Man United vs Juventus match build up. Defender Antonio Valencia could feature for the first time since 2 October after an operation on his mouth. Juventus are set to start with Cristiano Ronaldo, who spent six years at Old Trafford between 2003-2009.
Forward Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out of Manchester United’s Champions League encounter against Juventus. The 29-year-old Chilean appeared as a late substitute in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea but is “not fit”, according to boss Jose Mourinho.
It will be the 33-year-old’s first Champions League appearance since he was sent off against Valencia on 19 September. However, the champions of Italy will be without Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic, former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and midfielder Sami Khedira.
Speaking about Valencia’s recent absence, Mourinho said: “He had a problem – and had very complicated surgery on his mouth. “He needed time to recover. It is the reason he was 10 days without training.”
‘Juventus more than a contender’
Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus lead Group H by two points after winning both their opening game away to Valencia (2-0) and Young Boys (3-0). United, who face Juve in a competitive fixture for the first time since 2003, are two points behind.
“Juventus have a lot to offer and an extra year with the same coach and structure,” added Mourinho. “They have won seven titles on the trot and a really special player who makes a real difference. “They are more than a contender for the Champions League.” Juve arrives at Old Trafford unbeaten in 11 league and cup games this season although they were held 1-1 at home by Genoa on Saturday.
‘It won’t be a classic’
Guillem Balague, from BBC Radio 5 live’s Football Daily podcast: “We are talking about a Manchester United team under Jose Mourinho who at this stage, we should be looking at as favourites. Even against a Juventus team which has won everything.
“But we are not saying that we are saying quite the opposite. It is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, and what we are seeing is a Juventus side who are very solid in the way the defend – they hardly ever concede. They are like bulldozers, a machine who go at you and eventually bring you down.
“Manchester United do not have that resilience or the quality to beat teams at the top. We know Mourinho does not like many things to happen in a game, to make sure that if anything happens, it favours him. So it won’t be a classic, but it is one to watch.”
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote: “Manchester United’s goalless draw against Valencia three weeks ago has reduced the Red Devils’ chance of reaching the knockout phase to 75%, approximately the same as it was before the draw was made.
“United’s next two matches are against the second best team in Europe, Juventus, according to the Euro Club Index.
“It will be important for United to get something out of these two matches in order to keep their chance of qualifying high under a potential pressure of Valencia’s challenge for one of the two spots in the last 16.”
Will Pogba shine against his former club?
- Former Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has had a hand in all three of Manchester United’s Champions League goals this season (2 goals, 1 assist). This will be his first appearance against his former side.
- United have kept a clean sheet in both of their Champions League games this season. On the two previous occasions they’ve kept a clean sheet in each of their first three, they’ve ended up reaching the final (2008-09 and 2010-11).
- Juventus have lost just two of their last 23 Champions League group stage games (W14 D7), with both defeats coming against Spanish opposition.
- United have faced Juventus 12 times in total (W5 D2 L5), more than they’ve faced any other team in European competition.
- Only Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech (12) has had more shots without scoring in the Champions League this season than United striker Marcus Rashford (9).
- Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo has scored five goals and provided two assists in his six Champions League games against sides he has previously played for. This includes a goal in both of his appearances against Manchester United in the competition.
Source: BBC News