Juventus vs Manchester United Preview
|Image from Tribun Pontianak|
After another comeback from Manchester United against Bournemouth, the Red Devils must now travel to Turin to face the Italian giants Juventus for the away fixture in the Champions League. United looked boring in the home game as Juventus narrowly won through an early Paulo Dybala strike. This game has to reward United with at least a point as Valencia are likely to win at home to Young Boys, which will send the Spanish side ahead of United if Jose Mourinho’s side suffers a defeat in Turin. This could be a very open game and United will aim to score early and keep a first half clean sheet, something they have struggled to do all season.
As for the team news; there is no certainty as to whether Valencia and Fellaini are fit to play, but they have returned to train with Manchester United ahead of the match in Turin. Romelu Lukaku was absent from today’s training as question marks over his fitness and form continue. It looks almost certain that United will keep the same front three that faced Bournemouth with Mata and Martial flanking Alexis Sanchez up front. While this might be harsh on Marcus Rashford, Sanchez was vital in the first goal and Mata can always play a pass to unlock defences. One question for the midfield is whether Ander Herrera will play over Fred or Matic. When Herrera came on, he changed the game with his energy in the heart of the midfield, allowing Pogba to surge forwards while he held the fort with Matic. He offers both incisive passing from a deeper position but can also man-mark Pjanic in midfield and aim to win the ball higher up the pitch. Fred is most likely to be sacrificed as the physicality of the Juventus midfield might be too much for the Brazilian currently and Matic, although being in mediocre form, has the physical presence in the midfield.
|Image from Extra.ie|
Juventus on the other hand, seem to have both Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic back for the game as they trained with the squad on Monday. Bernadeschi and Matuidi are being evaluated before the game. Moise Kean might also be unfit for the game after sustaining an injury to the thigh flexor and missing training today, as did Douglas Costa after undergoing muscle treatment to his thigh. Joao Cancelo is also a doubt after undertaking a slightly differentiated training session to work on a slight muscular injury and may not be fit for the Wednesday match.
This is going to be a very tough game for Manchester United, especially away from home. I think Mourinho will adopt a deep back line with a high press and counter with Martial, Pogba, Sanchez and Mata. Whether they can withstand Juve’s attacking three is another question. A draw would be creditable, a win a surprise and a defeat puts United in a dangerous position. I think the Red Devils can fight back for a draw and perhaps even nick a win.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Martial, Sanchez
PREDICTED SCORE: 2-2