By Piero Fiorino & Richard Bowman
After disposing of Porto 3-0(2-0, 1-0) in the Round of 16, Juventus now find themselves up against Barcelona, a team that has been the most successful European club over the past decade. Despite losing quite a few key players over the years, they’ve managed to still find success and Juventus will need to bring their A-game if they want to even have a chance.
These two European giants met just a few years ago in Berlin in the 2015 Champions League Final, the result favored Barcelona that night, however, this is a completely different Juventus team, the midfield might not be as strong but the defense is even better and the attack is significantly better than the one Juventus had on that Berlin night. Because of the additions of both Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala this match-up is a lot more entertaining, they both aren’t as good as Barca’s MSN(Messi, Suarez, Neymar), however, when you compare both teams from the back Juventus doesn’t need them to be as good but they’ll need to make them most of their opportunities.
It’s the best match-up of the quarter-final and Juventus will be out for revenge.
Juventus Champions League Squad for the Knockout stage:
Quick Grade on Juventus’ Performance against Porto in the Round of 16:
Piero Fiorino: A-
Richard Bowman: A
Biggest thing Juventus must improve on if they want to advance against arguably the most dangerous team in Europe?
Piero Fiorino: very simply, their defense
Richard Bowman: Attack in the final third
Which Juventus player could potentially be the deciding X-Factor if they’re to advance past Barcelona and why?
Piero Fiorino: Gianluigi Buffon
Analysis: We all know about Juve’s historic back wall, but Barcelona has three times the firepower that any other team Juve has faced recently, so the back line will have to turn legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to help contain the Barca attack. Buffon, who is now at the brisk age of 39, will have to be quick on his feet if he hopes to limit the amount of damage done by Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barca attack. While he was able to keep Porto in check with ease, Barca is a different animal. Lionel Messi and Arda Turan have combined for 15 goals in just 7 games, so this will really be a test for the old dog of Juventus.
Richard Bowman: Paulo Dybala
Analysis: Juventus will need Dybala to be at his best, as of now he’s in great form, the Juventus man is currently playing behind Gonzalo Higuain and his playmaking + scoring ability makes him incredibly dangerous. Juventus will need Dybala to put pressure on Barcelona’s backline if so then Juventus should haven no problems putting the ball into the back of the net.
Juventus spent big money on both Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic for match-ups like this, who is more likely to make a statement against Barcelona and why?
Piero Fiorino: Gonzalo Higuain
Analysis: We spent big money on both, but we specifically got Higuain to score goals. This will be a tug of war kind of match, so Higuain will have to be the fire power if Juve hopes to keep up with Barca.
Richard Bowman: Miralem Pjanic
Analysis: I’ll go with Pjanic here, this is the time for him to make a statement. Barcelona’s midfield is good but Iniesta is slowing down and both Gomes, and Ratikic have been known to disappear. Pjanic has the ability to dictate an entire game with his ability, look for Pjanic to have his way with Barcelona in both legs.
Analysis, prediction, and score for both legs?
Analysis: Last time these two teams met was the Champions League final, and despite the teams being much different now and it being an earlier part of the tournament, I expect nothing less than a final’s atmosphere. Where one excels at defense, the other excels at offense, so a back and forth battle is the most likely outcome. I expect a middle of the road aggregate since both sides will give in more than once, but I expect Juventus to advance n the back of their back line.
First Leg(Home): 2-1 Juventus
Second Leg(Away): 1-1 tie
Final Aggregate: 3-2 Juventus
Analysis: This is just a tough one to call, on one hand, Juventus has the defense along with enough scoring to advance but their attitude and mentality must be quality, they can’t get complacent against a team of Barcelona’s caliber. We all saw what happened to PSG, hopefully, Allegri is constantly reminding the team of what happened to them in 2015 and also what happened to PSG. Juventus can pull it off but they better put Barcelona away when given the chance or else…
First Leg(Home): 1-1
Second Leg(Away): 2-2
Final Aggregate: 3-3(Juventus advance on away goal aggregate)
Calcio/Futbol/Soccer Department: Soccer Articles
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