WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) kept up his good Champions League form last midweek. He heads straight back to Portugal here to preview Juventus’ trip to Porto.
Porto v Juventus | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport 3
Massimiliano Allegri takes his in-form Juventus side to Portugal for a fixture they haven’t played since the 2001/02 Champions League group-stage. Juve have won seven on the bounce in all competitions and have extended their lead over Roma to seven points in Serie A.
The losses of Paul Pogba, Alvaro Morata, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal over the last two years were supposed to hurt the Old Lady but this season’s acquisitions of Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuaín from their divisional rivals have plugged the whole nicely.
Old Lady, New Tricks
Juve had a relatively easy Champions League group this season and that was reflected in their unbeaten record of W4-D2-L0. The two draws came at home to Sevilla and Lyon but interestingly they are the only draws that the Bianconeri recorded in 34 competitive matches this season.
As for Porto, their home form saw them through as Group G runners-up to Leicester. Former Valencia boss Nuno Espirito Santo, now at the helm of Estadio do Dragao, has his side bang in form for this tie.
The Blue and Whites have won six consecutive Primeira Liga matches and bridged the gap to just one point behind Benfica.
Porto’s last home Champions League match was the 5-0 humiliation of Leicester. The Foxes, although slightly understrength, could have no complaints with the final score after failing to muster a single shot on-target and surrendering 64% of possession to the hosts.
New Look Porto
Since the turn of the millennium, Porto have hosted 62 games in Europe’s premier cup competition. Their record from those matches reads W32-D19-L11. It’s a supreme record that surpasses even Sporting Lisbon’s that I highlighted last week.
What interests me the most is the fact that they’ve only conceded two or more goals in seven of those games. The likes of Bayern, Chelsea, Atletico, Arsenal, PSG, Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus themselves all limited to a goal or less during that period.
It’s safe to say the current defence of Ivan Marcano, Alex Telles, Felipe and Maxi Pereira leaves a little to be desired with only the latter holding much experience at this level but it’s served them well so far.
Only Atletico Madrid and FC Copenhagen conceded fewer than the three they shipped in the groups and their 11 conceded in 22 league games is the best in Portugal.
The Time Is Now
Consequently, I’m having a wager on Juventus to score Under 1.5 Goals at 1/2 with Coral but it’s too short to tip as my main bet here.
The other key factor to take into consideration is the absence of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, three stalwarts of the Old Lady’s defence.
Andre Silva, Yacine Brahimi, Hector Herrera, Diogo Jota and Andre Andre offer plenty going forward and have me thinking that Porto will cause Juventus problems without two of their main men.
I fancy Nuno’s side to avoid defeat but I’m sticking my neck out rather than backing them at 5/7 on +0.5. If Porto want to progress from this tie they need to take a lead to Turin. Therefore, I’ll back Porto +0.0 on the Asian Handicap line at 6/4 with PaddyPower.
Porto vs Juventus – FC Porto +0.0 Asian Handicap (6/4 PaddyPower)