UEFA Champions League: Manchester United vs Juventus preview


Manchester United face their toughest test yet in UEFA Champions League Group H as they host Serie A champions Juventus at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The two teams have not met since 2003, when they clashed in the second group stage of this competition. At that time Manchester United won 2-1 at home and 3-0 in Turin, and the likes of Ryan Giggs and Ruud Van Nistelrooy were on the score sheet. Overall there were 12 direct meetings between these two sides in European competitions and we have a perfect balance: five wins apiece and two draws. However, Juventus have won just one match at Old Trafford, and that happened in 1996.

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, but they have won just one of them. However, last weekend they came very close to grabbing all three points against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, they were leading 2-1 in stoppage time but a goal from Ross Barkley made it all square. Their Champions League campaign started with an easy 3-0 victory at Young Boys, but then Valencia held them to a goalless draw at Old Trafford and that leaves the Red Devils needing at least a draw against Juventus. Alexis Sanchez and Jese Lingard are injured for the home side, while Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay and Marouane Fellaini all skipped training on Monday and might be unavailable for Tuesday's match as well.

Juventus had a perfect season up to last weekend, they had won ten matches out of ten in all competitions and seemed impossible to beat. Last weekend they got held to a 1-1 draw at home by Genoa in Serie A, an unlikely result and probably a wake-up call for Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates. In the Champions League the Bianconeri defeated Valecia 2-0 in Spain and Young Boys 3-0 in Turin, another victory would almost guarantee their qualification to the knockout phase. Daniele Rugani, Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic are injured, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be in the starting eleven again after having served his suspension.

Probable line-ups:

Man United: De Gea - Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw - Matic, Pogba - Rashford, Mata, Martial - Lukaku

Juventus: Szczesny - Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro - Pjanic, Matuidi - Bernardeschi, Dybala, Costa - Ronaldo

My prediction: 1-1 draw, I think this will be a hard-fought match and Man United have what it takes to avoid defeat.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet 365:

Man United win - 3.30
Draw - 3.30
Juventus win - 2.40

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