Juventus v Manchester City
Champions League Game 5 – Wednesday, 25th November – 19:45 GMT – Juventus Stadium
Juventus are heading into their penultimate group stage game against Man City knowing that a result will guarantee them a place in the last-16 of the Champions League.
It’s been a truly un-Juve-like start to the 2015/16 campaign but the results are finally starting to come together. A dismal start to the campaign has made way for a solid run of form with just one defeat in the last 10 games, including 6 wins and 3 draws and 3 back-to-back wins in Serie A. Despite the latest batch of injuries, Juve have looked more determined in recent weeks, grinding out hard fought victories against Torino, Empoli and a solid enough display against Milan last weekend with Paulo Dybala making the difference. The young Argentine has been one of the highlights of an otherwise slow and sluggish season to date.
Analysing things from a rudimentary level, the formation issue still seems a point of contention – There’s natural width with the inclusion of Juan Cuadrado in the lineup but Alvaro Morata still looks out of place playing so far out on the left in our 4-3-3. Results with a 4-3-1-2 still seem limited given the dismal form of Hernanes and the lack of a natural alternative to play in that trequartista role. Which leads nicely to the tried and tested 3-5-2 which seems to be the order of the day against City. Gazzetta dello Sport and other Italian dailies have all suggested this is the way Juve will line-up but there may be some more pointers about tactics when Allegri gives his press conference later today (We’ll update the line-up accordingly).
Gigi Buffon is fit and ready to start in goal with the customary ‘BBC’ back line of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. On the flanks, Stephan Lichtsteiner is almost certain to start with Alex Sandro filling in on the left for the injured Patrice Evra. Sami Khedira is out yet again through injury, leaving Stefano Sturaro the likliest candidate to take his place with Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba alongside him. Up front, Paulo Dybala will be partnered by Alvaro Morata.
3-5-2: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner, Sturaro, Marchisio, Pogba, Sandro; Morata, Dybala.
Khedira (Thigh), Asamoah (Knee), Hernanes (Muscle), Caceres (Thigh), Evra (Ankle), Pereyra (Thigh)
City seem to have taken their foot off the gas in recent weeks and are coming into this game on the back of a 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool, and a poor 0-0 draw against Aston Villa the week before. Injuries haven’t helped their season but their squad boasts quality all over the pitch, especially in their midfield, who put 5 goals past Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, who are both sponsored by the Mansion Group who own casino.com.
Sergio Aguero discussed his hopes for the upcoming Champions League clash against Juve with Manchester Evening News following last weekends disappointing loss to Liverpool.
“You cannot truly measure the intensity with which you play,” said Aguero, now gearing up for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Juventus.
“And on top of that, I always try to kick into top gear. I can’t imagine playing in any other way.
“Sometimes these unfortunate things happen but the ultimate reward only comes if you give it your all.”
Blues manager Manuel Pellegrini also confirmed his intention to qualify first from the so-called ‘group of death.’
“It was very important to qualify for the next stage and to do it with two games to spare is a good achievement after we started with a home defeat,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean the job is done. We are trying to qualify in first position in the group which may give us help in the Round of 16.
“Maybe we deserve that help as in the last two seasons we have qualified and been beaten by Barcelona – they are not a small team!”
He added after the Liverpool game: “The important thing is to try to recover our performance, it’s important to try to win, we always try to win.
“If you can’t win then, of course, it’s always good to get a point, but we are not going to go to Juventus just to try to draw.”
Rob from Man City blog Typical City was kind enough to give us a quick run down on who he believes will start the game and how they’ve performed so far this season:
Hart – Superb all season. One mistake vs Norwich cancelled out by a fine save moments later. Performance against Gladbach was outstanding 8/10
Zabaleta – Given Sagna has played a lot and was involved in the game in paris vs Germany, perhaps Zabaleta will come back in for this one. Injuries have affected him badly this season, but this is a chance to get back into some form. 7.5/10
Otamendi – Was starting to form a very good partnership with Kompany but the Belgian is injured again and Otamendi was rested against Liverpool after travelling to south America in the international break. City will be glad to have him back. 7.5/10
Mangala – Needs to improve on Saturday’s performance. Has shown he is capable this season, but needs to find some consistency. 7/10
Kolarov – Better going forward than defending. Probably in need of a rest but Clichy is yet to play all season, although he is now back fit. 6.5/10
Fernando – Has had a much improved campaign. Was key to city’s win in Seville in the last game. Offers lots of protection to the back four and allows others to express themselves. 7/10
Fernandinho – City’s player of the season. Rested on Saturday and Pellegrini paid the price. Full of energy, passing quality and drive. 9/10
Toure – Calls for Delph to be included from the start are growing louder, but Toure is a big game player. Still possesses amazing quality, even at 32. 9/10
De Bruyne – Perhaps the only starter vs. Liverpool who escaped without criticism. He’s been quieter these past few weeks after a blistering start, but he’s still one of the Blues’ most creative. 8.5/10
Sterling – Blows hot and cold. Ineffective again on Sturday, but has had moments where he’s excelled. Brings pace and a willingness to run with the ball. 7.5/10
Aguero – Returned on Saturday after a seven-game absence and scored a belter. The best in the PL. 9.5/10
- UPDATE – Mangala, Zabaleta, Kompany and Silva do not make the trip to Turin
4-3-3: Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov ; Fernando, Fernandinho, Toure; De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero* (Updated)
Nasri, Silva, Kompany, Bony, Delph,
Infographics from www.sporticos.com