Following the impressive start to the new Premier League campaign, Manchester City will be looking to prove their Champions League title ambitions by defeating last year’s finalists Juventus. The Bianconeri arrive at Etihad low on spirits having failed to win any of their three league fixtures, meaning they, too, will have plenty of motives to win the high-profile encounter.
Manchester City have had their share of problems in the past editions of Europe’s elite competition and they have once again been placed in arguably the toughest group. But, this is unlikely to be such a big issue if the Citizens continue playing the way they have been over the past few weeks. Buoyed by the arrival of Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph, Nico Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne, Manuel Pellegrini’s charges have been simply faultless in the opening exchanges, winning five straight Premier League fixtures without conceding a single goal in the process. It was unlikely hero Kelechi Iheanacho, who is not even registered for the Champions League, that secured a last-gasp win at Selhurst Park, making sure the Citizens go into the Juventus game in excellent spirits. A knee injury sustained by star striker Sergio Aguero did mar the victory, but the good news is that David Silva and Raheem Sterling have recovered from their ailments and they are expected to start on Tuesday evening. And with Manchester City playing their best football in months, out-of-sorts Juventus could find it extremely difficult to get anything from this match.
Nobody at Juventus was happy to see Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez leave the club, but the club officials made sure to recruit some very good replacements for both players, while also reinforcing some other weak spots. However, the star duo is proving extremely difficult to replace, with the Bianconeri still unable to hit the ground running. Juventus have now gone three games without a win, and they not only lost to Udinese and AS Roma, but narrowly escaped third successive defeat despite playing host to Chievo. The fact that coach Max Allegri continues to tinker with his formation is definitely not helping, with the midfield area currently creating plenty of problems. With experienced footballers Claudio Marchisio, Samo Khedira and Kwadwo Asamoah out injured, Juventus lack the balance in the centre of the park, and the boss may be forced to throw summer recruit Mario Lemina into the fire as he clearly lacks midfielders with defensive characteristics at the moment. The lack of confidence is also affecting the Bianconeri at the moment and everybody can see this is not the same team that reached the Champions League final last term, so no doubt the game against Manchester City comes at a bad time.
Manchester City have been on top of their game and with David Silva and Raheem Sterling passed fit, they look a good bet to make it six victories on the bounce. Meanwhile, Juventus find themselves in all sorts of problems it looks as they will have to wait some more before ending the barren run.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: William Hill