Manchester United travel to Turin on Wednesday as they seek a win that would put them in a commanding position to qualify to the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, the challenge of Juventus, twice finalists in recent years and with the summer addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, will be as tough as any.
Clash of Giants?
Both European heavyweights have had vastly differing seasons. So much, that it feels disingenuous to label this a clash of giants. Juventus lead Serie A by six points after just ten games and sit comfortably atop Group H at the halfway stage. United, on the other hand, have had a tumultuous season so far. Their 17 points has them languishing nine points behind leaders Manchester City and below clubs such as Bournemouth and Watford. The Champions League has been kinder to them. Whilst still underperforming, the lack of quality in the Valencia and Young Boys sides has ensured that they remain in a qualification spot.
Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score on his return to Old Trafford, but the Portuguese forward will be eager to snatch a goal or two at the Allianz Stadium to make amends.
Going into the game, the Champions League odds winner is quite clearly Juventus. The aforementioned strong start to the season and having one of the best players to ever grace the game makes them much favoured over a stuttering Red Devils side. For all the genius lurking in Jose Mourinho’s side, it has become just as common to see them play devoid of inspiration or ideas.
Upset on the cards?
An upset could certainly happen, but it’s hard to back this United side against anyone, let alone such a consistent team as the one Massimiliano Allegri has built. Although the reverse fixture only ended 1-0, Juventus were emphatic and totally dominant. David de Gea, once again, was responsible for keeping the margin so slim.
If United are to shock viewers, the Spanish goalkeeper cannot be the only player to show up. Mourinho will need his stars and those he has shown faith in to step up to the level of their experienced opponents.
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