Smalling kept his place in the centre of Man United’s back four and was once again at the top of his game to keep the side’s fourth clean sheet in a row.
Wayne Rooney managed to get on the scoresheet to give United a crucial three points and finally break their recent scoring drought.
CSKA fashioned themselves a huge chance when Seydou Doumbia broke through one-on-one with David De Gea and the Spaniard’s half stop meant United were still in trouble. Doumbia got to the ball first but Smalling recovered to make a game saving sliding block and keep the two sides on level terms. United fans were delighted with the 25-year-old’s display as he continues to prove his worth at centre-back:
— Alan Flatley (@alflats11) November 3, 2015
Already give ballon d'or to Smalling. No need for voting, will win by landslide majority anyways.
— Saurabh (@SaurabhRmufc) November 3, 2015
The Englishman has been one of United’s most consistent and impressive performers in the last year and he continued his great run of form in Europe. It was crucial the Reds got a win against the Russian champions and, given their recent struggles in front of goal, the defence was always going to be important to their chances. Smalling ensured that his side didn’t concede and Rooney’s solitary goal was enough for all three points.
The former Fulham man will now turn his focus back to the Premier League and the visit of West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford. United need to get their league campaign back on track and a win against the Baggies will hopefully help them keep tabs on the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.