Tuesday, 9 May 2017

My point of view on Champions league - Juventus vs Monaco

Let's start with some facts:

- this is second semi final of Juventus in last 3 seasons!
- Juventus was knocked out only once in last 6 semi finals.
- Juventus and Real Madrid are the only unbeaten teams in this season's CL.
- Juventus conceded only two goals in this season's CL and none of them have come through open play.
- Higuain has most prolific campaign of his career in Champions league, as he has scored 5 goals in this season.

- they have reached fourth semi final of Champions league. No other French team has made the last four more than once.
- Mbappe and Falcao have scored 10 of past 16 CL goals.
- In the first leg, Mbappe failed to score for the first time after having started a match in the Champions league.
- Monaco have never won in Italy in seven trips. They lost all except one match.

Match facts:
- Juventus have kept a clean sheet in their last 6 matches in Champions league.
- Juventus are undefeated in their last 13 matches in Champions league.
- There have been under 2,5 goals scored in 5 of Juventus's last 6 games.
- No side has ever overturned 2 goal first-leg loss in semis.
- Monaco haven't won any of three away matches in CL semis.

Juventus have won the first leg with 0-2 and Monaco is in front of mission impossible. We have seen some great come backs in this season of Champions league, but is it possible to do it against the as organised team as Juventus is? In my opinion, the biggest problem of Monaco is, that they have problems with injuries on most important positions of the team. Sidibe and Mendy are key players of the team, and last Champions league match, where they were both able to participate was against Manchester City. They passed BVB, but Juventus is much stronger, especially when it comes to discipline and positioning in defence. 

First match: As mentioned Juve won 0-2, but key point was in my opinion idea of Allegri. He surprised with 3-4-3 formation, with Dybala dropping deep in midfield and as Sidibe (left back this time) stayed on his position to cover man of the match for me Dani Alves, Bakayoko needed to stay with Dybala, and because of that Pjanić had an easy job in midfield. He played as maestro, but he was practically free. He was delivering passes from side to side, feeding attackers, wingers, everyone on the pitch. Monaco needed time to adapt to surprise of Allegri. Even Lemar was coming inside to cover midfield of Juventus, but in this case Alves was even more free on "his highway" on right flank. When it looked that Monaco succeeded with adapting to Italians tactic, Dani Alves made his run, and let the ball for Higuain, who took advantage of sleepy Bakayoko and scored. Monaco didn't play bad. They created some decent chances, and they could easily score, but it wasn't their best day in the box. Falcao scored from impossible positions in this season, but he didn't succeed to beat Buffon. Despite the age of Mbappe, he was most dangerous man of Monaco. He had some great moves, but his tries were stopped by amazing Gigi as well. Second goal came after another mistake of Bakayoko, who was pressed by Dani Alves in midfield, and right before the end of the action, Alves assisted Gonzalo for second goal of the match. Once again, we cannot say that Monaco played bad. Both goals came after counter attack of Juventus, but their defence was beaten few times, and if Monaco's conversion rate would be on the level as it was on previous matches, they would have scored maybe even twice. In my opinion, Jardim made mistake with Dirar on RB position. Sidibe is much more dangerous on his, right side, and Almamy Toure is highly capable of playing on LB, even though he is right full back as well. Monaco's amazing tactics were crushed because of that, and their full backs weren't as dangerous as we were used to see in previous matches. Dirar is more or less winger and he had a lot of problems with both - Mandžukić and Sandro and as Bernardo Silva was the guy in front of him, physically both Juventus players were in big advantage.

What can we expect today? For me, the biggest question is if Mendy will be prepared to play or not. That would mean that both of them (Sidibe) would be on their positions and with their pace, strength, and ability to move forward both wing backs of Juventus - Alves and Sandro will need to be much more focused on defensive assignments, while on the other hand there will be more space for individual actions of Lemar and especially Bernardo Silva. Monacao succeeded to make Higuain look terrible in start of the match, but they made to many mistakes in positioning and Argetinian took an advantage of that. And now Bakayoko. His goal against Man City brought them to quarter finals, his performances in this season were amazing till first leg against Juventus, and he will need to prove that it was just a bad day for him, because he shown all his weaknesses in this match. He was more or less responsible for both goals of Juventus and if there were clubs, willing to give 50M and more for this player,  now they are in big doubts about it. He has chance to prove his quality and as he was rested in league, I am pretty sure that he will start the match, even if right after first-leg I thought that experienced Moutinho will play in his role on second match. Juventus have everything in hands. I wouldn't be surprised if they will show up with similar lineup, but with much more defensive oriented Alex Sandro and Dani Alves, so their lineup will look more like 5-4-1, maybe even with Cuadrado in front of Dani Alves, as Columbian played great in defensive role against Barcelona. Khedira is coming back as well, so Allegri will have some options more for midfield. Of course Juventus is stronger and especially more experienced squad which knows how to take advantage of a bad moment of opponent, and that's the biggest problem for Monaco. As I said right after the draw for semis, Monaco will face the toughest opponent for them. Both teams for Madrid would be easier matchup for their style. 

What to bet? As you I believe, you are already used to... I won't have any official pick on Champions league. Especially not in this stage of tournament. Odds 1,70 looks pretty solid for Juventus, but I cannot drop the feeling, that Monaco exposed them too many times in the first match, where they weren't on their level. If Jardim will have Mendy back, I am pretty sure that they will cause them even bigger problems and then, even against almighty defence of Juventus, everything can happen. If Mendy will play, I would go with Monaco to score, but odds are simply too low. Looks that bookmakers are afraid of Monaco goal as well. Pinnacle is offering @1,826 for Monaco to score more than 0,75 goals, which means that they need to score twice, that bet is completely won. Is value in opposite site? Maybe, but I wouldn't risk with that.


  1. Value on home team in my opinion. Pinacle closin odds near 1.7. Betgun bookmaker offer 1.76. You can beat this closing odds IMO