Champions League: Barcelona's Lionel Messi aims to score against Juventus

Champions League: Ronaldo-Messi Reunion in Doubt

Juventus vs Barcelona

The world may have to wait a bit longer to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the same pitch once again. Juventus’ Ronaldo remains a doubt to face Messi’s Barcelona in the first of their two scheduled Champions League Group G meetings as he continues to recover from COVID-19.

Ronaldo’s absence would be a huge boost to Barca, who are desperate to bounce back from their defeat to Real Madrid in El Clasico over the weekend.

Nevertheless, the Champions League 2020 betting odds seem to think this will be another closely contested match between two of Europe’s biggest clubs.

 

Talking Points

Juventus missing Ronaldo’s goals

Juventus sure could use Cristiano Ronaldo back in the line-up. The Italian champions have won just one of their three matches without the Portuguese superstar, and they’ve been sorely lacking his quality in front of goal.

They drew both of their Serie A matches 1-1 without Ronaldo, away to newly-promoted Crotone and at home against Verona over the weekend.

 

Juve did win their opening Champions League match away to Dynamo Kyiv as Alvaro Morata bagged a brace in a 2-0 win. However, they still didn’t create that many Champions League 2020 highlights and were outshot 11-10.

Paulo Dybala finally made his first start under new manager Andrea Pirlo against Verona and had nine of Juventus’ 22 shots, but only one of those nine shots was on target.

Meanwhile, Morata played well once again as he had four shots and set up Dejan Kulusevski’s equaliser. The Spanish striker has had a good start to his return to

Juve with three goals and an assist in his last three games, but he’s not nearly the same consistent goalscoring threat that Ronaldo is.

Arthur also got the start against Verona, but with Weston McKennie now negative for COVID-19 and ready to return, it looks unlikely that the former Barcelona midfielder will feature against his old club.

Pirlo has been constantly changing his line-ups and formations in his first few games in charge, though, and it remains to be seen what decisions he makes for the Barca match.

 

Koeman’s Barca still trying to build consistency

Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona remain a work in progress. That’s plain to see with their recent results. They’ve won just one of their last four matches, which was their 5-1 demolition of minnows Ferencvaros in their Champions League opener.

Their other three matches saw them fail to beat much better competition. They drew 1-1 at home to Sevilla, lost 1-0 away to Getafe, and lost 1-3 at home to Real Madrid in El Clasico.

Ronald Koeman is expecting Barcelona to win against Juventus as they battle in Champions League

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman during their match against Ferencvarosi

Ansu Fati has been one of the bright spots for Barca this season. The 17-year-old got on the scoresheet in El Clasico, which is already his fifth goal of the season.

Fati’s form has helped make up for the fact that Lionel Messi has not been playing at an incredibly high level thus far. Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann still hasn’t won over the trust of Koeman, who continues to not start the French forward despite the team’s need for a consistent centre-forward.

On the other end of the pitch, Barca haven’t kept a clean sheet in each of their last four matches. Neto continues to deputise in goal for the injured Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who is still recovering from a tendon injury.

Meanwhile, Barca will be without star centre-back Gerard Pique due to suspension after he received a red card against Ferencvaros. 21-year-old Ronald Araujo came on after Pique’s sending off and looks likely to start alongside Clement Lenglet.

 

History

Juventus and Barcelona have met 11 times in European competition. Barca hold the slight edge with four wins to Juve’s three, with four draws.

They last met in the Champions League group stage in 2017. Barca won 3-0 at home then drew 0-0 in Turin. Juve have not scored in each of their last three matches against Barca.

The last game of Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus playing career also happened to come against Barca. His Juve side lost to the Spaniards 3-1 in the 2015 Champions League final.

 

Betting Tip

??
Juventus vs Barcelona 1X2 Draw @ 3.25
October 29, 04:00 (GMT+8)

SBOTOP odds have Barcelona as slight 2.60 favourites to win, with Juventus priced at 2.64. Although, that’s likely to jump up significantly if Ronaldo returns.

Meanwhile, a draw is 3.25, which is the result I’m leaning toward. Neither club has looked particularly impressive with their new manager this season and they are still forming their respective identities.

And due to some key absentees, Koeman and Pirlo could decide to play more conservatively in this match, where a draw would likely suit both sides.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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