Barcelona v Juventus Betting Prediction | Back a Draw at 4/1 with BetfairPublished April 19, 2017
Barcelona are at their weakest point for at least ten years, probably more. Not only are results in the big games extremely poor, their remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 aside, but they are also suffering from a serious identity crisis.
Heading into the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Juventus, they are in the exact same situation as against PSG and need a similar sized miracle to progress. But while it seemed possible last time, because most people expected the Blaugrana to beat the French side at the Camp Nou on the night, such a Champions League betting prediction is not so widely backed here.
The most worrying thing for Luis Enrique was that Juve and PSG both beat them so comfortably on their own ground the same way. During Barcelona’s best years, their midfield was indestructible, both in an attacking and defensive sense. They suffocated the opposition with the high press and possession of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, and couldn’t break through against Sergio Busquets.
But since Xavi left, Iniesta’s powers have waned and he has struggled with injuries, meaning the emphasis on the team has shifted. Enrique does not allow the midfield to put as much pressure on the ball and its main focus is supplying the front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. It is easier for teams to play in behind, especially with Busquets suspended against Juve.
Paulo Dybala was the star of the first leg but not just because of his two goals. He picked up spaces in behind Javier Mascherano and made sure the Argentine was facing his own goal rather than looking to start attacks. Busquets is set to return but even in the weekend’s 3-2 home win over Real Sociedad, it was all to easy fot the visitors to play through central areas.
But Juve also have options out wide too. Juan Cuadrado will start centrally but can drift, while Mario Mandzukic is excelling on the left this season. Not to mention Alex Sandro and Dani Alves at wing back.
Barcelona will start fast but come up against a very solid defence, one of the most experienced and consistent in Europe. Juve are more than capable of soaking up the pressure, especially with such a lack of cohesion in Barcelona’s midfield and will sit tight and hit them on the counter attack. A score draw will see them comfortably into the last four.
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