at the top of the Russian Premier League to nine points with a 2-0 success over lowly Ufa.
It was on this matchday in last season’s Champions League that they put Man City at serious risk of group-stage elimination by following up a draw in the Russian capital with a 2-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium, which should ensure that the Citizens’ neighbours are steeled for the task ahead.
Match Odds
CSKA Moscow have only lost two of their 23 fixtures this term, but those reverses occurred in their previous two Champions League away days as they were felled 2-1 by Sporting Lisbon in the play-off round and 1-0 by Wolfsburg in their Group B opener.
Indeed, last November’s win at the Etihad Stadium was very much an exception to the general trend. Since 2012, Leonid Slutsky’s side have lost eight of their ten trips abroad in the competition, the one other uplifting result arriving 3-2 at Sparta Prague in a qualifier in which the hosts had a player sent off.
Man United meanwhile are two for two in European home games under Van Gaal, beating Club Brugge 3-1 and Wolfsburg 2-1, and they have won six and drawn one of their seven such ties in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford.
They haven’t been defeated in any of their nine contests at the Theatre of Dreams in 2015/16, prevailing in six and drawing the others 0-0.
Man United Clean Sheet
The positive throughout the recent gloom for the Red Devils has been their defensive efforts, and this was an area in which they needed to grow after being over-reliant on David de Gea in 2014/15.
They have the joint-best backline figures in the Premier League courtesy of eight concessions in 11 outings and have been breached just three times in nine Old Trafford encounters across the board, with one of those an own goal and another a masterful Christian Benteke overhead kick.
Stifling the opposition is something that they are getting better at rather than worse too, being breached once throughout their latest five games in front of their fans and earning three successive shutouts at all venues. CSKA Moscow only scored in the first clash due to a rebound from a penalty.
Recommended Bet:
Back Man United to keep a clean sheet @ 2.20
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