MANCHESTER CITY .
Juventus Stadium, Turin
Wednesday 25th Nov, 2015, 19:45 GMT
Juventus host Manchester City in the penultimate game of Group D knowing that a win will secure qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League. City on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from a crushing 4-1 defeat at home to Liverpool. A win over the Italian champions will not only ensure top spot in this tough group but it will also raise the spirits after an embarassing home display last Saturday. Juventus defeated Manchester City in the first game of the group stage campaign but City have recovered strongly after that to book their place in the knockout stages with three succesive wins.
Team news and tactical brief
Manchester City travel to the Juventus stadium with the Italian side facing some sort of an injury crisis. Patrice Evra who came off in the first half against AC Milan on Saturday evening wont play while Sami Khedira, Martin Caceres and Hernanes are not even included in the squad. Hernanes, who is suspended for the next two Champions League games anyway due to his sending off in Germany, is struggling with an adductor muscle problem and is out for the next three weeks, while Martin Caceres is carrying a thigh strain.With Claudio Marchisio spending a long period on the sidelines earlier this season, blame has been directed at Allegri for overworking his players in training.
Max Allegri knows a win for them will see Juventus join City in qualifying for the last 16 and put them in pole position to finish as Group D winners. Allegri will be encouraged by the performance of Alex Sandro in Saturday’s win, with the left-back putting in arguably his best display since his a 26 million summer arrival from Porto, providing the assist for Paulo Dybala’s decisive goal. He is likely to start on Wednesday with Evra being injured, when Juve need a win to be sure of their passage to the last 16 of the Champions League, although a draw or even a defeat would still be enough if Sevilla fail to defeat Borussia Monchengladbach.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3):Buffon(Gk); Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Marchisio, Pogba, Sturaro; Cuadrado, Dybala, Morata
Manchester City have rarely had their strongest team out this season with niggling injuries keeping out key players like David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany. Despite Saturday’s 4-1 humbling at home to Liverpool, Manuel Pellegrini will have something to be happy about as his side approaches the busy period of December. Manchester City must show character if they are to bounce back immediately and Pellegrini will be hoping for a win at Turin to ensure top spot in their Champions League group. City are the only English team so far to have qualified for the knockout stages this year and they will be happy to welcome back their talisman Sergio Aguero for this game. City can make life slightly easier for them with a win tomorrow as that will take them to an uncatchable 12 points with the final game against Borussia M nchengladbach rendered meaningless.
Pellegrini was defiant after Saturday’s defeat claiming that he would pick the same starting XI if he had the chance again. He will be doing just that as stalwarts David Silva and Vincent Kompany are absent due to injuries along with Wilfred Bony. The loss of Kompany was felt on Saturday as the defence lacked leadership and cohesion. Sergio Aguero looked fully up to speed after his return from injury against Liverpool and he will be the man leading the line against Juventus. With Silva, Nasri and Bony all sidelined and Kelechi Iheanacho ineligible for Champions League games, Aguero will be crucial for City.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart(Gk); Sagna, Demichelis, Otamendi, Kolarov; Delph, Toure; Sterling, De Bruyne, Navas; Aguero
- Of the five previous encounters, City have beaten Juve only once, with Brian Kidd scoring the only goal during the first-leg of their UEFA Cup First Round tie at Maine Road in 1976.
- Juventus are undefeated in 13 of their last 14 matches in the Champions League.
- Juventus are unbeaten in 15 home matches in the Champions League.
Players to Watch Out For
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Fresh from helping Juventus earn a piece of history against AC Milan, Paulo Dybala will be looking to score his first goal in the Champions league. The ex-Palermo star certainly has the quality to become a consistent protagonist for Juventus. Adding more goals in big games like the one on Saturday is the next step for the 22-year-old.
Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Joe Hart won his 50th cap for England in Turin earlier this year and he was the captain in last week’s 2-0 defeat against Spain. Comparisons with Gianluigi Buffon might be premature at this stage but there is little doubt that the Englishman can become a dominant figure for both his club and country. He is arguably the best goalkeeper in England at this moment and made some stunning saves to deny further embarassment for City against Liverpool on Saturday.
Juventus 1a 1 Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini will be looking for a response from his side after the thrashing at the weekend. Juventus are still looking to get a momentum after an indifferent start to their season but are unbeaten in Europe so far. A draw would not hurt City, who have already qualified and with Juventus only needing a point , it would not be a surprise if the game finishes level.
Blast From the Past
A second-half equaliser from JA? cancelled out NiccolA? Giannetti’s effort on his first start for Juventus as Manchester City FC finished top of Group A in the 2011 Europa League.