Juventus have enjoyed a good start to their domestic campaign, winning their first four Serie A encounters of 2018/19 with relative ease. Yes, Chievo, Parma and Sassuolo made the Bianconeri work hard for three of those victories, but ultimately the quality within Max Allegri’s squad shone through and the Coach will be hoping that continues when his side visit Valencia on Wednesday evening.
The Champions League is the one competition both the Juve boss and his players have failed to win during his first four seasons at the helm, and it was that shortcoming which ultimately led to this summer’s capture of Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps with the former Real Madrid star having bagged his first goals for the club, a return to Spain and the sound of the tournament’s famous anthem will be just the spark he needs to get into a real groove.
Their opponents have endured a difficult start to the new term and were winless in their first four La Liga matches, but Cesare Prandelli believes the Iberian side might well cause problems for the Old Lady. “The Mestalla is always a bear pit, a stadium where the fans make themselves heard,” Prandelli – who coached Valencia last season and is a former Juve player told the Corriere di Torino newspaper. “A very difficult test awaits Juventus, and not just because of the atmosphere.
“I think Valencia, at home, are the most dangerous opponent in the Bianconeri’s group, including Manchester United,” Prandelli added and he is right to urge caution given that Wednesday’s opponents have already recorded a notable draw against heavily favoured Atletico Madrid this season.
Interestingly, these two teams have never met, but with Valencia struggling to hit their stride so far this term and the Bianconeri looking as solid as ever, it is difficult to see past the Italian side here. That feeling is compounded when noting that Juve have won each of their last three away games in the Champions League, as well as the fact that their opponents have largely struggled against Italian sides in the past.
They eliminated Genoa from the Europa League back in 2009 and Inter from the Champions League two years earlier, but before that, Roma, Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter have all registered positive results against them.
Meanwhile, while Real Madrid have eliminated Juve from Europe in each of the past two seasons, Allegri has done very well versus Spanish opposition, notching wins over Barcelona, Sevilla and Real Madrid over the past three years.
With all that in mind, it is likely that Juve – boasting a fine previous record and unquestionable pedigree at this level – are the most likely winners, with Matchbook offering a best price of 97/100 on the away side notching a victory here.
As was mentioned previously, Valencia have yet to win in domestic action and they have also struggled in front of goal. Matches against Atletico Madrid, Espanyol, Levante and Real Betis have seen them net just two goals, while there have also been under 2.5 goals scored in Valencia's last three Champions League games.
Juve have a better European record, their last four Champions League games going over the 2.5 goal threshold, but this term has seen them fail to match that prolific rate quite yet. After scoring three times against Chievo in the opening game, they netted just twice against each of their following three opponents.
With the Bianconeri backline notoriously strong, it makes sense to look at the final scoreline and expect it to be low, making under 2.5 goals odds of 6/7 available with Ladbrokes a very intriguing option for this match.
With the vigour that he celebrated his first Juventus goal on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly received to have ended his three-game drought. It pushed him to score a very well-taken second, and puts him in exactly the kind of form every opponent dreads when they know they have to face the Portuguese star.
It is well worth noting that CR7 has enjoyed matches against Valencia, his tally of 15 career goals against them meaning he has only scored more against six other clubs. That he has done so in just 17 appearances and added four assists along the way only serves to underscore just how well he has played vs Los Che, and it is not difficult to see him doing so once again.
As such, it is worth considering him as a first goal scorer option, with Bet365 offering odds of 11/4 that he will do just that, while 888Sport offer best price odds of 19/17 that Ronaldo scores at anytime on Wednesday night.
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