Champions League Group H profile: Serie A winners Juventus to edge out Sevilla
Lee Gormley | September 11, 2016
Champions League Group H profile
With European football back on our screens this September, Coral experts give Champions League Group H tips, as we examine all eight pools for the best punts and profile the teams, players and coaches.
This group sees Italian giants and five-in-a-row Serie A champions Juventus lead the charge for top spot, while Europa League winners Sevilla will also try to assert their dominance on proceedings.
Ligue 1 outfit Lyon finished runners-up last season domestically but will be hopeful of earning some success in their standings, while Croatian top-flight champions Dinamo Zagreb make up the four sides competing.
So, read on to see who is set to shine cross Europe in this intriguing Champions League Group H…
Massimiliano Allegri’s Turin titans have rallied to an impressive five consecutive league crowns, but the club has failed to have their mark on European competition since 1996, when they secured a Champions League triumph over Ajax.
The Old Lady’s prolonged pain of a lack of European silverware has been eased by their dominance in Italy, but they will be gunning to end that hapless run this season and enter as massive odds-on 4/9 favourites to win Group H.
Juventus reached the 2014 final, eventually being ousted by an irresistible Barcelona outfit and, after a host of new arrivals this past summer, they will look to go one better in this term’s competition.
Paul Pogba was a key member of the side that was domestically dominant in recent campaigns, but he has recently returned to Manchester United for a world-record fee. Those funds were instantly spent on acquiring a new frontman in the form of former Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Despite talk of being unfit in pre-season, the Argentine ace has hit the ground running in new surroundings, having fired in a late winner over Fiorentina in his league debut and following it up with a double against Sassuolo.
Dani Alves was a defensive boost for the club too, coming in for free from Barcelona, while dynamic midfielder Miralem Pjanic will provide plenty of promise in the central areas, after switching from Roma.
Paulo Dybala dispatched 23 goals for club and country last term and he will need to be in similar clinical form this time out if Juventus are to challenge this season. They are 12/1 to reign supreme outright.
Spanish outfit Sevilla made history by clinching their third consecutive Europa League crown last season, but their former coach and mastermind behind such success Unai Emery has since departed for PSG.
On the back of those European victories, Sevilla will aim to have an impact on the continent’s elite competition this time around, and they are 11/4 to rally to Group H supremacy under new boss Jorge Sampaoli.
The Bathtubs boast a host of top attacking names capable of firing them atop the standings this season, with prolific French forward Wissam Ben Yedder always a danger, while the luring of Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri is a real coup for the Andalusia team.
England manager Sam Allardyce enquired about the availability of Steven N’Zonzi recently, and the former Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City anchorman should be a key feature for his current club once again this season.
Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu also arrived on loan from French champions PSG and will bolster the club’s options between the sticks, with Brazilian Paulo Henrique Ganso another promising summer signing.
With Juventus and Sevilla seemingly set to battle it out for the top two positions in Group H and automatic progression to the knockout stage, French side Lyon may have to settle for a Europa League spot.
Although, they possess enough firepower of springing a surprise and are 5/4 to qualify, with the likes of Arsenal and West Ham United target Alexandre Lacazette set to give them a chance.
Both London clubs made unsuccessful bids for the French frontman in the summer after he dispatched an impressive 23 times in all competitions last term. He’s also started brightly this campaign, with six goals in his opening four league outings.
Highly-rated forward Nabil Fekir suffered a big injury setback last term but should be a vital component once recovered for Bruno Genesio’s team, while Man Utd fans will remember the club’s current right back Rafael da Silva.
Experienced French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena will bring plenty of quality going forward too, with summer signing and Poland international Maciej Rybus a solid acquisition.
Croatian champions Zagreb enter Group H as the big outsiders to make an impact and Zlatko Kranjcar’s side are 6/1 to secure a shock progression.
They hold some recognisable faces within their squad, with former Old Trafford misfit Angelo Henriquez possibly bringing back memories for Red Devils fans. The Chile attacker spent three years at the club after being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson, but was loaned out to three times and never made a senior appearance.
Teenage talent Ante Coric was involved in Croatia’s Euro 2016 squad in France, but never featured, though he has the attributes to be a potential star, having been recently linked with a move to Manchester City.
Former Bayer Leverkusen forward Junior Fernandes could also prove crucial to any points gained in Group H, though the Croatian outfit may struggle to make a genuine impact after being drawn against tough opposition.
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