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Barcelona v Juventus Champions League Preview

April 18, 2017

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Barcelona v Juventus

Champions League –  Wednesday, 19th April – 19:45 GMT – Camp Nou


juventus

Juventus

The wait is over – It’s been an arduous, drawn-out week, but the most important game of our season to-date is finally upon us, and there’s plenty at stake.

Despite what Allegri and the players had to say post-match, the focus has been on this game from the minute the whistle blew at the Juve stadium a week ago. The last 7 days were punctuated by the 2-0 victory over Pescara, a straightforward win without any real exertion on the part of the team, and the regular updates regarding Paulo Dybala’s ‘injury’ which thankfully turned out to be nothing serious. La Joya confirmed as much when he spoke yesterday, confirming that he was ‘100% to face Barcelona’ in the Champions League.

The first-leg was arguably one of Juve’s finest in the Champions League. A resounding 3-0 victory that showcased the very best that Juve have to offer – Composure, intelligence, cohesion and above all else, teamwork in every part of the pitch. Plenty has been made of the weak links in the Barcelona team, but they still boast the most fearsome attack in world, and Juve had their measure for the entire 90 minutes, shackling Leo Messi and Neymar on the flanks, cutting off the supply to Luis Suarez and limiting the Blaugrana to just a handful of half chances. More important still was Gigi Buffon’s superb one-handed save on Andres Iniesta, denying them a vital way goal which may yet come back to haunt them.

Despite the heroics in Turin, let’s make no mistake: a visit to the Camp Nou is a daunting prospect, especially when you factor in that Barcelona have gone 18 games without a loss in Spain, winning 15 and drawing 3. In the Champions League this season, they’ve beaten Celtic 7-0, City 4-0, Gladbach 4-0 and PSG 6-1 and their last loss at home in the competition came way back in 2013, a 3-0 hammering to Bayern Munich. It’s an impressive record, much in line with our own unbeaten run at the Juve stadium that stretches back 48 games in all competitions – A reminder of just how important the home advantage is in these two-legged ties.

On the positive side, the team has come through the last 7 days, relatively unscathed, and Allegri was able to rest Bonucci and Chiellini ahead of the trip to Barcelona. The initial concerns over Dybala’s fitness were proved unfounded as he trained with the team yesterday/today, and is in good shape by all accounts. Speaking ahead of the match, Allegri spoke of how he’ll approach the game, disregarding the 3-0 advantage from the first-leg:

“The perfect Juventus match is the one where we qualify. Tomorrow we need to be very clear-headed and sharp. There will be times we need to attack and times to defend.

“I don’t think Barcelona’s characteristics have changed. We need to have confidence and faith in our capabilities,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“In the past I had midfielders of different characteristics, now I have attacking wingers like Juan Cuadrado and Mario Mandzukic, so the job of a Coach is to make the most of the characteristics of his players. Tomorrow is an important step for the final part of the season.

“I know we have great respect for Barcelona, but this kind of game requires little thought and a lot of action. We must defend well and attack well, as in every game.

“Naturally Barcelona have three very dangerous forwards, so we need to take that into account, but no more than usual.

“Dybala is fine, so is everyone, fortunately. As for the line-up, I think there will be few or no variations from the first leg. However, in tactical terms and when it comes to attitude, I might change something.

“This squad has grown a great deal in terms of confidence. Tomorrow we must not think about the three goals of the first leg, but focus on this as a game we have to win.

“We need to put what happened in the first leg out of our minds. We consider this a one-off match and sharpness is fundamental, because we need the cool heads to read the game at various points.

“The important thing is that we are in the game for 95 minutes and play a strong game technically. The lads know what to do, it’s very simple. They need to defend well and attack well – full stop.”

It seems unlikely that there will be any significant changes to the team. The biggest mistake would be to sit back and invite pressure, as PSG learned only too well, so its likely that we’ll see a similar, if not identical starting XI. Allegri used the 4-2-3-1 to perfection last time out, using two men on either flank to guard against Messi and Neymar respectively. Sandro/Mandzukic and Cuadrado/Alves overlapped with one another, doing a lot of the dirty work, tackling, harrying and breaking up attacks before setting Juve in motion. Bonucci and Chiellini were at their absolute best so they’re expected to start with Buffon between the sticks with Dybala and Higuain spearheading the attack.

Probable lineup: 

4-2-3-1: Buffon; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain. 

Injuries: 

Pjaca (knee). 

Suspensions:

None.

 

 

Barcelona

Probable lineup: 

3-4-3: Stegen; Pique, Umtiti, Mascherano; Rakitic, Mascherano, Iniesta; Messi; Alcacer, Suarez, Neymar

Injuries: 

Aleix Vidal, Rafinha, Arda Turan (Doubtful)

Suspensions:

None

 

Formation:

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  • ho Hi

    This will be hardcore. Neymar will be very fit. We need 2 or 3 goals. Lets do this.

    • E.Micallef

      We just need to be focused. First 20 minutes crucial. At defence level they are hopeless if they play like above mentioned. 4 strikers against 3 defenders. We could score 5 each half.

      • ho Hi

        Fingers crossed!
        Lets be honest we deserve it!
        But Barca will play with 4 defenders. Alba will play.

        • E.Micallef

          If they play 4 defenders they will not have the extra edge on attack. We can cope. Mind they will have their chances but we eliminated Rm in a more close contest 2 years ago and BM last year oh dont mention!!!!!! But still it was 2 2

          • ho Hi

            Fingers crossed!

  • Storm

    Macherano is hopefully not fit to play, that would give us a needed advantage. With that said I believe that we are going to make it through. Surely, we will get an important away goal and not screw it up like PSG

    • E.Micallef

      I hope we score 2 in the first half. Every time we get the ball we will have a chance on counter.

      • Storm

        With Conte I had this fear that the team just didn’t posses “enough” to surprise and compete with the other giants. Wit Allegir I was, like many of you, deeply let down by our final loss in his European debut with Juventus.

        Now I feel that Allegri has found his own style and that we are much more competent. I fear no opponents as I think we can beat them all. When we advance I actually most of all want to play Real Madrid, as I see being stronger against them than defensive Atl. Madrid or the surprising Monaco.

        All in all, I believe we can take the trophy this year

        • E.Micallef

          We are more relaxed and know what we are capable of. Barcelona did blow the trumphet even before the Turin game. To say it is not to believe it. If we score first we ll have the match in our hand.

  • BelgianJuventino

    I think yet again, our mental attitude will be deciding.We should play this game as if it is a final on itself, with no advantages. Aim to win and not within a mainframe of “we’re up three goals”. But I’m confident we won’t play like that.

    Looking forward to another nerve-wrecking 90 minutes, chewing my fingernails and shouting orders as if the players can actually hear me!

  • BelgianJuventino

    I wonder how Bayern feel, being cheated out of advancing through to next round by the errors made by the ref. Oh wait, this sounds familiar.. 3 blatant mistakes, sounds like last year’s CL

    • Indeed, last year they were gifted passage past us by the officials. This year they have been done in turn, as Barca are only playing us now due to even worse errors by officials. I hope that we do not fall foul to the same fate and I must say that it is really spoiling the tournament. Vidal’s tackle was superb, not a booking and the official should have had more steel than to let the occasion get to him.

      I suppose I have found Atletico a little less potent than I thought, Munich a little weaker defensively and Real a little better. So far, I am yet to see a side with our defensive solidity, yet tonight we probably face the toughest test of the year on that score. No live footage for me, and so I will wake to see the result, hoping for glory, but not expecting anything more than for us to once again show our mettle, spirit, belief and tenacity.

      • BelgianJuventino

        Indeed comrade, it is ludicrous that we still don’t have video assistance for the referee. It should have been implemented years ago. These errors happen far too often and unjustly shape up the tournament. The referee should not be decisive in such important games!

        If we beat Barca in this round then I seriously don’t see any reason to fear anyone left. I wouldn’t care who we got next, I would rate Atletico the toughest match-up though. They play much like we do and are hard to crack down.

      • E.Micallef

        Poet i see our squad concentrated but still relaxed. They are eager to prove themselves. We have a big lead.

        But speaking of Bayern. Lets say it all. At Munich they had a penalty which was no way so. Then Vidal sent it to Jesus. Afterwards Martinez knew he was going to see red still tripped Ronaldo. Even on the draw down to ten men you dont leave Ronaldo alone in the Box. Yes it was offside but for me you play glued to the man. Errors do happen frequently more then in domestic competitions. Btw Douglas Costa played like shit. Not even a resemblance of his shadow self just over a year ago.

        • ‘sent it to jesus’! hohoho…that did make me chuckle, mate.

    • DutchJuventus

      It’s happening way too much again. Barca got 2 very easy penalties against PSG which got them through, now Real Madrid 2 offside goals in the extra time. I want this out of the sport and i don’t mind waiting a little on the officials watching a monitor if that can make the game fair. That shouldn’t take too long like some people think.

      Yesterday the linesman just looked awful. On the 2nd Ronaldo offside goal the official was 5 meters behind the players.

  • E.Micallef

    Its time

  • DutchJuventus

    3-0 ahead yet i’m still nervous. I have faith in the team, ofcourse, but this is just so damn important.

    Lets do this guys, FORZA JUVENTUS!!

  • BelgianJuventino

    HERE WE GO GUYS

  • DutchJuventus

    Barca is getting frustrated

    • BelgianJuventino

      Yeah maybe they boil over if they dont score soon

  • E.Micallef

    We could have done more in attack. Still vg result at ht

  • BelgianJuventino

    My commentators are praising every fart Barca produces and minimalising every Juve move, this is just so sad.

    • Peter

      They’re already screaming when they have the ball at the half line, it’s incredible.

      • BelgianJuventino

        Its just mind boggling how pro-Barca they all are. Wish they could at least try to sound neutral

    • Praval

      Now they keep stressing why the ‘tension’ when Juve are 3-0

      • BelgianJuventino

        And insinuating everyone who touches Messi or Neymar should get a card and a lifetime sentence in jail

        • Praval

          MSN has not looked sharp in 1st half. Hopefully ref doesn’t get influenced by the crowd

          • BelgianJuventino

            Have to say, I wasnt happy with Kuipers but so far he is doing well

          • Gerald Quinn

            Lol They must have been Argentinian commentators, They tend to pick sides when not suppose to. I had English commentators along with Ranieri, and they where full of accolades towards Chiellini and Bonucci and Alves

          • BelgianJuventino

            Belgians mate, generally not so bad when it comes to facts and details, but you can easily deduct who they like better and when it is Barca, you dont have to hesitate about it, they divinate Barca

      • E.Micallef

        Dont worry commentators dont play neither do the crowd. We must be 100 percent in the second half. Only two shots barca in the first. But upfront we must do better

  • DutchJuventus

    We are defending very well. Everything Barca try is getting intercepted expect the one Messi shot. Chiellini is at his best right now. I loved how he got a foot on that ball after he seemed to be way gone after a sliding tackle.

    • BelgianJuventino

      Yeah so far they have contained Barca very well, though my heart tries to escape my chest every time I see Messi and Suarez plunge forward in our 16

  • Praval

    We are the benchmark in defending and tactical play. What a performance!

  • E.Micallef

    6 my ass louis enrique fuck off

    3 games to go

  • ho Hi

    Ja!!!!!;

  • ho Hi

    We really could make 2 goals! But fuck it,SEmis!!

  • Storm

    Well fought and we are through, nothing but praises for our boys!

    One hickup: Khedira owes a goal or four. I counted at least four opportunity in the past 15 minutes where he could have scored or assisted someone. Anyhow, I hope he was tired from defending so concentrated and for my sake he can save the goals for the semi and final.

    Forza Juve!

    • Gerald Quinn

      Also Higuain who missed 2 clear chances, even clearer than Khedira’s

      • Storm

        Surely, but every time we drive forward with lots of players with a dangerous counter attack, it ends up with nothing when Khedira is there. I like the guy, but yesterday I was giving up at the end every time I saw him in the last third.

        I am only judging him in the last third.

  • Gerald Quinn

    Bonucci and Chiellini where Master Class today!!! Khedira and Higuain….I rather keep my mouth shut as there is nothing good to say

    • E.Micallef

      Higuain today i agree but khedira come on man. He is a giant in midfield.

      • Gerald Quinn

        khedira missed two or three clear shots on goal, and was stingy with 1 shot if he would have passed it would have been a sure goal. Yea Khedira’s work rate and Presence contributed but the same can be argued for Higuain. This isn’t to say that i dont wish the didn’t play i am just saying they played poor and really disappointed out there today

        • E.Micallef

          Too happy to argue my friend but one instant when sandro lost the ball reminded me of Bm Coman cross Khedira was divine going to take the yellow sacrificing the semi. For that alone i praise him. Before we took him he barely played a match now he is one of the reason nobody can score a goal against.

  • Gerald Quinn

    so who is suspended for the Smis? just Khedira? or Chiellini to ?

    • Storm

      Most important thing to remember here, don’t do the “Nedved”

  • Gerald Quinn

    Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid BRING IT ON!!!!!! EASY WIN FOR US!!! …the only team i fear is Monaco! they are FIRE!!! Ever sense that ManCity and BvB Thrashing :0 ….Please let us face anybody but Monaco!

  • Dar Black

    A. job. well. done. Professional, resolute, determined. Nearly there lads…..

  • Gerald Quinn

    Mbappe is straight FIRE!!! sure you can’t compare BvB or City’s defence to ours, But still Monaco have the Aura of the Underdog, fuck Barcelona, their miracle was never in question, they used their 1 miracle against PSG, but Monaco, let me just put it this way, now with Bayern Munich gone, if there is any team that can defeat us and steal the title from us: It is Monaco, not RealMadrid

    Monaco is more than just Scoring left and right, they are also highly resilient. Also to be fair we kept the MSN out because Barcelona have a Horror midfield with no Creativity, if we where to loan them Pjanic i’m sure MSN would have at least scored 1 Lol.

    • Storm

      I actually share your opinion.

      For my part I think Real will be the “easiest” opponent as our history with them might also prove. I watched Atletico vs Malaga the other week and Atletico have this Norwegian/Greek approach of giving the other team the possession and just live of counter attacks, much like how Leicester won the Premier League last year. Monaco does have a certain momentum and to me it seems like anything can happen, therefore I prefer not to meet them, but instead Real whom we know how to deal with.

    • Dar Black

      They are nothing like resilient! Where was that resilience when Man City put 5 past them, or Leverkusen 3? Left it at the airport in lost luggage.. If you mean they are resilient because they can score more than the opposition, well that depends if their opponents let them. Surely if that was the criteria there was no more resilient team than Barca. Came back from 0-4 down and had scored between 4 to 7 goals at home in every round of this years UCL. And look what we did to them…… It’s an irrational fear you have there GQ. Now Atletico, they are resilient – tough, stingy and don’t give much away cheaply. They will make it really tough for us. Monaco have a very soft underbelly in comparison.

      • Gerald Quinn

        Atlethico have no teeth Though XD; just control Griezmann and problem solved, Their Defence is good but nothing compared to ours! Their keeper is also good but can’t compare to Gigi, Our Midfield is better, and our attack is far better. Atletico would be the easiest of the bunch. Every CL Atletico goes against the easy teams.

        Monaco on the other hand have a KILLER Mid and a Killer Attack, yea their keeper and Defence leaves much to be desired; But the point Monaco would definatley score on us compared to Atletico, and in a match of Monaco v Atletico i tip Monaco to pass.

        The thing with Monaco is that they are underestimated because they dont have big names, However the names are growing and the talent is there. Example Keeper and Defenders aside Monaco has the More Talented players in midfield and in Attack than Atletico Madrid.

  • Papilaya(John)™★★★

    Words cant really describe how i feel right now, so i will express myself it in the form of music:

    https://youtu.be/nD92-vOEUG8

  • BelgianJuventino

    i actually really dont care too much who we get next. monaco seems the easiest opponent, Atletico the toughest due to their very similar style of playing. Real has the most talented players, but as a team I think they dont play to their full capacity.

    2 La Liga teams, 1 Serie A team and 1 Ligue 1 team, who would have guessed that for a semi final eh

    • Xx RForcE xX

      wouldnt see ASM as the easiest team, they are black horse for me.Jardim has done wonderful work with them.They have a lot of talented players.However, im not sure about their defence and GK, i saw their away match against Man City and Subasic is average GK . City scored some cheap goals in the 2nd half.

      • BelgianJuventino

        I dont mean they are weak eh, just from the three possible opponents, they are in my view the easiest left. Real Madrid is a champion used to winning the CL and they have quality all over their team. The same goed for Atletico, with perhaps less talent but superior teamwork. Monaco is green behind the ears when it comes to CL. They are in hot form right now and doing well, but they cant match the Madrid teams anywhere on the pitch.

        Which doesnt mean they are weak, they are just not the same level

  • Xx RForcE xX

    we didnt concede 531mins in CL