Juventus v United, Wednesday 7th November, 20:00
Juve’s ridiculous home record
Juve have only lost on home turf in Europe once in 29 outings since 2013/14, making the semi-finals of this competition in three of those five full seasons.
That defeat was inflicted by Real Madrid last term as Cristiano Ronaldo stunned his future employers, though Mourinho isn’t going to throw the kitchen sink at them in the same manner, especially with the hosts conceding more than once in just three of their last 20 such games, including 12 clean sheets.
Romelu Lukaku reportedly might return after being benched against Everton and sidelined with a slight injury concern for Bournemouth, though regardless of whether he does it shouldn’t be at the expense of Anthony Martial.
The French striker continues to deliver and it’s now five goals in as many games, and while the exception came in the reverse fixture, the two goals against Chelsea showcased his true quality.
However, given the lack of ambition we showed as an attacking unit against Juve at Old Trafford, coupled with the strength of their rearguard, at 5.00 to score anytime* he remains a touch too short.
Case for the defence
Only five teams have shipped more goals than us in the league, with all these teams in the current bottom six, but there’s reason to believe there will be no onslaught from Cristiano Ronaldo and company in Turin.
The Old Lady might be yet to concede in Europe this term and have dropped just two points across 14 unbeaten matches in all competitions to date, but after their weekend triumph over Cagliari, Massimiliano Allegri had some choice words of warning for his players”
“We have to defend better, we concede too many goals and risked letting in an equaliser in the 85th minute. We can’t always assume that we’ll score two or three goals”.
One can imagine the wry smile forming on Mourinho’s lips at hearing those words, especially after he lavished so much praise on centre-back duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leo Bonucci following the reverse fixture, claiming the pair could have taught defending at Harvard University.
In reality those two are far better than anything we can put out at the back, especially having formed their relationship over the best part of eight years at the heart of Juve’s defence.
However, Mourinho prides himself of pragmatism and a resolute performance beckons. Chris Smalling has been the most consistent selection, playing nine of 11 league matches and all three in Europe, while Victor Lindelof has been steadily improving and deserves his starting spot on recent showings.
Meanwhile, David De Gea is amongst the best in the business behind them. After their 1-0 win at Old Trafford where we displayed little ambition, does anyone expect anything other than a repeat?
*all odds are subject to change