Best Odds: 10/11
Atletico Madrid will welcome Serie A leaders Juventus to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday night, for the first leg of their intriguing Champions League last 16 encounter.
Starting with the hosts, picking up a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano to bounce back from their pair of defeats against Real Betis and bitter-rivals Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid will be boosted by the news that Diego Simeone has extended his stay until 2022. While only their head-to-head record with Borussia Dortmund saw them fail to top Group A, Los Colchoneros have continued to shine in their European matches at the Wanda Metropolitano. Now winning their last four Champions League matches in the Spanish capital, it is unsurprisingly their defensive showings that has seen them gain the most admirers. Atletico have gone over 400 minutes without conceding a European goal in front of their own fans. Now seen to be Barcelona’s biggest rivals in the race for the La Liga title, Simeone will be looking for World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann to carry on his impressive run. The striker has now bagged 11 goals in his last 13 matches across all competitions. The 27-year-old also has four goals in his six Group A outings this season.
Atletico have midfielder Koke available for the first time since he suffered a thigh injury on 19 January.
Former Juventus striker Alvaro Morata, who is on loan at Atletico from Chelsea, could play.
As for the visitors, picking up a pair of 3-0 wins over Frosinone and Sassuolo, Massimiliano Allegri will be hoping his side have officially bounced back from their shock Coppa Italia departure at the hands of Atalanta last month. Now holding a 13-point buffer over Napoli in the race to defend their Serie A crown, many have the Old Lady tipped as a leading contender to lift the Champions League trophy this season. Despite running away with Group H, Allegri will be hoping for a better performance than their last display in Europe. In their final group game, Juventus slumped to a very surprising 2-1 loss to Young Boys. The 2017 finalists will also be looking to end their duck against Spanish opposition. Wednesday’s visitors have failed to win any of their last five meetings against teams from La Liga. If Juventus are to live up to their tag as one of Europe’s top contenders then they will be looking for summer arrival and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to lead their charge. The Portuguese talisman has a remarkable record against his former foes, scoring 22 goals against Atletico across all competitions.
Juve are without winger Juan Cuadrado while full-back Alex Sandro missed Friday night’s Serie A victory over Frosinone, but he should return.
Forward Paulo Dybala will start Juventus’ Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at Atletico Madrid.
Key Factors to Consider
- The only previous meeting between Juventus and Atletico Madrid came in the 2014/15 group stages and only one goal came in the two matches which was scored by Arda Turan
- Juventus have failed to win any of their last five matches against Spanish opposition.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has gone on to put together a remarkable individual record against Atletico with 22 goals and eight assists coming in all competitions.
- Antoine Griezmann has 11 goals in his last 13 matches across all competitions.
- Atletico have conceded just one home goal in their last four Champions League appearances.
While on paper both sides might have an abundance of attacking talent at their disposal, Wednesday’s tie could prove to be a cagey encounter. With only one goal scored in the two matches both teams shared four years ago, we’re backing another defensive-minded battle at the at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Best Odds: 10/11
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