The Champions League quarter finals stage promises to be extra-catchy and exciting, packing more action, and thrills. Still you can’t rub out the chances of shocking and painful upsets, like Manchester United’s overturning of a 2-nil home deficit in France against PSG.
While it is hard to pick out any flaws in the front-lines of any of the last eight clubs which have ravaged the defences of opponents, for any of them to win the Champions League, they’d need a formidable and stable defence. So, how well do these three fare against each other in the Champions League this campaign?
Citizens manager Pep Guardiola has succeeded in assembling one of the best defences in European football. City few years back before the Spaniard took the helm were miles off in winning the Champions League. But the case is completely different now. With Nicolas Otamendi and Co. City can hardly stagger, or cave under pressure.
While City keep grinding out impressive results both in England and in the Champions League, their La Liga counterparts have not slowed down either. Ernesto Velverde men, currently chasing a treble this campaign are riding on a good rhythm. Barcelona is firing on all cylinders, especially in the final third.
Their defence leaked too wide in the La Liga, but it has managed to hold together well for them in the Champions League. If City can’t clinch the title, the Blaugrana are tipped to wield it. Third in the odds at +400, Juventus are the best value in the Champions League fixtures ahead of the quarterfinal draw according to Sascha Paruk from SBD. While Man City (+250) and Barcelona (+300) have tested themselves against slightly tougher competition during the year. Juventus is extremely strong at all three levels and, let’s remember, it has Cristiano Ronaldo on its side now. Ronaldo led Real to three straight titles the last three years and reminded everyone how dominant he can be in this competition with a season-saving hat-trick against old nemesis Atletico in the Round of 32.
Bianconeri Juventus may have the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo who been the spark in their attack, but you couldn’t gloss over how neatly Massimiliano Allegri’s side have manage to stifle the efforts of opponents in the Champions League when they are pegged back by flurries of attack. Juventus have mastered the art of bending games in their favour.
Their 4-4-2 tack allows them to play a vertical and horizontal style of pressing to get back the ball through a narrowed midfield swallowing up any gulf of space their opponents have when barrelling towards them. Juventus, Manchester City and Barcelona measure up each other at the middle of the park and in their frontlines. However, only the strength and stability of their defences will determine who goes through to semis.