Manchester City’s Champions League campaign gets off to a difficult start when they host last year’s beaten finalists Juventus on Tuesday (19:45 BST, live on BT Sport Europe).
City finished second in the Premier League last season and were eliminated by eventual champions Barcelona in the round of 16 of the Champions League. They have made a perfect start to the new season, recording five straight victories in league action.
Manuel Pellegrini’s (pictured) side continued their winning start to the campaign thanks to a late goal from youngster Kelechi Iheanacho away to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Their hosts started well, but Man City improved after the break and had already created the better chances of the second half before Iheanacho pounced on a rebound to fire home their 90th-minute winner.
Man City v Juventus Best Betting Odds
4/5 Man City (SkyBet, Betfred, Stan James, Paddy Power)
13/5 Draw (Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Unibet)
4/1 Juventus (Bet365, Coral, BetVictor, Betfred, Ladbrokes)
Man City spent big over the summer to improve their starting XI and early signs suggest that it will money well spent. The arrival of Raheem Sterling has added greater pace and fluidity to their attacking play, in turn creating more space for David Silva to work in, while defender Nicolas Otamendi and attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will add further quality once settled in.
While City will be keen to regain the league title they lost to Chelsea last season, progress in the Champions League will be just as eagerly desired. The club have failed to make it past the last 16 in each of the last four seasons and Pellegrini – who took Villarreal to the semi-finals in 2006 and Malaga to the quarters in 2013 – will hope to lead them further this time around.
Pellegrini will definitely be without the injured Fabian Delph (hamstring), Gael Clichy (ankle), Fernando (groin) and Pablo Zabaleta (knee) for Tuesday’s match. Sergio Aguero (knee) went off injured during the first half of the win over Palace and may struggle to take part. Silva (knee) and Sterling (knock) are expected to return after missing Saturday’s victory.
Juventus were beaten by Barcelona in last season’s Champions League final at the end of a campaign in which they won their fourth consecutive Italian league title as part of a domestic double. They have, however, struggled for form in the early weeks of the new season.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side extended their winless start to the Serie A season with a 1-1 draw at home to Chievo on Saturday. Their visitors took an early lead and were the more impressive of the two sides throughout the opening 45 minutes and into the second half. An 83rd-minute penalty from Paulo Dybala prevented Juve from suffering a third straight defeat.
The club’s uncertain start to the season is perhaps unsurprising given that three of last season’s key players departed the club over the summer. Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez all left for pastures new and it is likely to take the side a little time to adjust. Pirlo’s loss was particularly keenly felt during the league defeats to Udinese and Roma.
Yet there can be cause for optimism that results will improve once the club’s summer signings settle in. Deadline-day arrival Hernanes shares similar qualities to Pirlo, Dybala should be a good long-term replacement for Tevez, while Alex Sandro, Juan Cuadrado (on loan from Chelsea) and Mario Mandzukic are all capable of making strong contributions.
Allegri is likely to be without the injured Kwadwo Asamoah and Sami Khedira for the trip to Manchester. Claudio Marchisio was taken off at half-time on Saturday as a precaution after feeling his left thigh muscle tightening, and his participation on Tuesday could be in doubt.
Our Man City vs Juventus Preview’s Betting Tips
These two sides last met during the group stage of the Europa League in 2010, with both encounters ending in 1-1 draws. Their only prior meeting had come in 1976, when Juventus won 2-1 on aggregate (2-0 at home; 0-1 away) in the first round of the UEFA Cup. Man City are undefeated in five previous home matches against Italian sides in European competition.
City will be keen to get their Champions League campaign off to a strong start with a home victory on Tuesday. Early points could prove vital in a group that also features Europa League winners Sevilla and Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach, and given their impressive early-season form, Pellegrini’s side will be hopeful of taking all three on Tuesday.
Juventus have a strong, steady and experienced set of defenders and will be more than happy to sit back, soak up pressure and hit City on the break whenever opportunities arise. They conceded just three times in six away matches during their run to last season’s final and would likely view a point as good return from their trip to the Etihad.
Man City are in much better form at this early stage of the season but we believe that Juventus are capable of stifling Pellegrini’s side and coming away with a draw from the group opener. Here are our preview’s advised betting tips: