The surprise package of The Champions League this season travel to Turin with a big task on their hands after a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam. But that win at The Bernaubeu shows they’re more than capable of causing an upset.
A home fortress
The Old Lady have suffered just one home defeat in all competitions this season and that came way back in November. They’ve hit 35 goals in 16 league games on home soil and have maintained a sturdy defence too, with only Inter Milan suffering less goals in front of their own fans than Juventus. They have also managed to maintain a 50% clean sheet record throughout the Serie A this season. The rock solid partnership of Chiellini and Bonucci is arguably the best in the world and behind them former Arsenal man Wojciech Szczesny has been superb and looked a completely different player to the one we saw make some horror mistakes for The Gunners. Throw two quality fullbacks in to the mix in the form of Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo and you’ve got a superb defensive unit with both fullbacks extremely capable of going forward too.
The Bianconeri are the favourites for the tie at 1.62 to win in 90 minutes and 1.3 to qualify for the next round.
Eye catching Ajax
It’s been an exceptional season so far for Ajax. At times they’ve fallen off the pace in The Eredivisie and looked as if they were going to fall behind PSV. But now they are top of the table, level on points with their arch rivals. They’ve scored a ludicrous 106 goals in the league this season and we’ve seen their goal scoring threat displayed on the European stage as well. They hit three against Bayern and of course four away at Real Madrid.
Their young and talented squad is packed with players who are tipped to go right to the very top. Frenkie De Jong has already sealed a move to Barcelona and if rumours are to be believed then centre half Mathijs De Ligt will follow suit. David Neres was superb in Madrid, as was Hakim Ziyech but it was one man in particular who stole the show. Former Southampton playmaker: Dusan Tadic. The Serbian midfielder has scored 22 goals and set 11 up this season and he’s the second shortest odds of an Ajax player to score; he’s 4.0 anytime.
Regardless of the standard of their domestic league, you cannot write of a team who have been as destructive as Ajax have this season, even against a side as solid as Juventus. Giorgio Chiellini may be out of this match which will boost some confidence in the ranks of the Dutch side. I think a price of 1.5 for the visitors to score at least one goal is excellent value.
This could go the distance
Many will be writing Ajax off in the belief that their performance in the last round was somewhat of an anomaly but this side has been superb all season and have consistently rose to the challenge that their European opponents have posed. Ajax know they have to score after the first leg finished 1-1 and Juventus will be very wary of the threat they pose. I could see this panning out similarly to the first leg. Both teams to score could prove a good selection at 1.8.
If this does go the distance you can back some longer odds for a side to take it either in extra time or on penalties. Either side to win in extra time is out at 11.0 with either side on penalties at 15.0. I fancy Juventus to have that little bit extra in the tank for this. They’re ay 15.0 to win in extra time and 26.0 to win on penalties.
Juventus to qualify @ 1.3
Both teams to score @ 1.8
Cristiano Ronaldo to score anytime @ 1.73
Ajax over 0.5 goals @ 1.5