Champions League: Aguero absence a leveller for Juve at Man City
Juventus travel to Manchester City with their hosts missing star striker Sergio Aguero, after the lethal Argentina attacker limped out of the 1-0 win at Crystal Palace over the weekend.
Coral still make Manuel Pellegrini’s team strong odds-on 4/6 favourites for a home win, though, as City are yet to concede a goal this term, hold a 100 per cent Premier League record and have other key attackers fit again. Another victory to nil represents better value at 9/5.
The Old Lady, meanwhile, are winless in Serie A, so hold a 4/1 outside price to win at the Etihad. Former Man City favourite Carlos Tevez joined veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo in leaving Juve this summer so, despite substantial recruitment, last term’s Champions League runners-up are perceived to be weaker.
When City tackled the Turin titans in the Europa League group stage five years ago, both fixtures were drawn 1-1. A repeat result here is 5/2, with a 6/1 price for that precise scoreline to be how it ends yet again.
Pellegrini will be encouraged by David Silva and Raheem Sterling both proving their fitness ahead of this opening group game, and they hold respective anytime odds of 7/4 and 15/8. A full Man City debut for Kevin De Bruyne surely beckons in Aguero’s absence, and the Belgium international is a 6/1 shot to break the deadlock.
Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony is set to lead the Etihad attack, and needs to press his claims as more than just credible cover. A brace or better from him is 5/1.
Although Aguero is out, there should still be some Argentine influence on this encounter in attacking areas through visiting forward Paulo Dybala. He has three goals for Juventus in all competitions this term, so represents a real danger up top at 2/1 anytime.
Likely to operate off Croatia frontman Mario Mandzukic (the same price in that market), the Old Lady have toyed with two formations this term already. Juve coach Max Allegri could well revert to the 3-5-2 used so well by predecessor Antonio Conte, but may need to rejig things to relieve the ageing legs of 2006 World Cup winner Andrea Barzagli.
Whatever system they are using, Juventus must try to get the best out of former Manchester United youngster Paul Pogba in midfield. At 7/2 to net anytime, the France international is one of the major attractions to this contest.
Coral’s top tip: Another 1-1 draw appeals at that superb 6/1 price.