Every time an English club is forced to play on an artificial pitch in continental competition we get the usual bluster about how difficult such surfaces are to play on and what an advantage they are for the home side.
However, having looked at the results of Champions League games played at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium since its current plastic surface was laid in 2002, it would appear that there is no recognisable pattern of advantage for the team that is more acquainted with the “plastic purgatory” as one Sky commentator put it last night.
Of the 15 Champions League games played on the surface (the 2007/08 final saw the plastic replaced by grass as a one-off) by Spartak Moscow and CSKA since 2002, just 3 have been won by the home side with 5 drawn and 7 lost.
So, is playing on plastic really the major disadvantage to teams unaccustomed to artificial surfaces that some would have us believe?
Spartak Moscow 0-3 Valencia
Spartak Moscow 1-3 Liverpool
Spartak Moscow 0-2 Basel
Spartak Moscow 0-0 Sherriff
Spartak Moscow 2-1 Slovan Liberec
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Sporting
Spartak Moscow 0-1 Inter
Spartak Moscow 2-2 Bayern Munich
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Celtic
Spartak Moscow 1-4 Dynamo Kyiv
CSKA Moscow 2-1 Besiktas
CSKA Moscow 0-1 Manchester United
CSKA Moscow 2-1 Wolfsburg
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Sevilla
CSKA Moscow 0-1 Inter
15 played, 3 won (20%), 5 drawn (33%), 7 lost (47%)