MANCHESTER CITY v JUVENTUS
Champions League is the competition we love to hate at times. As domestic games take their toll in terms of performances, players getting injured, resting our top players, hey, we’ll take that because we want our best, fit XI versing/beating the best in Europe.
In this Champions League review is the game of the week, Manchester City v finalist of last year, Italian Champions, Juventus.
It was said that this group H, is the group of death, but in my opinion, this group is very well matched up. Manchester City are relishing at the fact that it is a home game because they need this win because they are showing no signs of slowing down domestically.
Manchester City have never looked better. 5 games, 15 points, 5 cleans sheets and an early strong 11pts lead on previous champions Chelsea. In saying that, the champions league jitters have always been present at the Etihad, but this new rejuvenated City want this game more than anyone else.
City have faced previous Italian opposition in the Champions League against Napoli and yes it did not go well, beating Roma last year away at the Stadio Olympico to get out of the group with Nasri’s beautiful goal….but thats years gone by and we have more experience and zest to put aside Big European sides ( Bayern, Roma……)
This is Manchester City’s game to win. They have everything going for them and then some.
From the back; Hart. He has not yet been asked to pick a ball out of his net this season! 5 games in that is.
Defence, Kompany is the Kompany of seasons past, Mangala is really coming of age and proving his valued price tag, Sagna and Kolarov working the flanks alongside Sterling and Navas, and when you have a substitute CB of Otamendi which looks like he may come in for the CL game, yeah, WOW!
The midfield, this is the best midfield in the premier league in my opinion. With the likes of Toure, Silva, Fernandinho who has been excellent plus Kevin De Bryune….Juventus are going to have some real trouble. Now, Aguero did come off injured 25′ in against Crystal Palace on the weekend but he assured us all via Twitter: “Thanks everyone for your concern. I got a hard hit and it prevented me from playing more. It doesn’t seem to be a serious injury though” But that tweet was followed recently with Aguero confirming that he will be missing this game. Time for Wilfred Bony!
Manchester City have wanted to stamp their foot deep into this competition for years but have always come off second best or eliminated. Yes, the draws have never fallen into our favour but we have played and won against the big boys. Now, coming up against the ‘finalists’ will he tough but Juventus right now are a very wounded team, coming into this game drawing some serious criticism from their own fans who whistled them during their 1-1 draw against Chievo. 3 games and 1 point. Huge task coming up against an unstoppable City.
On that note, Juventus last season reached higher than the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but losing 3-1 to Barcelona brought them down to earth. We still speak of the losses of Vidal, Pirlo and Tevez affecting their games, their mentality and yes it has. For the first time in their history they have lost their opening games and scraping a draw against Chievo looks really bad coming in to this Champions League fixture.
As i mentioned, Juventus are a wounded side. If Manchester City recorded their game against Chievo then, should it be a peice of cake? Not really. This stage has seen Juventus show up and eliminate the likes of Madrid at the Bernabeu so why can’t they upset Man City?
Their play has been really slow. No real connection into a team that was formed over the transfer window. A midfield with used to be subsitutes, new strikers i guess you can ask yourself now, do they have a chance and the answer is, this is football and its unpredictability is why this is the beautiful game. Juventus still have class on their field. Pogba for example. Dubbed the next Ballon D’or winner this or next season. This is the stage he will relish. He is a player that can change the game from one pass, dribbling past players, his shots. His quality is enough to do Manchester City real trouble. Buffon is always a tough man to slot the ball into his net. He is a living legend in this football world. Unluckily, the 3-4 men in front of him have not hit up the strides of last season, 3/4 of the best Italian defenders. Marchisio just came back from a knock he had that had ruled him out of the first 2 games of the season yet receiving another knock on his ankle but has also assured us that it is not serious. Players like Dybala, Lemina, Cuadrado, Manzdukic, Hernanes have all debutedHernanes yet set the world alight. Yes, brought into the squad in the span of 1-2 months but boys, even you all, needing to prove to the juventus fans that you can bring in the spark and change something and nothing….
Allegri and Pellegrini are very similar men. They are calm figures on the side line but when push comes to shove, they will show their frustration, passion for their team. Tactically this game may go down to that. Juventus may go with their classic 3-5-2 and City 4-2-3-1. City have some real pace going forward and Juventus’ defence are not the fastest but, organised and will tackle everything. Juventus have the aerial threat of both Manzdukic and Morata (+ his pace), Cuadrado and Dybala so Kompany and Mangala/Otamendi will also have a very busy night.
This game will be won or lost in the midfield. If these 2 were playing last season then Juventus would have won that battle. Vidal/Pirlo/Pogba…..now just Pogba/Marchisio(if fit)/Lemina/Hernanes(yet to fully come to the Juventus system). Manchester City have, Silva/Toure/Fernandinho/Kevn De Bryune. And on their wings Sterling and Navas. So yes again, City have too much going for them.
Silva is in the form of his career so is Toure and Fernandinho! The combinations they have will be to much to handle for Juventus. One touch passing, overlapping runs, corners, everything City are known to do well, is damaging.
KDB, played 75′ for City and weren’t we all impressed. Crazy fast footwork, passes are second to none and his movements are why he was named Bundesliga player of the season last year. And for City to have him as an ‘option’ is really scary. Navas and Sterling are going to be pivotal. Their pace, runs will be huge in terms of opening Juve’s defence who like to play with wing-backs and against the likes of Lichsteiner and Evra whose experience will aid him on Tuesday night will be a task to keep an eye out for.
Safe to say Manchester City are just too strong coming into this fixture. Their momentum is just too much, their players are fit and if they are not their depth will prove why they have the best squad in the league. The defence all the way up to the attack will be too much for a fragile Juventus to face after their 3 weeks into their domestic league. They are coming off some serious criticism and have had to go to the legnths of social media to calm the storm of their fans. Mentally it is a lot for them to take in at this stage and this game is out of their reach.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 Juventus 0