Champions League finalist Juventus begin their quest back to the top of Europe when they travel to England to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in a Group D match. The Serie A titans enter the match after unimpressive performances in league play, while City have dominated Premier League competition.
Massimiliano Allegri's squad are winless in three matches, falling to Udinese and Roma to start the season. On Saturday, the Old Lady managed just a draw at home against Chievo Verona, needing a late penalty by Argentine starlet Paulo Dybala to avoid further embarrassment.
Things may remain difficult for Juve in group play. Defensive midfielder Sami Khedira is still out with a hamstring injury and midfielder Claudio Marchisio will be sidelined for a month after suffering a thigh injury on Saturday. Meanwhile, new forward Mario Mandzukic has yet to score, and there is mounting pressure on young superstar Paul Pogba, who was rested in the first half against Chievo, to play a larger role in the club's success. City, meanwhile, are not underestimating the zebras despite the recent struggles.
"We play against a very strong squad. That is why they won the title four years in a row in Italy," manager Manuel Pellegrini said at Monday press conference. "That is not easy. They did not start the season very well in Italy but they continue having very good players."
Pellegrini will be missing a very good player of his own. Sergio Aguero, one of the most gifted goal scorers in the Premier League, will not feature after suffering a knee injury against Crystal Palace on Saturday. However, the attack will still have Raheem Sterling and David Silva, who are both available after sustaining injuries in recent days.
City have underachieved in Champions League over the years, but may be poised for a stronger run this season. In five Premier League matches, the Citizens have outscored their opponents, 11-0, for a perfect record. With the addition of Kevin De Bruyne, City have vastly improved their depth.
Prediction: Juventus are still one of the better defensive teams in Europe, especially with Gianluigi Buffon in goal, and should play hard for the entire 90 minutes. Expect City to apply more pressure with Silva and Wilfried Bony, and for Juventus to counter-attack in a tight match.
Predicted Score: Manchester City and Juventus draw, 0-0
Start Time: 2:45 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: Fox Sports 2
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go