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Nic Ladds 20th Oct 2009 - 14:01

United won't get much love in mother Russia

The mighty Manchester United take a trip to Russia to take on CSKA Moscow and punters may start steaming in to the draw at 23/10 when they see United have drawn all four European encounters with Russian opposition.

While 23/10 chances CSKA have won their last six European home matches but come up against a United side priced at 10/11 who are unbeaten in 13 Champions League away games.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side are shorn of some key players which won't help their cause as Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher are all missing which means striking responsibilities fall to Michael Owen (11/2 for first goal) and Dimitar Berbatov (6/1) who both need to start scoring soon.

Luis Valencia finally stepped up and bagged a goal against Bolton at the weekend and he is available at 5/1 to score anytime, while so often the European hero, Paul Scholes is on offer at 6/1.

With Russia being such a tough place to go and several key players missing goals won't be free flowing but CSKA have not kept a clean sheet in their last 10 Champions League matches which means 1-0 or 2-1 to United look in the right area at 5/1 and 7/1 respectively.

Ferguson may well take a draw though which means 1-1 could be a big player at 11/2 while for those thinking it will be a total shutout, 0-0 is 7/1.

English fans will be familiar with CSKA's manager Juande Ramos who after his woeful time at Tottenham is hoping to do better this time around and has some talent to call on including Brazilian Guilherme (15/2 for first goal), Tomas Necid (8/1), but Alan Dzagoev looks the best call at 9/1 for first goal or even better, 10/3 to score anytime as he has already netted in the Russian side's first two games.

With United having a crucial league game with Liverpool coming up at the weekend, Ferguson will know his side will have easier chances than this to cement their route through to the next stage and they could ease off later on which could let the Russian side back in to the game if United are ahead.

A double result of Man Utd/draw at 14/1 or even draw/draw at 7/2 look possible, while the come from behind and win or draw market could be a good way to exploit this with CSKA 5/1 and United 4/1, especially as United conceded first against Wolfsburg before coming back to win.

While United have one eye on the league, so too will CSKA who sit fourth at the moment, seven points behind leaders Rubin Kazan, and with their season drawing to a close they will want to pick up points from their remaining games and this could make it all the more likely the sides will share the points.

United don't know the meaning of taking it easy and it would be foolish to think this accomplished Russian side will roll over for them but it looks like it could be a tough, frustrating night for both sides with a draw suiting them both reasonably well and in by far United's hardest match and a huge game at the weekend, I think Ferguson will take the point and hope to finish with all his players intact.

Draw - 23/10

Man Utd to come from behind and win or draw - 4/1


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