Just six months after their last visit, Juventus return to Camp Nou on Tuesday evening looking for another positive result. Kicking off their Champions League campaign against the same side they eliminated at the Quarter Final stage last term term will not be easy, but Barcelona are at least a familiar foe.
Max Allegri’s men secured a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Catalonia back in April, having already taken an emphatic 3-0 lead in Turin. Just as he is now, Paulo Dybala was in sensational form that day, netting twice and ensuring Juve’s progress almost single-handedly.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 12, 2017
Looking rather different to the last time they took on the Old Lady, Barca made major changes this summer following the departure of boss Luis Enrique. Obviously, Neymar’s high-profile move to Paris Saint-Germain ensured there was a real end-of-an-era feeling at the club, but new Coach Ernesto Valverde will be confident of an improved showing.
His side still are likely to be without Rafinha and Arda Turan, while Sergi Roberto was left out of the squad that registered a 5-0 hammering of city rivals Espanyol at the weekend.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 11, 2017
Barca will know that Juve present a much stiffer test, particularly in defence where they have yet to resolve their right-back problem. Aleix Vidal and Nelson Semedo have both been given a chance to stake a claim for the role, with perhaps the latter slightly ahead on current form.
It will be the usual faces of Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta in midfield, with their understanding and interplay almost certain to be a major factor. If Juve can disrupt the rhythm of that trio then they could once again enjoy success, but it will be a tough task to cut off the supply to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Sigh. Of all the times to be hit by an injury crisis, the weekend before a trip to Camp Nou has to be among the worst. Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Marchisio have all stayed at home due to their on-going issues, while Benedikt Höwedes continues to work his way back to full fitness.
With Juan Cuadrado also suspended, Allegri will need to come up with something special if the Bianconeri are to triumph. He seemed to hint at his plans during the win over Chievo, switching to a 4-3-1-2 formation that would prevent the midfield being overrun and, while many criticise Stefano Sturaro, the team certainly functioned much better.
— Adam Digby (@Adz77) September 12, 2017
Blaise Matuidi impressed once again, while Miralem Pjanic appeared far more comfortable in the middle of a three-man unit. With Dybala’s stunning late cameo in that crushing of Chievo, Juve’s attack looks dangerous but the defence will be a huge question mark.
Leonardo Bonucci and Chiellini were frankly brilliant in the two matches with Barca, but neither will be available here. Some combination of Medhi Benatia, Daniele Rugani and the unflappable Andrea Barzagli will need to mirror those great performances if the Bianconeri are to have any hope of victory.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Dembele
Juventus (4-3-2-1): Buffon; Barzagli, Rugani, Benatia, Sandro; Sturaro, Pjanic, Matuidi; Costa, Dybala; Higuain
LEAVE YOUR COMMENT IN THE SECTION BELOW!
Download the free Around J App on Google Play and iTunes!
Around J claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted.