Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Prediction: Juventus vs Tottenham

Verdict: Juventus and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Cristiano Ronaldo will get another chance to score against his former club as Juventus and Manchester United face off in Turin on Wednesday night.

Juventus

Starting with the hosts, enjoying yet another very bright season both in Europe and in Serie A, many have Juventus tipped as one of the leading contenders in this year’s Champions League. Winning all three of their opening games in Europe, The Old Lady have already booked their spot in the knockout stage and Massimiliano Allegri’s side appear to be going from strength to strength. Picking up a 3-1 win over Cagliari in their last outing, Juve are unbeaten in their 14 matches across all competitions this season, winning 13 of those appearances. Scoring the winner in Juventus’ 1-0 win at Old Trafford last month, one man to watch for the hosts will be Argentinian international Paulo Dybala. Despite only registering one goal in Europe last season, the 24-year-old has been arguably The Old Lady’s talisman. With record summer arrival and former United man Cristiano Ronaldo failing to score in his last five Champions League game, Dybala has already recorded four goals in Europe and also found the net in his sides 3-1 win over Cagliari last weekend.

Team News

Forward Mario Mandzukic is fit again after an ankle problem ruled him out of the fixture against Cagliari at the weekend.

Midfielders Douglas Costa and Emre Can, winger Federico Bernardeschi and forward Moise Kean are not available.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri said he might select Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala and former United player Cristiano Ronaldo as a three-pronged attack.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, while Jose Mourinho’s side are coming off the back of a last-gasp winner against Bournemouth last Saturday, there are still plenty of question marks over Manchester United’s form. Picking up a pair of 2-1 wins over the Cherries and Everton since their defeat to Juventus, the Reds’ defence have been incredibly suspect and many will know they could have easily failed to pick up any points in those two victories. Now sat with just a two-point buffer over Valencia in the race to escape Group H, it will undoubtedly be United’s defensive issues giving Mourinho the biggest headache. The visitors have recorded just one clean sheet in their last nine matches across all competitions, a run stemming back to the middle of September. With the misfiring Belgian international Romelu Lukaku sit to miss Wednesday’s match, United will be looking for winger Anthony Martial to carry on his impressive run of form. The former Monaco man found the net on the South Coast over the weekend and also now has five in his last five.

Team News

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that striker Romelu Lukaku will not feature on Wednesday after picking up an unspecified injury. The Belgian international is also a doubt for the Manchester derby on Sunday.

Diogo Dalot is out and Marcos Rojo has reportedly not travelled, but Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia are back in contention having travelled to Turin.

Key Factors to Consider

  • United managed just six shots in their home Champions League match against Juventus in October – they last had fewer than that in a single Champions League match in October 2013 against Shakhtar Donetsk under David Moyes (four shots).
  • United boss Jose Mourinho last managed an away match at Juventus in December 2009, when he was Inter Milan manager – he lost 1-2 in a Serie A encounter.
  • Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has lost just one of his last 26 home Champions League matches as a manager (W16 D9), a 0-3 defeat in last season’s quarter-final against Real Madrid.
  • United have failed to score in their last two Champions League games – they have not failed to score in three consecutively since November 2005.
  • The Reds have now kept just one clean sheet in their last nine matches across all competitions.

Conclusion

On paper, the hosts should see this as a perfect opportunity to carry on their unbeaten record in this year’s tournament. With United famously struggling defensively this season, coupled with Dybala and co’s lethal form in the final third, we’re backing a commanding victory for Juventus on Wednesday night.

Verdict: Juventus and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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