Cristiano Ronaldo will make his hotly anticipated debut for the Bianconeri this Saturday, the Italian champions travelling to Chievo to take on a side who relish their role as Serie A’s giant killers. Since reaching Italy’s top flight for the first time in 2001, the Veronese side have made a habit of knocking off the peninsula’s biggest clubs, routinely causing upsets for top football bookmakers with their notoriously stubborn approach.
Known as “the flying donkeys” when they first came to prominence, Chievo are no longer the cavalier upstarts, instead playing a gritty, determined style that makes them tough to watch and even more difficult to play against. Juventus will need to be at their very best to overcome such a foe, although they will undoubtedly have a fired up CR7 to rely on, the new signing surely ready to make an impact in his first competitive outing for the club as Pavel Nedved fully expects him to.
“Juventus’ step forward among the big clubs in Europe has been confirmed further,” the Bianconeri Vice President told JTV last week. “That we managed to bring Ronaldo to Juventus is something exceptional. It’ll give us a bit more for the future, as well as for all of Italian football. Our objectives never change. What counts for us is to win every game, we want to show it from the match against Chievo.”
Both teams will be looking to get the new season underway with a win, but the chances of the home side grabbing a shock victory look decidedly slim. The Bianconeri have taken all three points in each of their last six away games against Chievo, and 11 of the last 12 meetings with them overall.
Furthermore, Juve have kept clean sheets in six of their last eight clashes with the Veronese side, making another win the most obvious outcome. Backing them to do so understandably comes at very short odds, with Ladbrokes offering a best price of 13/50 on Max Allegri’s men continuing that excellent recent record.
Those aforementioned clean sheets perhaps underline the best way to find value in a game that is likely to be this one sided, with Juve’s defence expected to once again excel against a side who struggled for goals last term.
Unsurprisingly, the Bianconeri backline was the best in Serie A during 2017/18, conceding just 24 times in their 38 matches. With Leonardo Bonucci back in the squad and Joao Cancelo joining from Valencia, that kind of form is likely to continue with Chievo – who scored just 36 goals in total last season – unlikely to cause problems.
Indeed, Chievo’s problems in attack are likely to be even more intense after leading scorer Roberto Inglese’s loan deal ended. He bagged 12 of the club’s entire haul before returning to Napoli, that 33% mark showing just how reliant the team was on the goals of a player who will now be playing for newly promoted Parma. As a result, backing Juve to win while holding Chievo scoreless is available at 4/5 with Bet365.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo is almost a guarantee of goals, with Karamba offering odds of 39/20 on CR7 to score first, or 20/41 on him to find the back of the net at any time, something that he is almost certain to do given the poor quality of opposition.
However, there is one area where the Portuguese star might bring something helpful to those looking for value in this clash. Last season, Juve scored nine times in the opening 15 minutes of matches (the third highest tally in Serie A) while also netting 18 times in the last quarter-of-an-hour (the second best rate in the league).
Ronaldo will help them deliver those crucial late blows too, scoring no less than nine of his 26 La Liga goals last term in the final 15 minutes of games which is an excellent and decisive return. Adding those two factors together, Juve’s love of early goals and late strikes makes the “win both halves” market an excellent option at 6/4 with Bet365.
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