The Champions League semi-finals are upon us and although Real Madrid hosting city neighbours Atletico will be more for the purist, the one for the punter will be Wednesday night’s clash between Monaco and Juventus.
Monaco have been utterly thrilling in this year’s tournament while Juventus, with typical Italian obduracy, have ground down their opponents. To call it a clash of cultures is an understatement.
The French principality will want to be gung-ho and attack with abandon. Juventus will look to sit in and keep things so tight that they squeeze the life out of the match.
Monaco are 3.1 with Unibet, Juventus are 2.5 with Bet365 and Betfred while the draw is the biggest of the lot at 3.5 (Betway).
It would be relatively easy to reckon Monaco are the value here. After all, they score goals for fun - an extraordinary 146 in all competitions this season and they haven’t failed to score at home all term. But it would also be extremely foolish.
There is no way that the Old Lady will allow the Young Upstarts to play their natural game. Borussia Dortmund, their pragmatic German breeding letting them down, and Manchester City both decided to trade blows with Monaco and came off worse.
Juventus will have a gameplan sorted to stifle Monaco and it is in their breeding that they could probably keep them quiet with their eyes shut. Let’s not forget that this Juve side beat Barcelona 3-0 and then, perhaps the greatest feat of all, they shut out Barca at the Camp Nou in a 0-0.
There is a counter argument to a staid stalemate, however. What if Juve reckon that this could be their best chance of a win? And what if Monaco recognise that their best chance of a win could come in Turin? Could roles be reversed? After all, Monaco want Juve to come at them more and that will certainly happen with Juventus at home.
Possibly. But Juve are probably too smart for that. They have been there, done that and kicked lumps and bumps into their opponent. They wouldn’t fall for the oldest trick in the book. They may well be negative at times and reckon that the return leg will be the best opportunity to be more free.
We will wager on the two correct scores above as we are feeling confident. Why take such a short price on the draw? It’s hardly going to be 2-2 or 3-3 is it? Juve would never allow that.