Wednesday, September 18, 2019

United face an uphill battle at Juventus

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 6 Nov 2018

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When I was growing up it seemed that Manchester United were always contenders to win the big trophies. Even in Europe, they were always up there with the best in the European game, despite not winning that many European trophies.

However, the present day Red Devils team definitely do not stack up to those of Sir Alex Ferguson. The proof of that is the fact that United boss Jose Mourinho recently stated that Juventus had far greater quality in a recent clash between the two teams.

United lost the game 1-0 at Old Trafford, now on Wednesday night, they face the reverse fixture at the Allianz Stadium. It could be a difficult night for the men from Manchester.

A sign of the difference in quality between the teams is that not many of the United players would get into the Juventus starting line-up.

A shadow of former teams

In reality, Manchester United are not where they want to be as a team. The Red Devils brought in Jose Mourinho to bring back the glory days. However, when he came into the club he had to clean up the mess of a squad left behind from previous bosses.

The former Chelsea boss steadied the ship with two top-four finishes but has not really got near winning the Premier League title in the last few years, despite spending big on high-profile players. They may be able to get away with a lack of quality against some teams in the Premier League, but at the top-level poor quality is exposed.

Juventus are a top team, the sort of team that United wished they were. The Bianconeri have dominated Serie A for a good while, but they now look to have a squad capable of actually winning the Champions League.

Juventus in good form

Juventus have started the campaign in ominous form, winning 13 of their 14 games in all competitions this season. Already it looks like it is going to be another successful campaign for the Old Lady in Serie A.

However, it is success in the Champions League they crave. The summer signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid was to help the team from Turin challenge for the big trophy, or maybe just stop the Portuguese star scoring against them this season in the competition.

Juventus have made a good start to their campaign in Europe this season, winning all three games and not conceding a goal. Another win would see Juventus qualify for the knockout stages and win the group in the process.

Odds against United picking up a positive result

Juventus are the favourites to win Wednesday’s game at odds of 8/13. It seems that very few people fancy the Red Devils to come away from Turin with anything. United’s recent results have improved, but they are still producing unconvincing displays. On Saturday, the Red Devils were slightly fortunate to score a last-gasp winner at Bournemouth to record a 2-1 win.

Juventus are not Bournemouth. They are unlikely to allow United the space that the Cherries afford teams, especially on their own patch.

There are still a number of players in that United team who are either not good enough or simply underperforming at the top –level. United may need to rely on Jose Mourinho’s bus parking abilities to get something out of Wednesday night’s game, as on paper it seems like United’s trip to Italy may well prove a fruitless one.

Can Manchester United take anything from their trip to Turin?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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