Juventus v Man City: Preview

Manchester City travel to Juventus today safe in the knowledge that qualification to the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds is already wrapped up. Juventus v Man City

Roberto Mancini’s side advanced to the final 32 with victory over Red Bull Salzburg last time out, while Italian giants Juve cannot progress having been eliminated from Group A earlier this month.

City are, however, playing to win the group, and could do so with just a draw, unless second-placed Lech Poznan, two points behind, secure a win by a significant margin at rock-bottom Salzburg.

The Blues’ last meeting with their Serie A opponents at Eastlands in September ended in a 1-1 draw, with Adam Johnson cancelling out Vincenzo Iaquinta’s early goal.

Juventus are no strangers to stalemates this campaign, having drawn all five of their group encounters, and will be looking to avoid a sixth in Turin.

Both sides enter the clash on the back of encouraging domestic results, with Juve having beaten fellow title contenders Lazio on Sunday, while City emerged 3-1 victors from their trip to West Ham the day before.

City will be without star striker Carlos Tevez for the clash, with Mancini opting to leave the Argentine out of his line-up since his side are already through to the knockout stage.

Speculation surrounding Tevez’s future has overshadowed City’s preparations for the Turin clash after the forward’s transfer request was rejected at the weekend.

The Blues will also be without young forward Mario Balotelli, who Mancini has chosen to rest for the clash after the Italian suffered racial abuse by Juve fans while playing for Inter Milan last season.

Brazilian Jo is expected to be handed a chance up front in the duo’s absence, with Emmanuel Adebayor still injured and Roque Santa Cruz ineligible to play.

Mancini is likely to give several of his fringe players a run out during the encounter, with their passage to the next round already secure.

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio is unlikely to feature for Juve after picking up a calf injury in Sunday’s game against Lazio.

Veteran Italy goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon is still injured having not played a game for the Serie A side all season, while right-back Zdenek Grygera could return after five weeks out.

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