UEFA Champions League preview – Group H: Manchester United v Juventus Tips – October 23, 2018 – Old Trafford – 20:00 hrs BST
Manchester United v Juventus Tips:
Bookmaker odds correct as of 22/10/2018 and subject to change.
Manchester United get ready to host Italian giants Juventus in their UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group H outing at the Old Trafford on Tuesday. Cristiano Ronaldo will be back to the venue where he started more than a decade ago to face his old club.
The ex-Real Madrid goal machine missed both games in Juventus's European campaign this season following a one-match suspension for a red-card earned in the 29th minute of the club's UCL opener against Valencia.
But the Italian champions seem to be doing fine just without him, romping home with wins of 2-0 and 3-0 against Valencia and Young Boys.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri will maintain his customary 4-3-3 formation for Tuesday’s clash with Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Ronaldo heading the attack.
Dybala who played only for the last 20 minutes in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Genoa is expected to play the full 90 minutes at Old Trafford and will be a serious threat to the United goal.
The 24-year old Argentine striker already has a hat-trick from the Young Boys game. Ronaldo who got the 400th League goal of his illustrious career in Saturday's Serie A clash against Genoa is expected to start off on Tuesday and along with Mandzukic and Dybala comprise a formidable attacking trio.
The visitors will have a strong defensive line-up that could see the return of the Andrea Barzagli from a calf-injury along with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Sandro and Cavaco Cancelo. Old Trafford will miss the common sight of Juve goal-keeping legend Gigi Buffon, the 40-year old club veteran having moved to Paris St Germain after a 17-year stint with the Italian champions. Wojciech Szczesny, the #2 choice goalie after the Buffon is now the club's regular custodian.
Since the time Mourinho started giving more playing time to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba limping gradually back into his elements, Manchester United look a much better side than the one that started the 2018-19 season so disastrously.
The young Martial and Rashford have been potent along the flanks and with the oft-neglected Juan Mata in the middle, lent a new dimension to the Manchester United attack as was evinced in the 2-2 draw away at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and a stunning win over Newcastle before that.
The effects of an absent Alexis Sanchez and a Romelu Lukaku virtually ineffective upfront were hardly felt as Martial rammed in both of United's goals in the Chelsea outing.
The Red Devils will naturally look to attack on the counter using the flanks and unsettle the Juve defense with pace.
The back four of Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Lindelof and Luke Shaw still look vulnerable and are having to bank on the extraordinary skills of David de Gea between the posts to stave off goals.
Matic and Pogba seem to be improving as play-makers and will be expected to hold the forte in the middle.
As far as recent form goes, Juventus's winning streak of 8 Serie A games ended with a disappointing draw of 1-1 against Genoa at home on Saturday.
United, on the other hand, would like to put a terrible September behind them when they were held to 0-0 draw at Old Trafford by a beleaguered Valencia and bested 1-3 by Premier League minions West ham United.
Jose Mourinho's boys have been showing the kind of resilience and initiative missing from their earlier games. A fantastic comeback to win 2-3 against Newcastle after being a couple of goals down and clearly coming better off in Saturday's away draw against Chelsea points to a revival of sorts.
The odds are very much in favour of Juventus taking 3 points from Tuesday night's game, but the match could turn out to be a much closer affair than one may expect.