20th Feb 2012 | Football
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
It would be hard to overstate how one-sided this clash looks like being.
Our traditional view of Jose Mourinho teams needs to be thrown out the window because these days Real Madrid don’t just win, they entertain. Los Blancos score prolifically and may just be the best team in the world right now. As bold as it may appear, I see no reason not to take the 7/2 (Coral) on the leaders of La Liga winning this first leg by three goals or more.
Real Madrid are 10 points clear in the Spanish league having won 20 of their 23 matches, scoring 79 times in the process. That’s an astounding average of 3.43 goals per game, in what many regard as the strongest domestic league in the world.
If that wasn’t enough, Mourinho’s side enjoyed the best Champions League group stage statistics in history. They won all six matches, found the net 19 times and conceded only twice. When you compare that record to Tuesday’s opponents, this looks like it should be a remarkably one-sided contest.
Arguably, CSKA are only really here because Inter took their eye off the ball in the final group match when they felt their job was already done. That gifted Leonid Slutsky’s side a priceless three points. Prior to that, Moscow had lost two home matches, conceding three to the Italians and two to Lille on their own patch.
Their preparations for mighty Madrid could hardly be any worse. They haven’t played for over two months due to the Russian winter recess and they are missing a host of key players. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, described by his manager as “almost indispensable” is out while all-time club top scorer Vagner Love returned to Brazil over Christmas. With several other injuries and suspensions, don’t be surprised if the Spaniards issue another mauling here.
Odds correct at time of publishing: 17:14 20th Feb, 2012 but subject to change