Juventus are all set to face Portuguese giants Sporting CP in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Massimiliano Allegri’s side are desperate to break their European curse and go far into the tournament, with the Europa League being their biggest shot at a trophy this season.
However, they’re facing a Sporting side that has already popped up with some major surprises this season. That includes knocking out the Premier League leaders Arsenal from the competition in the previous stages.
Juve might have an advantage in terms of bigger star power in the game, but Sporting have momentum on their side. It could end up being a pretty open-ended clash with both sides likely to go for it in order to go into the second leg with an advantage.
Last 5 Games
Sporting definitely boasts a better run of form heading into this game, having won four of their last five games across all competitions. That includes a win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last month to move into the Europa quarter-finals as well. Juve, on the other hand, have just won one of their last three games.
Win: 4-3 vs Casa Pia
Draw: 0-0 vs Gil Vicente
Win: 3-0 vs Santa Clara
Win: 1-1 (5-3) vs Arsenal
Win: 3-0 vs Boavista
Loss: 2-1 vs Lazio
Draw: 1-1 vs Inter Milan
Win: 1-0 vs Hellas Verona
Win: 1-0 vs Inter Milan
Win: 2-0 vs Freiburg
The Bianconeri don’t really have any more injury issues in their squad, with Mattia de Sciglio getting close to attaining full fitness after recovering from a knock.
However, there are some prominent unavailabilities because of issues within the squad. Paul Pogba remains sidelined for disciplinary reasons and Leandro Paredes also had a clash with Allegri, leading to him being sidelined too.
Sporting, however, are missing some of their first-team stars due to injuries. They’ll be without forwards Paulinho and Daniel Braganca in this one. Midfielder Manuel Ugarte will also be out after getting sent off against Arsenal.
Juventus: Szczesny, Danilo, Bremer, Sandro, Cuadrado, Locatelli, Rabiot, Chiesa, Kostic, Di Maria, Vlahovic
Sporting: Adan, St. Juste, Diomande, Inacio, Esgaio, Arthur, Goncalves, Reis, Edwards, Trincao, Chermiti
These two teams haven’t really met that often in their histories. As a matter of fact, Juventus have only faced Sporting three times in their history, out of which both have won one each and another one has ended up as a draw.
The last time they met was back in the 2017/18 season in the Champions League. Sporting managed to hold Juve to a 1-1 draw back then.
Where the game will be decided
Juventus will be gunning to start this tie on the front foot and can be expected to play some encouraging attacking football in front of their fans at the Allianz Stadium. However, as they showed against Arsenal, Sporting isn’t a team to sit back against a formidable opposition.
The Portuguese side should go with their own all-guns-blazing style and try to get a positive result back home. This game should be decided by who is able to win the midfield battle, with both teams boasting some prominent midfielders.
Juventus have quite the attacking threat, with the likes of Angel di Maria and Federico Chiesa able to influence results on their own. Dusan Vlahovic can be clinical in the final third, while wing-backs Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic are also able to create major chances with their delivery.
Sporting’s backline needs to maintain utmost concentration to deny the Biancoenri. They can also be a daunting challenge in swift breaks, with the likes of Fransisco Trincao and Marcus Edwards able to use their pace and dribbling ability to cause a lot of trouble. This battle of two counter-attacking styles with lots of creativity through the middle should create an enticing contest.
We’re backing Juventus to scrape through a narrow win in this game. They’ve been in pretty solid at home as of late and seem to have found that connection with their faithful that allows them to take things up a notch at the Allianz Stadium.
Sporting are missing some players that hold them back and while they should be expected to give a major fight to Juvneuts, the Bianconer’s superiority in players is likely to pay dividends in the end.
Prediction Juventus 2-1 Sporting
Juventus to win: 4/5
Sporting CP win: 77/20
Juventus are obviously the bookmakers’ favorite to win the game with 4/5 odds. That means if one was to bet $1 for them to win, they’d get a return of $1.80 on the desired result – with a $0.80 return.
Sporting have been given surprisingly surmountable odds to win. If one was to bet $1 for them to win on the 77/20 odds, then they’d get a return of $4.85 – with a $3.85 profit on the desired result.
*by BetUS at the time of writing
The game will kick off at 20:00 GMT and the referee for the match will be Halil Meler.