UEFA Champions League, quarter-final first leg; Tuesday, 11th April; Juventus Stadium, Turin; KO: 18:45 (12:15 am IST on Wednesday)
One of the most inform teams in Europe at the moment, Juventus face a stellar task this week when they welcome Luis Enrique’s Barcelona to the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday. The Italian giants put two past Chievo in the recent league game in Italy and will be high on confidence going into this tie. But the loss against the Spanish side in the Champions League final not so long ago, will surely have its say on the mindset of the players.
But Barcelona themselves are in a pit at the moment in the La Liga, having lost to Malaga at the weekend and all but ending their title hope for the campaign. But Luis Enrique will not give up easy in his final few months at the Camp Nou and will surely fight for progress into the next round of the competition. It is a game that is sure to produce some top-class entertainment and here is the predicted lineup that the Italian side might field for this tie:
Marko Pjaca is the only real injury problem for Massimiliano Allegri ahead of this tie against Barcelona. The likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Dani Alves were all rested for the weekend but should be back in action in this game.
Expected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Gianluigi Buffon, even at his age, has been the first-choice shot-stopper for Juve this season and he should start against Barcelona in this game. While Dani Alves has been excellent at right back, Alex Sandro has been decent at left-back and both players should keep their place in the side for this game.
Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were both rested for the weekend even as Juve kept a clean sheet but the duo should take their place at the heart of the defense and will have a tough time against Barcelona’s first choice front three.
While Claudio Marchisio has not put a foot wrong in the midfield this season, Miralem Pjanic has done a decent job alongside him for the Italian side and Allegri should stick with the duo to start just ahead of the back line for this game.
Gonzalo Higuain has been in tremendous form this season and will be the danger man for Barcelona as he will lead the attacking line for his side. But that is the least of their problems. Paulo Dybala has been devastating in a central role and Allegri is expected to start him just behind Higuain, to add the cutting edge to his side’s attack.
Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado has also been exceptional on the flank and should keep his place in the side while Mario Mandzukic, though more productive as a striker, has been used on the wing to good effect. The duo will be responsible for providing width in attack for Juventus.
Here is how they would line up: