CSKA Moscow need a victory in order to secure the first place in the standings, whereas Lille can return to contention for the second place by claiming maximum points in Moscow. With both sides looking for a win and boasting impressive attacking departments, we could easily see goals galore at Luzhniki Stadium.
CSKA in problems
CSKA Moscow started the season in incredible fashion, creating a big advantage at the top of the Russian Premier League in the early stage of the season, making everyone believe the Army Men would finally win domestic championship. However, once the Champions League campaign started, CSKA found it increasingly hard to cope with the busy schedule, which was hardly a surprise considering the small squad the gaffer has at his disposal. The Army Men did well to stay in contention for the place in the Champions League knockout stages, but they slipped from the top of the standings in Russia, and are now trailing three points behind leaders Zenit. The return of Keisuke Honda is likely to help the hosts rediscover their scoring touch, and with Seydou Doumbia, Alan Dzagoev and Vagner Love also in attacking department, the hosts should have no problems scoring at least one goal against Lille. However, their aging back line is likely to encounter big problems against exciting opposition strikers.
Keisuke Honda and Sekou Oliseh returned into action following the lengthy spell on the sidelines, while Georgi Schennikov was an unused substitute after recovering from a hamstring problem. Vagner Love returns from domestic ban, but Zoran Tosic, Mark Gonzalez, Tomas Necid and Igor Akinfeev remain long-term casualties.
Lady Luck not smiling on Lille
With just two points to their tally after four Champions League games, Lille face an uphill task as they try to clinch their place in the knockout stages. However, even if they have yet to win a Champions League game this season, les Dogues have a lot of reason for optimism considering that they were the better team in every one of their four group games. Rudi Garcia’s side dominated all four games in the group, but were unable to turn that dominance into goals, and that is the only reason why they currently sit at rock bottom of the standings. Despite being three points adrift of second-placed CSKA, the French side are not giving up on the fight for the second place in the group, and they can certainly be encouraged by the weekend performance against Toulouse. Lille looked very good throughout the game, but once again missed a penalty that would have brought them the victory. However, with Moussa Sow, Eden Hazard and Joe Cole up front, les Dogues should be able to score at least one goal in this match.
Benoit Pedretti, Marko Basa and Florent Balmont are all rated doubtful for the CSKA clash, but Mathieu Debuchy and Eden Hazard return after being rested at the weekend.
With both sides in desperate need of a win, we should see a very open game, with plenty of chances at either end. Both CSKA Moscow and Lille are extremely dangerous up front, but usually exhibit some weakness at the back, hence both teams to score looks like a good option here.
Our prediction: Both teams to score
Odds: 1.83 (5/6)