Atletico Madrid Preview
Diego Simeone’s team have begun the new La Liga campaign on a positive note. However, the team did suffer a loss against Real Sociedad recently. There are a couple of injury concerns for the Spaniard’s with goalkeeper Jan Oblak picking up a head injury. Alvaro Morata and Thomas Partey are also giving trouble for Simeone with their knee and hamstring injuries respectively. Yet, these are unlikely to be major concerns for the capital outfit, who have been very resolute in past Champions League games.
Atletico are expected to line up in the same 4-4-2 formation that has been so successful for the team. After having picked up several positive results at home in the Champions League, Simeone will want to see his team make the most of this home game and get an early advantage in the group. Atletico have a tough group with Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow providing strong challenges aside from Juventus.
Atletico have not suffered a home defeat in the Champions League since 2017 September and this formidable record will give the players a great deal of confidence.
Juventus are coming up against a difficult match in the form of a trip to the Wanda Metropolitano where they take on Atletico Madrid. This Champions League encounter comes on the back of a draw with Fiorentina and it is the first time Maurizio Sarri’s men have dropped points in the 19/20 Italian Serie A campaign.
Sarri also has to contend with a number of injury problems ahead of the game. Douglas Costa is the biggest casualty from the game against Fiorentina, as he suffered a thigh injury in the game and had to be replaced very early in the game. The Brazilian is set to be out for at least two weeks. The importance of Costa in this early part of the campaign cannot be underestimated. He has already come up with two assists for the Italian manager, who is a big fan of his direct running and pace. These attributes would have been especially useful to complement Cristiano Ronaldo when counter-attacking against Atletico Madrid.
Juventus are expected to play on the counter considering that Atletico’s high-pressing game leaves a lot of spaces at the back.
In addition to Costa, Miralem Pjanic is also a doubt for the match. Even though the midfielder maestro has been included in the squad, a final decision will be taken by the manager. Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can have not been included in the squad for the Champions League, while Mattia De Sciglio and Giorgio Chiellini are out with long-term injuries. Even though these injuries and absentees limit the options for the Sarri, he still has a comprehensive line-up of players at his disposal.
Juventus have suffered at the hands of Atletico in recent away games. Even last season, the team fell to a 2-0 defeat in the knockout stages. Maurizio Sarri’s approach may be different, but it may not help overcome a stubborn opponent. The best Juventus can expect out of this game is a draw.