Big Match Breakdown: Man United v Juventus
Odds and preview for Ronaldo’s return
Manchester United welcome Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford tonight, when the Portuguese ace returns with Juventus.
It’s Ronaldo’s first competitive game at his former ground since 2013, and he arrives with his new side top of Group H.
Max Allegri’s Juve lead United by two points, but Jose Mourinho’s men will be buoyed after a much-improved performance versus Chelsea on Saturday.
It should be a riveting contest between two European heavyweights, and we’ve got it all covered with the big match breakdown…
These two sides have played some epics over the years. They’ve each won five of their 12 meetings in the past, though this is the first clash between the teams since 2003.
Juve have only ever won once at Old Trafford, with their solitary win coming back in 1996.
The Old Lady are in better form, however. They started the season with 10 straight wins across Serie A and Champions League, before a draw with Genoa at the weekend. United go into this one with one win in six.
Alexis Sanchez is the only notable absentee for Mourinho, but the Chilean has been unable to oust Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford in support of Romelu Lukaku anyway.
Expect those three to again lead the line for the hosts tonight. But it seems unlikely that United will go 4-2-3-1 as they did at Stamford Bridge.
A more balanced 4-3-3 could be the way this evening, with Scott McTominay brought in alongside Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba (against his old club) in the middle.
There’s no Mario Mandzukic for the visitors, and the Old Lady have a couple of midfield concerns with Sami Khedira and Emre Can absent too. Paulo Dybala or Federico Bernardeschi will replace Mandzukic up front, with Ronaldo on the left side of a front three.
Ronaldo isn’t a man to show much mercy on the football pitch. So can United keep out their former hero tonight? That’ll be their main priority.
Paul Pogba will be up against Miralem Pjanic to win the midfield duel. Whoever comes out on top there will have a big say in how tonight is played out.
Matic and McTominay will be out to halt Blaise Matuidi and either Rodrigo Bentancur or Juan Cuadrado, while United’s in-form duo Martial and Rashford can have a big influence in the game if they can pin back the Juventus defence.
Such is their respective forms at present, Juve are the 7/5 favourites for victory tonight.
Ronaldo is favourite in the first goalscorer betting at 4/1. The Portuguese ace scored both home and away against United when at Real Madrid in 2013.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing