Manchester City and Juventus set for Etihad showdown

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The Champions League kicks off with some great contests, and the most exciting of the fixtures is Juventus' trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.

Juve's last UCL fixture was against Barcelona in the final of the competition. Their fairytale run in Europe ended abruptly when they faced the Catalans in Berlin, and this season expectations will be high yet again.

Unlike Juventus, Manchester City's last venture in the Champions League was a round of 16 date with Barcelona, which they lost over the two-legs. The Citizens will also be hoping to make a deep run in Europe this season, but they have not done so in recent years.


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It's a huge match for both teams because of the expectations on both of them, but the group of players each team will be fielding has significantly altered.

Juventus had some heroes in their side during that brilliant run in last year's Champions League. Three of the aforementioned stars have departed and have been replaced with a huge breadth of talent.

Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Simone Zaza will be hoping they can replicate Carlos Tevez's production in the goal department. Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado are expected to make huge impacts in Juve's new tactical setup, but the whole team has yet to gel together.

Sami Khedira is the other summer addition, but Bianconeri will likely be without the German midfielder due to a thigh injury.

Manchester City have added reinforcements in attack as well as a new central defender in Nicolas Otamendi. Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are attacking midfielders Juve will have to watch out for.  

City are missing star striker Sergio Aguero, and it remains to be seen which of their attacking talents will step up and fill their talisman's place.

Huge battle 

So, where on the pitch will this game be won and lost?

There are some key positional match-ups in this game, and they could decide the outcome of the game if one player loses the battle.

Claudio Marchisio is also out through injury for Juventus, which leaves Paul Pogba as the primary central-midfielder in this clash. He will be sparring with Yaya Toure, which is a huge matchup in the context of the game's action.

If Pogba gets the better of Yaya Toure in the aerial duels and he wins the majority of his tackles, he could swing the pendulum of the match in Juve's favor. That being said, they are both mercurial players who can change the game in a split second. Even if they are both quiet, they can easily pop up with a goal or an assist.

Juan Cuadrado's matchup with Aleksandar Kolarov will be another interesting one to watch if the Colombian gets to play in the Champions League fixture. Juve will want to avoid getting dominated on the flanks by City's breadth of wide players, and if Cuadrado can keep the Serbian occupied he could cause the City defence loads of problems. Whoever is playing on the left side of central defence must prepare for some one-on-one duels with Cuadrado, who loves to take players on.


Manchester City 2-1 Juventus

While the Juve defence is strong, they could struggle with the firepower of the Citizens' attack. The Italians have already conceded multiple times twice in three games, so players like David Silva could completely undo them if given the space.

Gianluigi Buffon could be crucial in the outcome of the match if he makes some world-class saves, as he usually does in big matches. If City can find a way through, they should be able to cope with the Juventus attack.

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UEFA Champions League
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