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Preview: Juventus vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League showdown between Juventus and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Juventus could secure top spot in Champions League Group H with a win over Manchester United at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Old Lady's 1-0 triumph in the return fixture at Old Trafford saw them maintain their 100% start to the group, and even a point in Turin would secure their place in the last 16.


Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Champions League group game between Manchester United and Juventus on October 23, 2018© Reuters

There was a time when a trip to Old Trafford was one of the toughest assignments in European football, but the comfortable nature of Juve's win last month spoke volumes for the state both clubs find themselves in.

United's post-Sir Alex Ferguson decline has been well documented, while Juventus are enjoying an unprecedented run of success in Italy, winning seven successive Scudettos and making it a double with Coppa Italia glory in each of the past four years.

The one thing preventing this Juventus side from perhaps going down as the greatest in the club's illustrious history is success on the European stage too, although they are among the favourites to lift the trophy this season.

Beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017, the Bianconeri have not been crowned champions of Europe since 1996 and seem more determined than ever to break that duck having brought in arguably the competition's greatest ever player in Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.

Ronaldo has been in typically devastating form domestically, but it is Paulo Dybala who has been the star of the show in Europe so far, scoring four goals including a hat-trick against Young Boys on matchday two and the winner against United last time out.

Credit must also go to the defence, with Juventus one of only two teams yet to concede a goal in the group stages this season, and there is every sign that Massimiliano Allegri may finally have a team balanced and dangerous enough to get their hands on the trophy this season.

There is still a long way to go, of course, but simply a draw on Wednesday would seal their place in the last 16 while victory would secure top spot in the group with two games to spare, having already built a five-point lead over United in second.

Anything other than victory would be a disappointment for a team that has won 13 of their 14 matches across all competitions this season - a formidable run of form which has seen them move six points clear at the top of Serie A in search of their eighth successive title - an astonishing achievement in one of Europe's top five leagues.

Juve's only dropped points this season did come at home, while the only two defeats that they have suffered in their last 50 games across all competitions were also in front of their own fans.

However, Allegri's side have only been beaten twice in their 34 European outings at the stadium and have not lost at home to an English club since United's last visit in 2003.

Recent Champions League form: WWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Man Utd

Jose Mourinho watches on during the Champions League group game between Manchester United and Juventus on October 23, 2018© Reuters

United have recorded some famous wins in Turin down the years, but rarely will they have travelled to the city regarded as such big underdogs.

Even manager Jose Mourinho was forced to admit that the Italian champions were a class apart at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, when Juve's 1-0 win flattered the helpless home side.

Paul Pogba did hit the post against his former club that night, but anything United got out of the game would have been a smash and grab and they may be forced to hope for a similar thing on Wednesday night.

Attacking threats were few and far between at Old Trafford as United drew a blank for the second European game in a row, and they have not gone three without scoring since 2005-06.

Matters have improved on the domestic front since that defeat, with back-to-back wins over Everton and Bournemouth - the latter of which came courtesy of a stoppage-time goal on Saturday - lifting United to within four points of the Champions League places.

It could be a humbling week for the three-time kings of Europe, though, with this difficult visit to Turin being followed by arguably an even tougher assignment - an away derby against a rampant Manchester City side on Sunday.

The double-header has the potential to hand United an embarrassingly stark reminder that they are no longer the team to beat either domestically or abroad, but equally a good result in either for United could prove to be the catalyst for some much-needed momentum.

It is a tough ask for any club, but United have only lost four of their last 23 European matches heading into Wednesday's game, while they have been beaten just once in their last 10 European outings on the road too.

Mourinho's side have conceded just four goals in those last 10 European away games, which is in stark contrast to their defensive record in the Premier League, where they have kept only one clean sheet so far this season.

Juve may have only managed one goal at Old Trafford last month, but United will know that any mistakes at the back - which have occurred worryingly regularly - will be ruthlessly exposed by a team containing the Champions League's all-time leading goalscorer.

Recent Champions League form: WDL
Recent form (all competitions): DWDLWW

Team News

Romelu Lukaku in action for Manchester United on October 28, 2018© Reuters

Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of the match due to injury and is now a doubt for this weekend's derby against City.

Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the winner at the Vitality Stadium, and he will hope to have earned a starting spot alongside fellow impact sub Ander Herrera.

In a remarkable twist of events since the start of the season, Anthony Martial is now arguably one of the first names on United's teamsheet, having scored five goals in his last four league games for the club.

Diogo Dalot remains sidelined for Mourinho, but Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini are back in the squad and could make their own returns from injury.

Juve, meanwhile, will be without Douglas Costa after he came off injured at the weekend with an adductor problem, but Blaise Matuidi has been included in the squad.

Mario Mandzukic has returned to training after the ankle injury he sustained prior to the reverse fixture between these two sides, but he may not be thrown straight back into the starting lineup.

Sami Khedira could feature for the first time since matchday one, while former Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado is the most likely choice to replace Costa in the front three alongside Ronaldo and Dybala.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Bentancur, Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Ronaldo

Man Utd possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Sanchez, Martial

Head To Head

Last month's result at Old Trafford ended United's three-match winning streak against Juventus, which began with their famous 3-2 comeback semi-final win in Turin en route to the treble in 1999.

Indeed, it was Juve's first triumph over United since December 1997 when Filippo Inzaghi scored the only goal of the game. Juve's last four wins against the Red Devils have all been by a 1-0 scoreline.

The most recent meeting in Turin saw United pull off a memorable 3-0 victory in February 2003, with Ryan Giggs scoring twice and Ruud van Nistelrooy adding a third for the Red Devils.

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We say: Juventus 3-0 Man Utd

Juventus were utterly dominant at Old Trafford and deserved more than a 1-0 win. Home advantage makes them more likely to get that this time around, and they have the players to cut open what continues to look like a shaky United defence.

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Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Juventus on October 20, 2018
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