Atletico Madrid v Juventus, Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann will lead the lines for Juventus and Atletico Madrid respectively

Shane McArdle’s Atletico Madrid v Juventus preview, Weds 20 February, 8pm

Form:

Atletico Madrid are currently second in La Liga, with three wins and two defeats in their last five league games. Last season’s Europa League winners have home advantage in this first-leg tie and they have the best defensive record in La Liga this season, conceding just 17 goals in 24 matches.

They conceded six goals in the group stages of this season’s Champions League, however four of those goals came in the same game against Borussia Dortmund.

However, in recent weeks Atletico have been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and suffered back-to-back league defeats against Real Betis and local rivals Real Madrid.

Their defence has looked a bit tired and could be in need of some rejuvenation.

However, they do have one of the top keepers in Europe in Jan Oblak and he will need to be in top-form against the Serie A leaders in this game.

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Juventus lead Serie A by 13 points and, like their opponents, they have the best defensive record in the league with just 15 goals conceded from their 24 matches played.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the Serie A top goalscorer currently with 19 league goals scored. Ronaldo also has a fairly excellent record in Champions League last 16 ties.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Juventus lately either however, they conceded six goals in a span of less than a week earlier this month, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Atlanta in their domestic cup and played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Parma in the league.

In those games Duvan Zapata and Gervinho exposed some defensive frailties, however it’s also worth bearing in mind that this happened whilst veteran defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were both out injured.

The Match:

This is without doubt the toughest round of 16 match to call and the team selections will most likely indicate how confident both coaches are going in to this game at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

This is just the third meeting of these two European heavyweights and Juventus have never beaten their Spanish opponents with Atletico Madrid winning one and one draw.

Team News:

Atletico Madrid have two injury doubts with Lucas Hernandez and (Knee) and Koke (Thigh) both doubtful to be fit enough for this first-leg tie.

Cuadrado (knee) will not be available for Juventus whilst Douglas Costa (thigh) is a major injury doubt ahead this game.

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Verdict:

With both teams renowned for their defensive prowess, this is expected to be a very cagey contest and therefor the draw could be the way to go.

The draw half-time draw full-time is also suggested at tasty looking odds of 16/5.

Based on Serie A form this season, Cristiano Ronaldo is the selection to be first goalscorer at odds of 7/2 and as an anytime goalscorer at 6/4.



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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article