This Champions League quarterfinal tie comes in with only a very slim margin in place from the first leg. Juventus hold a 1-0 lead over AS Monaco as the tie heads to France, setting up a potentially thrilling deciding match.
The styles and contrasts of the teams put together by Massimiliano Allegri and Leonardo Jardim pair up well and make for some exciting football, especially in a match that's do-or-die for both sides. Juventus can't afford to sit on their laurels with such a narrow lead, and Monaco will have to come out of their defensive shell to have a chance to win. The chance for chaos and madness in this match is high, and that's always a good thing for the people watching.
Monaco are quite quite healthy at the moment, with only long-term injury absence Lacina Traore guarantees out. Tiemoue Bakayoko is still a doubt, though, as his thigh injury is still nagging at him. His skill in midfield would be a useful option, but Monaco have the depth there to muddle on without him.
Juve are much worse off injury-wise, with Paul Pogba still out and Arturo Vidal not at 100% after a bout of tonsillitis. Several other players, including Martin Caceres and Luca Marrone, are also out with various injuries, but those are rotational options who likely wouldn't have played a significant role in this match, if any at all.
Projected lineups (left to right)
AS Monaco (4-3-3): Danijel Subašić; Layvin Kurzawa, Andrea Raggi, Aymen Abdennour, Fabinho; João Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Geoffrey Kondogbia; Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Dimitar Berbatov, Nabil Dirar
Juventus (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli; Patrice Evra, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Stephan Lichtsteiner; Alvaro Morata, Carlos Tévez
The midfield battle - The struggle for midfield supremacy is always key in any match, but these are two very good and sometimes underrated midfields. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Andrea Pirlo, João Moutinho, Arturo Vidal, all are excellent players who can have a profound impact on a match, and this match will be won or lost based on who can gain the upper hand here.
Dimitar Berbatov vs. his head - Berbatov is in the twilight of his career, but with his talent and skillset, he can still have an incredible impact on a match. Monaco's best chance of pulling off an upset lies on Berba pulling off some of his trademark silky smooth magic, but if he's not "in the mood," as it were, it's going to be much harder for them to win.
Juventus' back line vs. their focus - It doesn't happen often, but every once awhile, Juventus' back line has a match that can be best described as a collective brain shutdown. It seems to happen at random, so it's impossible to say whether or not it will happen in this match, but if it does -- we could be in for a wild ride.
Monaco have the home field advantage, but Juventus hold the edge in talent and big-game experience, so this feels fated to end as a 3-2 Juventus win.