Manchester United head to Turin to tackle Serie A giants Juventus in a crunch Champions League clash on Wednesday evening. Mark O'Haire previews the showdown...
"Jose Mourinho’s visitors are conceding an average of 1.50 Expected Goals in their Premier League and Champions League matches and such generosity is likely to be punished on Wednesday night."
Juventus v Manchester United
Wednesday November 7, 20:00
Live on BT Sport
Allegri unhappy despite Juventus' strong start
Juventus have officially made their best-ever start to a Serie A season following Saturday evening's 3-1 home success over Cagliari. The Bianconeri have dropped just two domestic points across their opening 11 outings (W10-D1-L0), although head coach Max Allegri had few positive words to say about his side post-match.
Not for the first time, the boss of the Old Lady boss bemoaned his team's lackadaisical attitude in defence, and claimed he expects much better from his all-conquering outfit. Allegri even suggested his charges weren't working hard enough as they gave their Sicilian guests a few too many opportunities.
The Italians have also run into a few fitness concerns ahead of the Turin tussle. Douglas Costa is almost certainly out having been withdrawn at half-time on Saturday, while Miralem Pjanic, Giorgio Chiellini and Blaise Matuidi will need to be assessed. Elsewhere, Mario Mandzukic remains a major doubt.
Herrera makes positive impact for Manchester United
Manchester United recovered from a dreadful first-half on Saturday to seal a 2-1 triumph at Bournemouth. The Red Devils produced arguably their worst 45 minutes of the campaign before an excellent second-half revival, led by Ander Herrera's introduction, plus goals from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
Herrera added bite and panache to Jose Mourinho's midfield, allowing Paul Pogba to gain more influence from his preferred advanced role, with Nemanja Matic patrolling the space in front of United's worrisome backline. Mourinho accredited the victory to Herrera's influence and the Spaniard may now have earned a start on Wednesday night.
Romelu Lukaku remains a fitness doubt having missed the weekend action and Rashford's efforts off the bench may have earned the youngster a starting berth ahead of the returning Alexis Sanchez in Turin. Martial is almost guaranteed a start having scored five goals in his last five appearances.
Juventus were as long as [2.50] when travelling to Old Trafford a fortnight ago but the Italian champions dominated proceedings, easing to a 1-0 victory and limiting Manchester United to only three attempts from inside the penalty area. So it's no surprise to see the hosts chalked up as [1.65] shots here.
Since February 2003, the Bianconeri have been beaten just once in 35 home Champions League group games (W24-D10-L1). Indeed, Juve have lost just five times as hosts since April 2013 across all competitions, while only Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have departed their new Allianz Stadium with victory.
Man Utd [6.60] have yet to produce a noteworthy 90-minute performance in 2018/19 and it's difficult to see the Red Devils toppling the Turin giants. Jose Mourinho's men have won just twice away to Big Six clubs under his leadership, with Champions League triumphs coming at Benfica, CSKA and Young Boys.
Juventus are of course the most likely winners, although with the group leaders comfortably clear at the top of the pool with a 100% record, and a number of potential absentees this midweek, there's no desire to support the home side at their current quotes with better bets available elsewhere.
Juventus have allowed no more than 1.00 Expected Goal in each of their past six matches but that stat doesn't tell the whole story. Head coach Max Allegri has been frustrated by his team's lack of control or cohesion and the Old Lady have recorded only four Serie A shutouts in their opening 11 encounters.
Sure, in continental competition the Bianconeri boast an unblemished defensive return, but Manchester United should be encouraged by Juve's recent displays. However, the Red Devils are in the midst of their own backline woes and have only kept their sheets clean against Burnley on Premier League duty.
Jose Mourinho's visitors are conceding an average of 1.50 Expected Goals in their Premier League and Champions League matches and such generosity is likely to be punished on Wednesday night.
Nevertheless, United have only fired blanks on three occasions in all competitions, whilst nine of their 11 league games featured Over 2.5 Goals [2.06], which might be worth a poke at the odds-against prices on offer.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 63.00 pts
Returned: 78.64 pts
P/L: +15.64 pts