Atletico Madrid v Juventus | Wednesday 18th September 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
The real standout tie from Wednesday night takes place in the Spanish capital as Atletico Madrid welcome Italian giants Juventus to the swanky Wanda Metropolitano.
Over the summer Diego Simeone rebuilt some of his squad bringing in the talented Joao Felix for a huge fee to replace the outgoing Antoine Griezmann. Full backs Filipe Luis and Juanfran have both left as has lynchpin centre half Diego Godin. Simeone talked up a slight change in style, away from his strict, compact set-up. That’s being said, Atleti have been largely more of the same.
It’s not really clicked going forward yet. Two 1-0 wins over Getafe and Leganes were to be expected, they then came from behind to beat Eibar quite fortuitously. They were made to pay this weekend though as they were defeated 2-0 in San Sebastián against a Martin Odegaard-inspired Real Sociedad. Los Colcheneros gave up 2.54 Expected Goals (xG) at the Anoeta and that is cause for concern.
With the outgoing defensive trio I do think they can be got at more than usual this season, they may have to rely on keeper Jan Oblak more and more. One player who will relish this tie is old Atleti nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo. His Champions League statistics are mind-boggling and you can tell he saves his best for this competition. I can’t quite believe we can get 23/10 (Betway) on him scoring here.
Sure he’s not quite caught fire in the league yet but I’m banking on him doing the damage in this tournament, he will be eager to add to his five Champions League medals and there’s an eagerness in Turin to bring home Big Ears. Juventus defeated Atleti on aggregate 3-2 despite losing the first leg 2-0, bet you can’t guess who got a hat-trick to win them the tie in the second leg?
CR7 has scored 25 goals in his 33 meetings with Atleti and he can add to that tally by getting at a defence that looks much more vulnerable than it did last season. 23/10 for this competition's best-ever scorer is probably a point bigger than what I expected his price to be, especially considering he will be on penalties.
I’m also keen to delve into the card markets for this game. We can get 11/8 on both sides picking up Over 1.5 Cards using William Hill’s YourOdds feature and that appeals.
Juve have picked up nine yellows in their three Serie A games and this specific bet has landed in all three of their games. Atletico have pick up two or more cards in 3/4 games this season too. With the sides evenly matched, and given the fact cards are much more prevalent in Spain and Italy compared to say England and Germany, then the 11/8 looks superb.
I also can’t resist having a nibble on the 6/1 from SkyBet on England international Kieran Trippier picking up a caution. He was booked at the weekend and will be have Alex Sandro and Ronaldo running at him – 6/1 for a full back looks a great price considering it’s one of the most carded positions on the field and the calibration of player he is up against. There’s 34 players that are shorter than him and 12 of those won’t even start!
Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta | Wednesday 18th September 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
Atalanta are easily one of my favourite sides to watch on the continent. Gian Piero Gasperini has worked wonders since his arrival and his unique 3-4-2-1 formation has been the bane of many opponents in years gone by.
Colombian destroyer Duvan Zapata had an immense campaign in 2018/19, finishing as one of the top scorers. He’s revelled at the top of the pitch and has benefitted from becoming a player who gets chances to attack the ball in the box rather than play facing his own defence.
Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez find the half spaces in between the lines so well and their vision and speed of awareness in those pockets is superb and it has to be. Wing backs Robin Gosens And Hans Hateboer are given license to push forward and get shots and crosses off.
The Bergamo club's last seven Serie A games have seen goals at both ends and a large proportion of their games last season saw goals a plenty. Gasperini’s set up does leave them vulnerable at the back and their current back three fails to inspire confidence and that should give this Dinamo Zagreb side a real boost.
Dani Olmo is the shining light of the Croatian capital club. He cane through the ranks at Barcelona but made an interesting move to Dinamo in order to get first team minutes. His performances last season saw him make the Spain U21’s European Championship squad, Olmo was influential in La Roja taking the title with some important goals and spellbinding displays. I’m surprised he didn’t get a move after that but an extra year at Zagreb will do him well.
Ultimately, I’m always keen to look into goals based markets when Atalanta are involved and the 3/4 (Betway) onBoth Teams To Score looks a worthy punt. There’s a side at home that will see this as a possible must win against a side who always score goals and leak goals too.
Atletico Madrid v Juventus – Cristiano Ronaldo to score at anytime (23/10 Betway)
Atletico Madrid v Juventus – Each team to receive Over 1.5 Cards (11/8 William Hill)
Atletico Madrid v Juventus – Kieran Trippier to be carded (6/1 SkyBet)
Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta – Both Teams To Score (3/4 Betway)