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Ratings: David De Gea and Ander Herrera in the plaudits from victory over Juventus in Turin

Manchester United beat Juventus 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Wednesday evening. Cristiano Ronaldo, who else, opened the scoring in the game as Juventus took the lead in the 65th minute. It looked like another defeat was on the card by Juan Mata scored a fantastic free-kick in the 86th minute with Alex Sandro, a player linked to United in the summer, scoring a last-minute own goal, giving United all three points.

Jose Mourinho will be happy with his team following the victory over Juventus, which coupled with the victory over Bournemouth last weekend, sets United up, on confidence ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday, which will then lead into the final international break of 2018. Juan Mata’s free-kick gave a then-beaten United some hope minutes before Ashley Young’s cross into the box was seemingly turned into the net by Sandro, who was linked to United in the summer.

The victory puts United back to second in the group after Valencia beat Young Boys 3-1 earlier on Wednesday, meaning United will need to beat the Swiss team in around three weeks before travelling to Valencia for the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. Gaining three points in Turin sees United just two points behind Juventus, who have Valencia and Young Boys to play yet, with the top place in the group still up for grabs.

David De Gea and Ander Herrera were the two stand-out players from the match, in my opinion. De Gea was seemingly back to his best, forcing a fine save from Miralem Pjanic and Herrera was a nuisance in midfield and seldom lost possession. The result will no doubt drive United to cause problems for Manchester City on Sunday, a team who have now scored 12 goals in their last two matches in all competitions.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spaniard had little chance to deny Cristiano Ronaldo. Put in a fine save to deny Morale Panic, though.

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18 Ashley Young

The English defender did not start the match very well, allowing the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur to get behind him. Did not seem to be the best output from the wide areas. However, his cross in the last-minute turned into the winning goal after Alex Sandro put the ball into his own net.

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Chris Smalling

The United veteran seemed to get away with a challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half, which could have changed the game.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swede was great in the game at Old Trafford and defended well in Turin. However, he let Cristiano Ronaldo behind him for the opening goal of the game in the 65th minute.

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23 Luke Shaw

Juventus kept the England left-back busy on the left, which was the channel they threatened the most during the match. His eighth match in a row for United.

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21 Ander Herrera

The Spanish midfielder showed his class, seldom losing the ball and becoming a nuisance for his opposition. A good player for United to have, and keep for the foreseeable future.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian was the first player to be booked after his challenge on Paulo Dybala. After being booked, like he has done before, he was careful and helped United get stuck in.

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6 Paul Pogba

It was a big night for the Frenchman on his return to Turin. He lost the ball frequently and was too casual at times, which has been said often by many.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Rusty from his six-week absence, making his first start on Wednesday evening. Was replaced with twenty minutes left. Good to have him back as another attacking option.

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Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean started the match in fine fettle but faded as the game grew to a close. Nemanja Matic put a great over-the-top ball in for him but he could not get on the end of it.

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9 Anthony Martial

Five goals in the last five matches and the Frenchman would have been ready to go. Shot wide of the mark at the start of the second half. Might need to play a more central role, which could see his best form return with a bang.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Jesse Lingard 70'. Helped his team attack and tried to get stuck in himself, shooting wide of the target before United equalised.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Ander Herrera 79'. Helped drive United forward in the last ten minutes of the match. The substitutes helped to change the game.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Alexis Sanchez 79'. Got United level after a sublime free-kick four minutes from time. A great goal for the Spanish magician.

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Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 65′; Juan Mata 86′, Alex Sandro 89′

Assists: Leonardo Bonucci 65′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera (Fellaini 79′), Matic, Pogba; Lingard (Rashford 70′), Sanchez (Mata 79′), Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Darmian; Fred

Bookings: Alex Sandro 55′, Paulo Dybala 75′; Nemanja Matic 12′, Ander Herrera 75′, Anthony Martial 90+5′

Confirmed Starting XI: Alexis Sanchez leads the line against Juventus; Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera both return

Manchester United will be handed their biggest challenges this week, ahead of the final international break of 2018 with a visit to Turin in the UEFA Champions League where they will face Juventus, before travelling to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City on Sunday. Juventus won at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, despite only scoring one goal at the Theatre of Dreams. Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to Old Trafford again, for the second time, failing to get on the scoresheet.

This time, it will be the return to Paul Pogba to Turin, his former home. The Frenchman has suggested that Manchester United is his home but also stated that Turin was home too. Which one is home? You cannot have both. It has been a turbulent season for United, not just results wise. The defence does not seem to be able to keep a clean sheet this season, despite having the same players as last season, which led United to become the second-best defence in the Premier League.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw;

Herrera, Matic, Pogba;

Lingard, Sanchez, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Darmian; Mata, Fred, Fellaini; Rashford

Manchester United need a result against Juventus to have an easier run in their last two Champions League group matches. Currently, after three matches, United sit second in the group with four points. Juventus are top with nine points, Valencia third with two points and Young Boys at the bottom with one point. Valencia host Young Boys in the early match on Wednesday, meaning United will know what they need to do ahead of kick off.

Starting XI Prediction: Anthony Martial could be the key to beating Juventus in Turin on Wednesday…

Manchester United travel to Turin to face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening. After the defeat to the Italian side a fortnight ago, United will need to get a result in Turin to take the pressure off the remaining two matches in the Champions League, at home to Young Boys and away to Valencia. United sit in second in the group right now, two points clear of Valencia and three clear of Young Boys.

United need to be scoring more goals. Gone are the days when five goals could be scored in a single match. This season, United have managed three goals in a game twice, once with a clean sheet, once coming from 2-0 down. Jose Mourinho and his side need to be finding ways to bring back the attacking days of old and ensuring this United team attack, attack, attack. Here is the team that I feel should play against Juventus this week, fitness and injury concerns are taken into account.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Manchester United might be able to rest David De Gea from one of the final two group stage matches if they get a result in Turin. Playing the best goalkeeper at the club in this game is obviously what United need to be doing. Having him in the defence makes them better, despite the fact United’s defenders have become poor this season, after being the second-best defence in the Premier League last season. De Gea seems to be concentrated on helping his United side win games, which is great.

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Defenders: Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

This seems to be the best four-man defence the club can muster together at this moment in time. Luke Shaw has started to find his form, Ashley Young is playing some good football as a right-back and Victor Lindelof was a stand-out performer against Juventus a fortnight ago. Chris Smalling is the weak link in this defence but at times he can be the stronger player. However, reinforcement is needed if United want to achieve things. Goals win you games, defence wins you titles.

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Midfield: Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba

Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba could be the midfield partnership to bring out the best of this United side, who have more to lose than to win in Turin. Having Nemanja Matic in the team is great for the defensive aspects of the game but he is slow and with him against Juventus at Old Trafford, the midfield was sluggish and needed pace to overcome the problems they were facing. With Juan Mata, playing at number ten, he could drop back and help create from deeper roles, if needed.

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Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial

Marcus Rashford scored the winner against Bournemouth on Saturday, which means he should keep his place in the side to face Juventus. Anthony Martial scored too and with it being his fifth goal in five matches, keeping him in the side is obvious. Juan Mata has played some good football recently and should also remain in the side. He may not have the pace needed but the footballing mind to read matches is an attribute he is needed for.

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Striker: Alexis Sanchez

Romelu Lukaku was injured in training ahead of the Bournemouth game which led to Alexis Sanchez leading the line. This may have happened anyway with the fact that the Belgian had not scored for his club in their last nine matches. United need to find out how to score goals galore. Right now, playing the way they are, the best only comes to the surface when they are trailing in the match, which is going to add more problems than it solves.

Preview: Turin or bust for Manchester United? Jose Mourinho needs to find the winning formula…

Juventus -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Allianz Arena, Turin, Italy

Wednesday 7 November 2018; KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan

Manchester United will be handed their biggest challenges this week, ahead of the final international break of 2018 with a visit to Turin in the UEFA Champions League where they will face Juventus, before travelling to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City on Sunday. Juventus won at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, despite only scoring one goal at the Theatre of Dreams. Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to Old Trafford again, for the second time, failing to get on the scoresheet.

This time, it will be the return to Paul Pogba to Turin, his former home. The Frenchman has suggested that Manchester United is his home but also stated that Turin was home too. Which one is home? You cannot have both. It has been a turbulent season for United, not just results wise. The defence does not seem to be able to keep a clean sheet this season, despite having the same players as last season, which led United to become the second-best defence in the Premier League.

This season the defensive awareness has been abysmal. Jose Mourinho wanted to sign some better players in the summer, which was seemingly rejected by the board with Ed Woodward briefing the media with the suggestion that the players Mourinho wanted were no better than the players the club had currently. Looking at the players Mourinho wanted and comparing them to the players Mourinho has, shows that Woodward’s footballing knowledge is just as abysmal as the defence United has.

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Pre-Match Thoughts: The winning mentality could help United in Turin but the players need to work towards victory, not hope they will win…

After losing to Juventus at Old Trafford, this is a match United will need to get a result from. They currently stand second in the group after Young Boys and Valencia drew and with them playing in the earlier fixture, United will find out what they need to do in order to retain the second spot in the group, which is going to be nothing short of a victory in Turin. That though is going to be a challenge in itself as this United side has nothing the previous sides had.

Right now, the form of Anthony Martial is the main driving force in the team. Martial has scored five goals in his last five matches and seems to be arriving in some sort of form, which is only going to be good for United. However, there are other players in the team who need to start performing – Romelu Lukaku is one of them. He suffered an injury in training ahead of the Bournemouth match this weekend and did not travel. He has not scored for United in nine matches now.

Marcus Rashford needs a run in the team. He scored the winner against Bournemouth on Saturday, which will have added to his confidence ahead of a tricky trip to Italy this week, not to mention the Manchester derby on Sunday. Some suggest that the 20-year-old need a prolonged run in the team, as the striker, to bring out the best in him. However, other supporters have said Rashford does not score enough goals so needs to be dropped. Let’s bring in another striker who does not score for him then!?!?

Team News: Injuries coming to an end, more options in the team and a rejig in the squad in a bid to find more goals…

Jose Mourinho could have four players on the sidelines this week with Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, and Marouane Fellaini all absent from the Bournemouth match. Phil Jones was back on the bench, which could create more defensive options with Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly also absent but not injured. Alexis Sanchez made his return from an injury sustained during the last international break, leading the line for United against Bournemouth.

United defender Chris Smalling spoke after the late victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, suggesting that the club could take the winning spirit to Turn in the hope of coming back with three points, which will also create more belief in the run-up to the Manchester derby on Sunday. Smalling, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“Against Juventus we started a little in awe, we were off the pace and we weren’t really on the front foot. I think in the second half we showed that we could give them a game, that we could create chances. I think we can take that second-half performance to Turin, we’ll be more on the front foot and you’ll see a better performance than you did in the first half.”

Predicted Starting XI: Alexis Sanchez to lead the line in Turin? Anthony Martial to continue his goalscoring run?

Jose Mourinho really does need to find the best from his team, especially in a week where his side will face Juventus and Manchester City, both away from home. Romelu Lukaku scored plenty of goals last season, although his first touch and finishing were both poor at times, which could have been the main contributing factor for him not scoring more than he did. This season, his goalscoring has been poor as have been some of his individual performances.

Having Alexis Sanchez to lead the line will take pressure off Lukaku but also having Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who are both able to play in this role will add other options to this team. However, if one of these players leads the line, there will be a void where they normally play, which would only rotate the three players (Sanchez, Martial, and Rashford) with them playing in different roles.

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United are a team that have predominantly played attacking football but post-Sir Alex Ferguson, that attacking prowess has not really been prevalent. Manchester City scored six goals against Southampton on Sunday and United can only dream about the times they scored as many goals in a single match. In the league, the last time United scored five goals was in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game, a 5-5 draw away to West Bromwich Albion.

In David Moyes’ season, United beat Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 in the Champions League. Last season, United scored four goals a few times, this season, that seems like a dream. United have scored three goals once in the league, also once in the Champions League. However, in terms of clean sheets, United have kept two in the Champions League and one in the Premier League. In nearly six years, United seem to have gone from free-scoring to free-conceding, losing that attacking frame of mind, which needs to return.

Match Prediction: Manchester United to win in Turin? That is the dream but what is the reality?

Manchester United need a result against Juventus to have an easier run in their last two Champions League group matches. Currently, after three matches, United sit second in the group with four points. Juventus are top with nine points, Valencia third with two points and Young Boys at the bottom with one point. Valencia host Young Boys in the early match on Wednesday, meaning United will know what they need to do ahead of kick off.

A win against Juventus will add a cushion between United and the third-placed team, which is currently two points, which will see United as having an advantage ahead of the fifth match in the group on the 27 November 2018 when United host Young Boys, before ending in December in sunny Spain as Valencia host United. If United lose on Wednesday, they will need to wins to escape the group and avoid the UEFA Europa League, beating Juventus will curtail the pressure for now.

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Juventus 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW