Last season's Champions League runner-ups are in action once more, with Juventus kicking off the group stage with a trip to England to face Manchester City. It's been five years since Juve played City in England, last facing off in a Europa League match that ended in a 1-1 draw. That was then, and this is now -- City have won two EPL titles since then, while Juventus have ripped off four straight Serie A championships. That was the Europa League, and this is the Champions League. What do these teams have in store for us this time?
It will be interesting to see how things unfold -- these two teams have almost opposite seasons from one another. Manchester City have won every Premier League match they've played this season, while Juventus have struggled to a winless start, earning just one point in three matches. City have yet to give up a goal, and Juventus have yet to keep one clean sheet. This is a competition where anything can happen, so City can't afford to rest on their laurels and assume things will carry on as they have been. All it takes is one moment for this match to open up for Juventus -- it's up to Manchester City to keep that moment from happening.
Key player:( )
This was supposed to be The Year Of Pogba, when he was the head of a newly rebuilt Juventus midfield with a new attitude. He was supposed to become a megastar, scoring goals and dishing out bone-crunching tackles with equal ease. That hasn't been the case, thanks to injuries taking out his intended midfield partners in Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira, forcing him to carry lesser midfielders and robbing him of the freedom he was meant to have.
Pogba's performances haven't quite been up to snuff as a result. He hasn't been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but so far, he hasn't quite been Paul Pogba yet. That needs to change Tuesday in order for Juventus to stand a chance in this match, because they need his quality to help break down Manchester City's so-far untouched defense.
Key factor: Focusing on the task at hand
The season has been two different stories for these two teams. Manchester City are undefeated, with a perfect five wins in five matches recorded in the Premier League. They haven't given up a single goal yet, a stunning defensive record that no one really expected to see.
For Juventus, the season's story has been about struggle. They lost their first two matches and drew their third to have their worst league start in a long, long time. The worst part is that, based on their play on the field, those results haven't been that big a surprise. You don't expect Juventus to have this record, but if you take away that name and just look at what they've done on the pitch, you'd think that one point in three matches looks about right.
The Italians still have the talent to give City a good match, especially with Manchester dealing with a bad rash of injuries. If Juventus can put their struggles behind them and focus on this match, they can easily get a draw or even a win. The bianconeri showed that they can hang with and beat the best last season when they reached the Champions League final, so City can't just look at Juve's record and say "hey, we got this." The Citizens need to be focused themselves, especially with their battered team -- if they look past this match, they won't get the result they want.
If Juventus can't get that needed focus -- and Manchester City do -- this match could get bad for them and weird for those watching as City lay a smackdown on them.
injuries and suspensions
Out: Sergio Aguero (knee), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Pablo Zabaleta (knee), Fernando (groin), Gael Clichy (ankle) In doubt: Fernandinho (knock), Samir Nasri (knock), Raheem Sterling (hamstring), David Silva (ankle)
Juventus injuries and suspensions
Out: Claudio Marchisio (thigh), Sami Khedira (hamstring) In doubt: Alvaro Morata (calf)
Juventus are missing two big pieces in Marchisio and Sami Khedira, who were supposed to partner with Pogba to create a fearsome midfield trio. But those absences pale in comparison to the wave of injuries that have beset City, headlined by the absence of elite striker Sergio Aguero. City have excellent depth, but they'll be fielding something that's far from their best possible squad in this match.
Match Date/Time: 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
TV: Fox Sports 2 (U.S. -- English), Fox Deportes (U.S. -- Spanish), TSN1, RDS (Canada), PremiumSport HD (Italy), BT Sport Europe, BT Sport Ultra HD (England)
Online: Fox Soccer 2 Go, Fox Sports Go (U.S.)