<![CDATA[Europe’s premier club competition returns this week and one of the pick of the opening round ties in the group stages takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday as Manchester City host Juventus.
RECORD BREAKING CITY LOOKING FOR GOOD START IN EUROPE
Maximum points out of their opening five domestic league fixtures has propelled Manchester City to the summit of the English Premier League. On all the best online betting sites they now sit as clear favourites to clinch the championship next May. The 2015-16 version have also broken a club record after another shut out at Selhurst Park on Saturday against Crystal Palace, meant the Citizens have not conceded a goal in their last six competitive games totalling 566 minutes (9.4 hours). It’s in the Champions League where they must improve on their recent form having been eliminated in the round of the last 16 in the last two consecutive campaigns by Barcelona. Having invested heavily once again during the summer transfer window, coach Manuel Pellegrini knows that the people bank rolling the club and the supporters demand a full-scale assault on European club football’s biggest prize.
CRISIS TALK IN TURIN
Last season’s beaten finalists Juventus have had an awful start to their domestic league campaign. Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Chievo was the first point picked up by the Old Lady this season out of their opening three matches. Coach Massimo Allegri has played down talk of a crisis inside the club but there will be a certain trepidation amongst his squad as they set off for Manchester on Monday. After Saturday’s less than convincing performance, the Italian media have been quick to criticise Allegri’s tactical formations and the indifferent form of his defenders, two of which are regular Italian internationals and seasoned campaigners. But you write off the Bianconeri at your peril and as most football betting predictions will forecast, an Italian team is never more dangerous than when it is under pressure.
Manchester City have concerns over Argentinian striker SergioAgüero after he was taken off after 25 minutes of Saturday’s match with a knee injury. The 27-year-old suffered knee ligament damage last December which kept him out for a month but he used his official twitter account to reassure fans he would be fit for Tuesday’s game but insiders at the Etihad Stadium fear he may not make it. England striker Raheem Sterling is also a doubt having missed the game against Crystal Palace with a slight hamstring injury. Club record signing Kevin De Bruyne who replaced Agüero at the weekend should make his home debut on Tuesday evening. Spanish play-maker David Silva, who was rested on Saturday, is set to return to the starting XI for the visit of the Italian champions.
Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is out of the trip to Manchester after picking up another muscle injury in his first match back on Saturday. German midfielder Sami Khedira is still returning to fitness after his injury lay-off in the summer. Allegri is expected to return to a back three for Tuesday night’s clash with Martin Cáceres being preferred to Andrea Barzagli at the heart of the defence. Swiss full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner should return to the side after being rested at the weekend and up front, the experience of Croatian international Mario Mandžukić will probably get the vote ahead of Paulo Dybala.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Manchester City (4-4-2) Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho; Nasri, Silva; De Bruyne, Bony.
Juventus (3-5-2) Buffon; Cáceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Sturaro, Hernanes, Pogba, Evra; Mandžukić Morata.
HEAD TO HEAD
Tuesday will be the fifth meeting between the two clubs in European competition. Both teams have one victory each however these came in a two legged UEFA Cup tie way back in 1976 which Juventus won 2-1 on aggregate. In the 2010/11 Europa League group stage both matches ended in a 1-1 draw. Manchester City has a less than impressive home record in the Champions League despite starting as clear favourites on Tuesday with the betting exchanges,
having only wonone of their four home fixtures last season. The Citizens last three home meetings with Italian opposition have all ended in 1-1 draws, their last win in Manchester coming against AC Milan in the UEFA Cup during the 1978-79 season.
Juventus are unbeaten in their last four Champions League away matches but the Bianconeri have not won in England since defeating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the 1996-97 group stages. The two coaches have met just once before in this competition, in the 2012-13 group stages when Pellegrini’s Malaga side beat Allegri’s Milan outfit 1-0 in Spain, before drawing 1-1 in the reverse fixture at the San Siro.
Manchester City 1.80 Draw 3.50 Juventus 5.50
*courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell