Champions League Group D: Qualified Man City can enjoy Turin trip
Lee Gormley | November 24th, 2015
Juventus v Manchester City
- Champions League Group D
- Wednesday, November 25th
- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
- Juventus Stadium, Turin
- Live on BT Sport 2
Already qualified City can enjoy trip to Turin
Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City travel to Turin without any fear for their penultimate Champions League Group D encounter with last year’s finalists Juventus, having already secured their progression, but they will look to overcome the Old Lady for the first time ever on their travels to Italy.
The Sky Blues have not been able to topple the Turin titans in two previous clashes on Italian soil, with their most recent meeting ending in a 1-1 European draw five years ago, but fortunes have swiftly changed among both sides and City are 6/1 from Coral to triumph with both teams scoring (£20 max stake), after the hosts made a faltering start this term.
Last season, the Serie A giants romped to a comfortable title victory under Massimiliano Allegri, as well as reaching the final of Europe’s elite club competition, but they have endured a domestic decline this campaign, dropping to sixth position and nine points adrift of leaders Inter Milan.
Pellegrini targets top spot
He may have already overseen his side’s progression from the group stage, but City’s Chilean coach Pellegrini is keen to rally to a top spot finish in a bid to avoid a potentially dangerous opponent in the next round.
“It was very important to qualify for the next stage and to do it with two games to spare is a good achievement after we started with a home defeat,” stated the South American.
“But that doesn’t mean the job is done. We are trying to qualify in first position in the group which may give us help in the Round of 16.
“Maybe we deserve that help as in the last two seasons we have qualified and been beaten by Barcelona – they are not a small team!”
Despite City arriving as Group D leaders, they also come into this decisive Turin tussle on the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on home soil, and Juventus are 4/1 to capitalise by winning and both sides scoring, with a £20 max stake.
Aguero aims for ruthless return
City’s stalwart striker Sergio Aguero has endured a hapless run of injury set-backs in recent weeks, having missed his club’s last seven outings in all competitions, but the Argentine attacker has declared that he won’t be holding back if he features in Turin, where he is 5/1 to open proceedings.
“You cannot truly measure the intensity with which you play,” Aguero stated. “And on top of that, I always try to kick into top gear. I can’t imagine playing in any other way.
“Sometimes these unfortunate things happen but the ultimate reward only comes if you give it your all.”
At the other end, the Old Lady also possess plenty of firepower to cause City defensive problems, as Mario Mandzukic (5/1 to net last), Paulo Dybala (6/4 anytime) and Paul Pogba (10/3 anytime) prepare to scupper the visitor’s chances.
Injury concerns in both camps
German World Cup winning midfielder Sami Khedira will be absent for the hosts after sustaining a thigh injury, while Argentine Roberto Pereyra, Patrice Evra and Martin Caceres may join him on the sidelines.
Pellegrini has many selection headaches of his own, with Frenchman Samir Nasri out until February after undergoing surgery, while pivotal playmaker David Silva and reliant skipper Vincent Kompany are both also nursing knocks of their own. A hamstring problem to Wilfried Bony may see Aguero thrust into the starting line-up, despite only recovering from his own injury, with Eliaquim Mangala and Pablo Zabaleta set to miss out too.
The hosts are one of just five teams still unbeaten in the group phase of this year’s competition, in spite of their previous domestic flaws, and they will look to continue that run by thwarting the dangerous threat of a recently wounded Man City outfit.
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