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Storm clouds over Moscow: Why CSKA has little hope of stunning Manchester City

Not so long ago everything seemed so perfect for CSKA Moscow.

The Army Men had embarked upon the 2013-14 campaign with an air of apparent invincibility, beginning the defense of their league and cup titles with a resounding 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Russian Super Cup, before adding to that success with six wins from their opening eight league games.

Leonid Slutsky’s men asserted themselves as the clear front runners in the Russian top flight and then turned their attention towards Europe. The Champions League awaited, a competition that remains an untamed frontier for the Koni to master, with Bayern Munich the first test in Group D’s opening round of fixtures.

Six games on from the clash with the Bavarians - a comfortable 3-0 win for the defending champion - the outlook could not be more different. CSKA has endured a catastrophic downward spiral since meeting Bayern, suffering four damaging Russian Premier League defeats, which leaves them languishing in sixth, 11 points behind league leader Zenit.

Indeed, Friday’s 2-0 loss to the St Petersburg outfit means CSKA has not scored a league goal since September 14, while the club has conceded nine in the same period. The team now looks utterly devoid of form and confidence, and its coach has a genuine crisis on his hands.

So, what has brought about such a dip in the Army Men’s fortunes?

“There is a complex mix of reasons,” Slutsky told journalists when asked that very question after the Zenit loss.

“It would take me a long time to go through them.”


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