Can United tame Ronaldo tonight?



MANCHESTER United will attempt to snap a run of just one win in six matches in all competitions when they welcome Juventus to Old Trafford in Group H of the UEFA Champions League today.

The game marks a homecoming of sorts for Cristiano Ronaldo. He spent six seasons at United, helping the club win this tournament in 2008.

Ronaldo was suspended for Juve’s win over Young Boys last time out, but he is expected to start while he continues to face allegations of sexual assault brought by Kathryn Mayorga.

Juve are favourites with the oddsmakers after enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run in Serie A. By contrast, United have won just once since September 19.

Keeping Ronaldo quiet will be the main priority for United. It would not be easy since the 33-year-old is in a typically rich vein of form, having found the net five times already this season.

United manager Jose Mourinho may come up with a plan requiring tight man-marking on the forward he managed at Real Madrid. The problem is Ronaldo is far from Juve’s only threat, with Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala also capable of posing problems.

Dybala helped himself to a hat-trick against Young Boys and has responded well to Ronaldo’s arrival. He has also been dealing with a knee injury and was on the bench for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Genoa:

The Juve midfield may be weakened after the club confirmed former Liverpool man Emre Can needs tests to analyse a thyroid problem.

United have their own attacking mettle, particularly in the form of Anthony Martial, who scored twice in Saturday’s 2-2 draw away to Chelsea. The 22-year-old has not always featured under Mourinho, but he is rarely let the Reds down when picked: The France international also scored in the 3-2 win over Newcastle United, so he is in form Mourinho cannot ignore.

There will also be a reunion of sorts for Paul Pogba, who left Manchester for Turin in 2012 but returned to Old Trafford for a then-world record fee in 2016.

Things have not gone smoothly for the 25-year-old since he came back to England. He has looked a shell of the player who thrived for the Bianconeri, with his performance against Chelsea the latest to draw criticism.

Pogba needs a strong display in a big game to quiet his detractors. Dominating his former employers would go a long way to improving his standing at United.

The Red Devils have the quality in forward areas to cause an ageing Juventus back line problems. Yet, it is at the other end where Ronaldo and Co. will likely prove decisive to keep United’s miserable run going.

- Bleacher Report

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