Manchester United Travel to Juventus Looking For Revenge
Despite a recent uptick in form for the Red Devils in the Premier League (winning both games since the Juve defeat), their Champions League campaign is still stuttering with just one win so far in this season’s competition. A win in Turin – improbable but not impossible – would go a long way to securing their place in the next stage, but with just one clean sheet in their last nine matches, it looks like an uphill task for Jose Mourinho’s men.
The enigmatic Portuguese manager will be without Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia again, with centre-forward Romelu Lukaku questionable at best after missing Saturday’s win at Bournemouth through injury. Antony Martial has been the form man of the recent purple patch, scoring five in his last four Premier League matches, and the Frenchman will be hoping to continue in that vein against The Old Lady’s miserly defence.
Contrastingly to United, Juventus have been their stunningly-consistent self, winning every game except one in all competitions this season. They’ve also kept a clean sheet in half of those 14 matches, and a win tomorrow will confirm progression to the knockout stages for the fifth time in a row. At their current stadium, they’ve lost just two of 34 European matches played there.
Even more worryingly for United, Cristiano Ronaldo has not let any off-the-field questions affect his performances, scoring four in his last five. Argentine wing-wizard Paola Dybala has also been in impressive form, notching the winner at Old Trafford in October as well as at the weekend against Cagliari inside the first minute.
That early goal has become the norm for Juventus, with six of their last 12 goals coming within the first half an hour of games, meaning United can ill-afford a slow start at the re-named Allianz Stadium.
Ex-Liverpool man Emre Can will definitely not play, while World Cup winners Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi are also doubts through injury. Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa is also in the same category.
Mourinho’s men have made a habit of comebacks in recent weeks, winning from behind against both Newcastle and Bournemouth and demonstrating the character many questioned they owned. Martial and Marcus Rashford appear to have found their confidence again after slow starts to the season, while Paul Pogba is beginning to affect games in a positive way on a more regular basis.
Winning in Italy is never easy, but Mourinho has made a career out of winning against the odds and would it really surprise anybody if his side arrived back in England with three points?