September 29, 2010 | In: Articles
UEL: Manchester City V Juventus
Group A Position: 1st
Group A Form: W (2-0 RB Salzburg – A)
Despite having little European pedigree, City will be involved in a titanic European encounter on Thursday aiming to bring a sleeping giant down to its knees in Italy’s Juventus. And there will be no shortage of confidence as Roberto Mancini’s lavished stars take to the field at the City of Manchester Stadium, where the Blues from Manchester are unbeaten in their last seven home European ties, after City’s tactical affair with Chelsea at the weekend saw them clinch their third win in a row over the reigning champions of England.
Man City are finally beginning to build up ahead of steam after opening up a three-match unbeaten run in the league, although defeat and exit from the Carling Cup (League Cup) has reduced Mancini’s chances of bringing home some silverware this season as the Italian tactician looks to repay the club’s wealthy owner for blessing his palms with gold in the summer.
Their League Cup demise may not be such a bad thing after all, with the club still as determined and convicted to land a trophy this season that they may well pinpoint this exact competition as to where their priorities lye now even though they sit prominently in the English Premier League table: 4th after grounding out a 1-0 victory at home to Chelsea at the weekend, with Mancini’s tactical nous really paying dividends as City didn’t just halt the Blues winning momentum but also tamed a side which had been scoring goals both for fun and at will in the early stages of the season.
After opening their Europa League account with a comfortable win in Austria against champions RB Salzburg, Manchester City will be eager to continue where they left off, and in the process further cement their claims for a berth into the knock-out stage of the tournament, as City won’t have to face Juventus, who are their closest rivals in the group, until the final day of fixtures. So, ideally, Roberto Mancini would like his team to register as many points as possible in order to avoid a final day showdown with Juventus in Turin which, judging by his strong team selection on Match Day 1, seems a realistic and achievable goal.
Group A Position: 3rd
Group A Form: D (3-3 Lech Poznan – H)
After an indifferent start back home in Serie A, as well as a couple barren campaigns without a trophy, Italian giants Juventus will earmark the UEFA Europa League as a competition they genuinely believe they can win if playing to the best of their ability throughout the tournament. And if coach Luigi Delneri wanted an early insight into how his charges will fare against the best this competition has to offer then he will get no bigger opponent nor test than that of mega-rich Manchester City.
You could argue that Juventus have already failed their test of European credentials by failing to beat Polish contingents Lech Poznan on Match Day 1. Despite being overwhelming favourites for that clash with an opponent deemed ‘inferior’ Juventus could only conjure a 3-3 draw and even needed to claw back a two goal deficit at one stage. However, shortly after they routed Udinese in the league before furthermore rubber stamping their inconsistency with another defeat next time out at home to Palermo. And that has been the biggest obstacle Delneri has had to face so far in his tenure with the ‘Old Lady’.
The former three-time winners of the UEFA Cup, the older format of this very competition, do at least arrive at Eastlands with a result worth shouting about, after they cantered to victory at the weekend at home to a then unbeaten Cagliari. However, even then Juventus still managed to turn a confident and impressive attacking display into one of debate, with their two goals conceding over the weekend the ninth goals they had conceded in Seria A this season, twelve if you include the three they shipped at home to Lech on Match Day 1. So it really is a case of how and which way you wish to look at this Juventus side, one which clearly has plenty of scoring prowess but at the same time lacks stability and consistency at the back.
While the omens may be positive for Juventus as they travel to Manchester to take on Man City for the second ever time in UEFA competition, with their last venture to clash with Man City resulting in defeat but later lifting the trophy regardless, their record in England is abysmal. A 1-0 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United back in 1996 remains their one and only win on English soil in nine visits. However, those looking for some positive inspiration needn’t look any further than summer signing Milos Krasic, whom scored a hat-trick at the weekend and has been the focal point for the majority of Juventus’ cutting edge forward plays.
Match Prediction: Manchester City to WIN – 1.80 totesport
There are so many factors as to why Man City appear the bet on paper, none more so than Juventus’ vulnerabilities at the back. If Roberto Mancini, who will know a fair bit about his opponents after his successful spell with Inter Milan, can outwit Chelsea’s Carlo Ancelotti then he should have no problem whatsoever plotting Juventus’ downfall at Eastlands, where City are unbeaten in eight European encounters.
Roberto Mancini has treated this competition with respect so far, fielding strong XI’s for their play-off with Timi Poli and their Group A opener in Austria against Salzburg, so we expect no let up on that front. However, City are facing problems at the back with injuries meaning Juventus could prosper with some sustained pressure, but we just don’t see Juventus’ defence holding out for long against the forward gusto of Carlos Tevez, Adam Johnson, David Silva and James Milner, and they are just a few of the names we could mention who just might start proceedings on Thursday. The fact of the matter is, City have too much class and fire-power within their ranks not be punishing a very inconsistent Juventus side, as Roberto Mancini and his City troops aim to grab Group A by the scruff of the neck.
Soccer-Betting Value Bet: Milos Krasic to Score Anytime – 6.00 SportingBet
Those desperate to oppose the hosts are perhaps best restraining themselves with certain markets, although there could be a side of value with Juventus’ newest icon; Milos Krasic. Fresh off the back of scoring a hat-trick at the weekend, Krasic is your typical attacking midfielder, always looking to make those darting runs in behind defenders looking for that long ball over the top or simply just sniffing out the scraps. The Russian schemer will certainly give you a run for your money.
Manchester City – 1.80 totesport
Draw – 3.80 VCBet
Juventus – 5.00 Bet365