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5 reasons why Barcelona will struggle against Juventus | UEFA Champions League 2020-21

Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League
Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League
Anany Sachar
ANALYST
Modified 28 Oct 2020, 17:41 IST
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Ronald Koeman's Barcelona head to Turin to take on Andrea Pirlo's Juventus in a mouth-watering Champions League group stage clash on Wednesday.

The fixture is the first meeting between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's sides in club competition since the latter left Real Madrid in 2018.

However, the highly anticipated meeting between the two stalwarts has been delayed indefinitely, as Ronaldo tested positive for COVID-19 after the previous international break, and almost certainly won't take part in tonight's fixture.

The Catalan giants have not lost to Juventus in their last four meetings, winning twice and drawing the other two fixtures. However, Barcelona have been in poor form recently and come into this clash having lost their previous two La Liga encounters.

Hence, this certainly makes for a very interesting Group G battle between the two heavyweights.

Juventus come into the match without a host of key names. Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro and Matthijs de Ligt are all unavailable due to injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo will almost certainly not be available too as he has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 again.

Despite this, there's reasons for Barcelona to be concerned while going into this Champions League fixture. These are:


#1 Boardroom unrest:

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Irrespective of what the players or coach might say, the boardroom of any club does affect the performance of the side week in week out. The ramifications of the actions taken behind closed doors are broadcasted to a global audience.

Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board all resigned last night before the motion to proceed with a vote of no confidence that was supposed to happen later today.

Barcelona fans have been clamoring for this since the Neymar transfer saga and talks really intensified when Messi announced his intention to leave the club this summer. Since then, it's been a matter of when, not if, Bartomeu resigns.

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This, despite being a step in the right direction, will definitely be a factor affecting the proceedings tonight. Barcelona may stutter trying to do too much too soon and show the world that their shackles have been lifted.


#2 Alvaro Morata's hot streak:

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Alvaro Morata joined Juventus to replace Gonzalo Higuain and become another attacking option for Andrea Pirlo. While he's no spring chicken, at 28, he's much younger than any of the other strike options the Old Lady have had recently.

Morata may not be the most clinical but he can hurt defences with his positioning and cause a lot of problems to any backline. He's been in a rich vein of form this season, having scored three goals and assisted another in just four matches.

Barcelona will have to keep an eye out for the Spaniard.


#3 Pirlo and Koeman's tactics:

Two of the best players to have ever kicked a football take each other on for the first time as coaches of the teams they became legends with. It's going to be a very fascinating tie for that reason alone, but if you look at this game from a tactical aspect, it becomes even more of a treat.

The way that Ronald Koeman has set his team up so far is encouraging given his use of youth and a more direct approach to tear opposition sides apart, but it also leaves a lot of room for teams to take advantage of when Barcelona switch off.

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The most recent example of this was the 'El Clasico' defeat at Camp Nou, where Real Madrid could have gone on to score at least six goals were it not for the heroics of goal-keeper Neto.

Andrea Pirlo has started to lay the groundwork of what feels like something special at Juventus, with his team looking a lot better than Maurizio Sarri and Massimiliano Allegri's outfits, despite possessing almost the exact same playing squad.

The way the Italian sets his team up is reminiscent of his footballing career and ideologies. Attack beautifully and defend boisterously.

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Published 28 Oct 2020, 17:05 IST
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