After winning 7-0 over Metz before the international break, Monaco returned to lose 3-1 to Toulouse. Despite that, they're still level on points with PSG and four behind leaders Nice. They don't have a specific scoring threat, with Manchester United target Fabinho leading the team with four goals as a full-back. Yet, seven players have scored at least two league goals and they lead Ligue 1 with 23 goals scored. Opposite them, CSKA are also in the midst of a domestic title push, just one point behind Zenit and Spartak Moscow. Even so, goals have been desperately hard to come by, having scored only 11 in 10 domestic matches. Expect a Monaco victory, with eyes across Europe sizing up January moves for Fabinho.
Last season, CSKA brought the Russian Premier League back to Moscow, making it their third title in four years. They managed to do so on the back of only 51 goals, 11 of which came from their leading scorer, Ahmed Musa, who is now at Leicester City. In the Champions League, they finished bottom in a group that included Manchester United, Wolfsburg, and PSV Eindhoven, scoring five goals across six matches. While goals may be scarce, they’ll be solid defensively with Russia’s most-capped player Sergei Ignashevich, in central defense and Igor Akinfeev in goal.
Runners-up in the Champions League in 1994, the principality’s club spent last season in the Europa league while finishing third in Ligue 1. Monaco struggled to find a reliable threat up top last season with Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar joint top scorers in the league with five goals apiece. To that end, Falcao is back from his disappointing loans in the Premier League with hopes to revive his career. Otherwise, Les Rouges et Blancs will look to the Portuguese duo of João Moutinho and the aforementioned Silva to control matches and create chances. They’ll face a difficult, but not impossible group which will include a trip to Moscow and matchups against Spurs and Bayer Leverkusen.
The most-capped Russian player in history with 120+ appearances.
The former Dynamo Kyiv captain scored 3 goals in the first 5 Russian Premier League matches this season.
The versatile midfielder has made nearly 100 appearances for both the Portuguese national team and Monaco.
Scored 11 goals in 19 appearances in his last season at Monaco, before being injured in halfway through the season.