Before kick-off, most would’ve expected a closely fought fixture between Manchester United and Juventus, even considering the away side’s superior league form and Jose Mourinho’s well-documented problems.
After all, these are two European giants, teams with an established pedigree who understand what it means to win the Champions League trophy.
Yet what followed was a whitewash that even the most die-hard Juve supporters did not expect, the Old Lady keeping an astonishing 72% of the possession in the first half. They would go on to register a truly one-sided 1-0 victory, a night that the Old Trafford faithful will be keen to forget.
The beauty of the group stage means that the Reds can travel to Turin for Wednesday’s match with a completely clean slate, but can their followers expect a different outcome this time?
Much of that depends on how Mourinho approaches this second encounter, and Juve will be tough to beat having already notched up three wins without conceding a single goal in their opening three UCL matches.
If United are to stand any chance of a result in Turin, a look the league form of Max Allegri’s men highlights some minor weaknesses that are there to be exploited.
Results from their last three league games versus Genoa, Empoli and Cagliari would show a draw and two wins, but a deeper analysis of performances tells a different story.
All of those opponents are sides expected to be utterly dominated by the team who won the last seven consecutive league titles, but Juve stuttered in each match.
Juventus were cruising at 1-0 up versus Genoa at the Allianz Stadium, only to be pegged back to 1-1 in the second half.
A week later, minnows Empoli took the lead at the Stadio Carlo Castellani and were much the better side for long periods of the match, only for a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and superb solo effort to rescue the win.
A determined Cagliari were the visitors on Saturday, the Sardinians finding an equaliser after Juve took the lead, only for a freak own goal immediately afterwards to kill any hope of a point.
It is worth noting that the Bianconeri put out weakened sides – due to a mixture of injuries and squad rotation – versus all of these opponents, but it does prove that Juventus are not an infallible adversary.
— Adam Digby (@Adz77) November 3, 2018
Allegri is likely to line up in his usual 4-3-3 formation, and this time Mourinho must ensure that this time the midfield duo in his 4-2-3-1 doesn’t get overrun in the centre of the park.
As seen in the first leg, the tactical acumen of the boss and the depth in his squad will allow him to make changes to his system during the match, something that his United counterpart simply must work to counteract this time.
Juventus will of course name their strongest XI, former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny protected by a backline of Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro.
In midfield, Miralem Pjanic will play the holding role with Blaise Matuidi and either Rodrigo Bentancur or Sami Khedira flanking him.
Up front, Ronaldo will certainly play, likely alongside Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi, with Douglas Costa a deadly option that can be deployed from the bench.
With such a talented squad at Allegri’s disposal, there’s no denying it’ll be tough for Manchester United in Turin, but Jose Mourinho simply must seek to exploit even the tiniest chinks in the Old Lady’s armour to stand any chance of a result.
*all odds are subject to change