The Old ladies of Italian football, Juventus, will lock horns with AS Monaco at the Stade Louis II for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League tonight.
Tonight’s encounter would be the fifth time the two sides have met in the Champions League.
In 1997/1998 season, the two met at the semi-final stage with Juventus securing a 6-4 aggregate win.
Juventus once again secured a 1-0 aggregate win over AS Monaco at the quarter final stage of the 2014/2015 season.
Addressing the media yesterday, Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said it would be difficult to for him to play a defensive game against the Italian giants as “they are well organised and physical defensively”.
“Juventus have a winning culture. They are well organised and physical defensively. In attack they are strong and they really only need two chances to score one. They are clinical and very good at set pieces. They are very hard to defend against.” – he said
He however said that his team would have to pay attention to transitional phases to break the defense of the Juventus team as they [Juventus] are more attack-minded and less focused on defence.
“Those clubs are more attack-minded and less focused on defence. We’ll need to pay attention to transitional phases. We’ll also need to move the ball quickly going forward.” – he added
The Monaco team will be without midfielder Gabriel Boschilia and striker Guido Marcelo Carrillo as they continue to battle with knee and groin injuries respectively.
Juventus coach, Massimiliano Allegri has said that he looks forward to his team being the first to defeat the French side at their home grounds this season
“I hope we’ll become the first team to beat Monaco in this stadium in this competition this season. They play very direct football and they’re very different from the side we faced two years ago.” – he stated
According to Allegri, Monaco in this season is more of an attacking team than it was in 2015 when they met at the quarter final stage, hence they would have to put up stronger performances in order to advance to the final.
“Monaco in 2015 were stronger defensively and now they’re stronger as an attacking unit. Monaco score a lot of goals, especially at the end of matches. We’ll need to produce two big performances.”
Pjaca and Rugani are expected to be out of today’s game due to knee and leg injuries respectfully.
AS Monaco Team Form
Leonardo Jardim’s men, after 34 games are placed 1st on the domestic league table with 83 points ahead of Paris Saint Germain and Nice who are placed 2nd and 3rd respectfully after 35 games.
Monaco has won 4 and lost 1 out of their last five matches in all competitions.
Juventus Team Form
Juventus are also, after 34games placed 1st on the domestic league table with 84 points ahead of AS Roma and SSC Napoli.
In their last five games, they have won three, drawing two.
Monaco (4-4-2): Subašić; Mendy, Jemerson, Glik, Touré; Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar; Mbappé, Falcao.
Juventus (4-2-3-1)Buffon; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanić, Marchisio; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandžukić; Higuaín.
Kick off: 18:45GMT
Venue: Stade Louis II, Monaco
Referee: Antonio Mateu (Spain)
How to watch
BETTING & GAME ODDS
Juventus are 29/20 favourites despite being away home, according to Oddschecker, with Monaco available at 21/10 and the draw priced at 5/2.
Gonzalo Higuain is the 4/1 favourite to score first, with Falcao and Paulo Dybala priced at 11/2 and Kylian Mbappe available at 13/2.
Credit: Jeffrey Nyabor|233livenews.com|Ghana