Villarreal will be a tougher test for Juventus than Torino was
Juventus know this, of course, and surely are as disappointed by the recent results as anyone. The players, the coaches – everyone knows that better must be done. And so the next chance to do better for the Old Lady comes in Spain against Villarreal in the Champions League round of 16 first leg.
Villarreal are no slouches to be sure. Coached as they are by Unai Emery, they are creative offensively and can defend as well. While in La Liga they are four points outside of an automatic Champions League berth next year, they are still in contention for the title this season and will be a difficult out for Juventus.
Yet Max Allegri and Juve are quite capable of dispensing of the Spanish side. Should they only perform up to the level that has come to be expected by supporters and pundits alike for so many years, this team will move onto the next round of this tournament. Should they fail, it will be a disappointing showing for the Italian giants in the UCL once again.
Villarreal And Juventus: A Tactical Battle With Unai And Max
The likes of Arnaut Danjuma, Giovani Lo Celso and Samuel Chukwueze will be issues for Allegri and the defence, but Villarreal will have problems of their own. Dusan Vlahovic will play a massive role in the outcome of this two-legged tie, as will others, including Paulo Dybala when he returns from injury for the reverse fixture.
Depending on who plays it could be Arthur Melo, Manuel Locatelli, Denis Zakaria or Westen McKennie that makes the match-changing impact – or it could be still another name and face. That is the brilliant part of football, that you can prognosticate and predict, analyse and discuss, but then life happens and we are held captive to its whim.
The 4-4-2 of the Yellow Submarine will have to deal with the 4-3-3 of Juventus (although Allegri may adopt a 4-4-2 of his own), and each team will have to adjust to what the other does well and wishes to do even better. The Bianconeri do have the advantage of getting their home match as the second leg of the affair, but the advantage is less should they blow it in the first leg.
My personal prediction is that the first leg ends 3-2 in favour of the away side and that there is a bit of an advantage when the two teams face one another for the second time.
Juventus Need To Build Momentum Somewhere
With the recent draws to both Atalanta as well as most recently against Torino in the Derby della Mole, the Old Lady has to get back on track, and this UCL match is a great place to start. More winnable matches against the likes of Empoli, Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia, Spezia and Sampdoria will follow this result regardless, and so it will be better to have defeated a higher-end opponent before entering numerous trap games in a row.
By the time that Juventus face Villarreal back in Turin in the middle of March, the domestic circumstances could be very different for both teams. The way forward for each club in a positive manner lies with a lead in the first leg of this tie, but nothing can be guaranteed even with all of that. All a team can do is put themselves in a good position to be successful in each match, and scoring goals and winning remains the best way to accomplish as much.