Juventus host Villarreal at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Champions League’s last 16 ties sit precariously balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Spain. The Old Lady come into this match on a superb unbeaten start to 2022 in Serie A and are back in the title race. Villarreal won last season’s Europa League and coach Unai Emery will want to prove he can do well in the Champions League.
Juve are yet to lose in 2022 in the league and have lost just once in 21 matches in all competitions. The Old Lady won all three of their home group matches in the Champions League and are ten unbeaten (W8, D2) in all competitions at home.
Their last six in all competitions have brought four wins and two draws. Juve scored first in all of those matches with just one first-half goal conceded. Since the 1-1 draw in the first leg, Juventus won 3-2 at Empoli before winning 1-0 at Fiorentina. A 1-0 home win against Spezia preceded a 3-1 win at Sampdoria over the weekend.
Juventus Team News
Max Allegri has a host of injuries to contend with. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are both missing at the back. Denis Zakaria and Weston McKennie are absent in midfield and so are both Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala in the attack.
Dusan Vlahovic was rested over the weekend and will return to partner Alvaro Morata. Arthur is set to play in central midfield in place of Zakaria. Daniele Rugani will partner Matthijs de Ligt at centre back.
Juve will play to win this match in a 4-4-2 shape. They have been good at scoring first in matches but not great at killing off affairs due to Allegri’s relatively conservative approach.
Moise Kean may be the only forward on the bench to change this match if drawing or trailing in the second half. Juve could therefore be quite conservative to ensure they don’t fall behind.
The Yellow Submarine have lost just once in their last eight matches in all competitions. They went into the first leg on a run of three wins and one draw (a credible 0-0 home draw with Real Madrid) in four matches in La Liga. They just about deserved their draw in the first leg as they produced 1.1 xG to just 0.4 xG for Juventus.
They followed up that 1-1 draw by thrashing Espanyol 5-1 at home as Yeremy Pino scored four goals. A shock 1-0 loss at Osasuna followed but they bounced back to beat Celta Vigo 1-0 in their last match. Dani Parejo got the winner in the 64th minute.
Villarreal Team News
Unai Emery will be without striker Paco Alcacer and left-sided utility man Alberto Moreno. Top striker Gerard Moreno has been missing for a few weeks but could return to the bench for this one. Etienne Capoue and Juan Foyth are also doubts but should be fit.
Raul Albiol has been playing through a groin injury at center back. He is expected to start this match alongside Pau Torres by playing on painkillers. Yeremy Pino will hope to start after his recent four-goal haul against Espanyol but Samuel Chukwueze could be preferred once again.
Emery will be desperate to do well in the Champions League amid doubts that the Europa League is his ceiling.
Villarreal have been very strong in big matches this season, holding Real Madrid and Chelsea to draws in regulation time. They could give Juve plenty of the ball and use Danjuma and Chukwueze to lead counterattacks.
Juventus are unbeaten in 12 matches in all comps (W8, D4)
Juve have lost just 1 of their last 8 CL matches
Juve have won their last 6 home CL matches
Villarreal have 3 of their last 5 away matches
Villarreal have won their last 2 away CL matches
This looks sure to be a tight match. Juventus are favourites but Villarreal are capable of an upset in the big matches with how organised Emery gets his sides. This one may require extra time.
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