Manchester City vs Juventus: Will this be City's year and can they cope with Sergio Aguero

ANALYSIS: A look ahead to the big talking points ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

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The Independent Online

Manchester City host Juventus in their opening Champions League Group D game on Tuesday.

Here, we take a look at five talking points ahead of the match.

1) ARE CITY FINALLY READY TO MAKE THEIR MARK IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE?

City's superb start to the season suggests they are a different proposition from past seasons. Their initial failures in Europe could be put down to inexperience but that can no longer be used an excuse. They need to show they have learned and raise their levels. Last season they were unlucky to come up against a formidable Barcelona in the last 16 but their play never suggested they were capable of truly challenging for the prize. This season they already look a much better unit.

2) WHEN WILL CITY FANS TRULY EMBRACE THE COMPETITION?

City fans were unfairly criticised last season as the club failed to sell out big European games. They are simply not a club with a great history in the competition, while cost, the inconvenience of midweek night games and television coverage were also factors. They also do not have hordes of foreign supporters to pick up any slack like some of their neighbours. In addition to this, City supporters were also disgruntled with UEFA after a game in Moscow was ordered to be played behind closed doors after some had made travel plans. To turn this around, City need more famous nights like last season's last-gasp turnaround against Bayern Munich.

 

3) HOW WILL CITY PLAY WITHOUT SERGIO AGUERO?

Aguero's injury robs City of a potent attacking force, one that can destroy defences when fully fit and firing. But while such a world-class player can make a big difference, City have produced some superb all-round performances this season and there has been no over-reliance on the Argentinian. Indeed, he has scored just one of the team's 11 Premier League goals. City could play with Wilfried Bony alone up front or use him in an attacking combination with any of Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, Samir Nasri or David Silva.

Sergio-Aguero.jpg
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero

 

4) WHAT LEVEL ARE JUVENTUS NOW AT?

Juve have won Serie A for the past four seasons and were the runners-up in the Champions League last term. They have a formidable reputation in European football but this season are yet to fire. They have not won any of their first three matches of the season and are a weaker team without the likes of Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.

5) IS PAUL POGBA IN THE SHOP WINDOW AND ARE CITY STILL LOOKING?

Speculation persists that midfielder Pogba will be the next high-profile departure from Juve. City were certainly interested during the summer but their enthusiasm cooled as it became apparent the asking price was approaching £70million. That is beyond even City at the moment. Latest reports suggest that Barcelona are his most likely suitors.

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