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The reunion of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo inevitably attracted headlines, but neither man has been able to carry their respective teams domestically so far in the new campaign as both clubs have made faltering starts.
Juventus are down in fifth in Serie A as they’ve been held to stalemates in three of five matches so far, while Barcelona’s El Clasico defeat this weekend has left them with just seven points from five outings.
The Champions League has proven more fruitful with both taking victories on matchday one, so early group dominance is up for grabs here.
Barcelona’s home record in Europe has been sensational over the past decade, but away fixtures have often proven problematic and in fact they’re just W10-D9-L6 over the past four seasons.
However, it should be noted that only one of the defeats came in the group stages, where they were level at the break in 11 of 15 trips as they took a while to get going.
First Half Draw
Juventus have drawn the first half in 11 of 18 home group stage matches since 2014/15. Given neither side will likely to want to open up too much against their main group rivals, especially with the criticism and pressure a defeat would bring after their domestic starts this term, caution should prevail here and culminate in another first half stalemate.
Indeed, across all competitions that’s been the case in each of Juventus’ last three appearances, as well as three of Barcelona’s past four.
Although Barcelona are clearly a team in transition at the moment, they’ve still suffered just two defeats from 21 matches Champions League matches home or away over the past two seasons.
Even if those were heavy losses to Liverpool (4-0) and Bayern (8-2), we’d wouldn’t be at all comfortable backing the home win given Juve’s current form.
Andrea Pirlo is yet to name the same system twice in a row this season and with Ronaldo back in the fold after contracting coronavirus, subject to a test 24 hours before the match, the chopping and changing will take place once again.
The Portuguese superstar has missed recent clashes with Crotone, Dynamo Kiev and Verona, as they drew the domestic encounters in his absence, but he built a good on-field relationship with Paulo Dybala last term and together with Alvaro Morata should form a front three.
Juventus haven’t had a good time of things when facing either Spanish giants Barcelona or Real Madrid in recent times. They’re a poor W3-D4-L5 since 2013/14, including defeats by three-goal margins in three of the last five such matches.
However, they’re yet to face one of those giants since purchasing Ronaldo, while Barca have suffered a decline, so they may well put up a better fight this time around.
The visitors are also hampered by the absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho, but at the prices we’d steer clear of the match outcome over 90 minutes.
JUVENTUS V BARCELONA ODDS AVAILABLE HERE
ODDS ARE CORRECT AS OF 27/10/2020 HOWEVER ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS