Manchester United make the daunting trip to the Juventus stadium, to face the Serie A champions in a UEFA Champions League group tie, on Wednesday 7th November.
Whilst eyes will be fixed on midfielder Paul Pogba’s return to his old hunting ground, from where he made a record-breaking leap to the 20-time champions of England, another debate seems to be brewing in the shadows.
Having amassed one of the most expensive squads in the land, the Red Devils’ attack seem to be huffing and puffing. They have been unable to scare smaller teams away, let alone creating avenues to hurt them. One of their historically greatest assets seems to be doing little for them this term – the wings.
Anthony Martial reinstated to his preferred position on the left has undergone a rejuvenation - but only recently. He heads into the game as United's most attacking prospect. Things for the rest of Jose Mourinho's wingers are far less rosy.
Alexis Sanchez has been criminally under-performing and has just one goal all season. Marcus Rashford has yet to find the panache that made him a lethal starter on the left or up-top in seasons gone by. The last remaining option on the right, Juan Mata, neither has the pace nor the guile to start in that position, contributing just a solitary goal and assist in five games.
Juventus, on the other hand, have their plate filled with quality wingers. Douglas Costa can tear any defence apart on his day, given his electric pace. Cristiano Ronaldo, who started on the left of a 4-3-3 for Bianconeri over the weekend can pose enough threat for a weakened Man United defence without taking his goalscoring feat into account.
Besides the above two, Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi, who was used as a left winger in Massimiliano Allegri’s team’s win at Old Trafford, can also put in a relatively strong shift. Paulo Dybala, the versatile Argentinian forward, can moonlight as a winger as well.
United have had wingers who’ve set the world alight in their heyday, yet it seems this time it’s a mismatch.
Will Juventus pile on the misery for United or can Jose Mourinho’s side mastermind an unlikely result?