Valencia to park the bus
Tuesday 20.00 sees Valencia at the Allianz in Turin to take on Group H leaders Juventus. It’s obvious that the home team are favourites to claim victory from this one. But Valencia have enough about them to make it an uncomfortable evening.
Valencia will most likely take their focus off the forward line, having tightened up at the back in recent matches. Juventus will eventually break down Valencia’s defence, but it won’t be an absolute goalfest for the Italian giants.
Whether it’s in Serie A or the Champions League, Juventus are a formidable presence at the moment. Domestically they’re already eight points in front of second place Napoli, and despite their last minute defeat against Man United in the last round of the Champions League, they’re still favourites to lift Europe’s top honour in May.
Juventus are renowned for not overrunning their opponents so far this season
Despite their unbeaten record being broken they don’t often concede goals, and more often than not net at least one or two per match. In true Italian footballing tradition, they don’t often do more than is absolute necessary to win the match, allowing them to dominate the match with a steady and even pace.
Juventus have, at times, struggled to break down weaker teams than Valencia in Serie A this season. Their recent 2-0 effort at home to SPAL is an example of how they can struggle to score more goals at times. But don’t doubt for a second that the Old Lady’s star players can conjure up something magic at the drop of a hat, with the likes of Ronaldo, Dybala, Diego Costa et al. on the pitch.
Their strength really lies in their wiley and experienced defence. Four of their last seven matches at home in Serie A have ended with less than 2.5 goals this season.
Can, Bernardeschi and Khedira are all out in midfield.
It’s difficult to judge Valencia’s season so far, but without a doubt you can’t call it a marked success with three wins, eight draws and two losses. It’s true that Valencia don’t lose often, but then they don’t win often either.
Away from home they average around about 0.67 goals a match
It’s simple really, Valencia are both capable of scoring goals, but also of letting them in. Apart from their most recent 3-0 defeat of Rayo Vallecano last weekend, they don’t often make it into high figures. In fact, away from home they average around about 0.67 goals a match. The Vallecano match was the first Valencia match in eight to end with more than 2.5 goals.
Their central line is the key to their defensive strength. With a decent goalkeeper behind the defence in Neto, Paulista, Garay, Coquelin-Parejo form the defensive core.
Don’t doubt that the Spaniards have quality up front as well. Mina, Morena and Batshuayi all do well going forward, but it’s just not quite worked for any of them as of late.
Piccini and Cheryshev and both out injured.
Naturally, Juventus are favourites and man for man are stronger in every position. Having said that, Valencia have pulled themselves together recently and have a strong defence backing them. Valencia coach Marcelino knows how to shut down a match and see it out and Juventus are renowned for not overrunning their opponents so far this season.
I think Valencia can see out this one and we’ll be denied goals. That’s why I’m going for under 2.5 goals for top odds of 11/10 (2.1) with Betfair.