CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United; 5 Talking Points
Score: CSKA Moscow 1 - 4 Manchester United
Goal(s) for CSKA: Konstantin Kuchaev 89' (assist Golovin)
Goal(s) for United: Lukaku 5', 27' (both assists Martial), Martial 19' (Pen - won by Mkhitaryan), Mkhitaryan 57' (off a rebound after Akinfeev saved from Martial)
Manchester United put in one of their most commanding displays of an already impressive first month and a half this season as Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku combined to immense effect and help their team quite literally 'toy' with the creaking CSKA defence to seal their place atop Group A of the Champions League.
Here are the main things we learned from the masterclass put on by the away side at the VEB Arena
#5. Nemanja Matic is the midfielder Manchester United have been looking for since Roy Keane's retirement
Roy Keane is most well remembered for his leadership skills and sheer willpower, but as I have touched upon before it is his metronomic, intelligent, short passing game that made Manchester United the team that they were in the 90s and early 00s. They have never been truly able to replace that, until now*.
While Matic's tackling and sheer physical presence - and his defensive capabilities - are the most talked about, his superb, underrated passing has added a great deal of value to this United side. Sure, it will be the crossfield to Darmian that will stick out most, but his more routine passes were the ones that laid the foundation for United to play their expansive style of football on.
Matic, along with the criminally forgotten Ander Herrera, utterly dominated the middle of the park - they attempted 201 passes between them and pulled off 91.5% of those
*(ok, United will never, ever, truly replace Roy Keane; but this is the next best thing)