Serie A giants Juventus square off with Premier League hot-shots Tottenham for the first time ever in a European competition as both sides look to extend their fine forms of late.
The Italian heavyweights Juventus are heading into their Last 16 two-legged tie against Tottenham in full force. Bianconeri notched ten consecutive wins in all competitions, conceding only one goal during that time and it’s fair to say their form has been nothing short of impressive.
Sitting one point behind Serie A leaders Napoli, Juventus are preparing for a slight shift of focus as they look to extend their unbeaten UEFA record at Allianz Stadium. Juventus finished second in Group D behind Barcelona with 11 points next to their name following a double over Olympiacos, four points from duels vs Sporting CP and a goalless stalemate at Barcelona, but their home stats are pure perfection with straight 26 games won across almost five years. Massimiliano Allegri has demonstrated his tactical wit this season which allowed his men to make most of their goalscoring abilities with Higuain and Mandzukic scoring two goals apiece in the group stage of the competition, whereas Pjanic, Cuadrado and Bernandeschi all made their contribution as well.
Hosts will have to do without Cuadrado and Dybala which can be a blow for Juventus, whereas Andrea Barzagli, Benedict Howedes and Blaise Matuidi are also unlikely to feature due to their respective injury problems.
North London Derby Boost
Tottenham have been described as Premier League’s chronic underachievers but their 1-0 win in the North London Derby this weekend has perhaps installed Pochettino’s men as England’s next best thing to Manchester City at the moment.
Spurs have a tough stretch of games behind them over the past couple of weeks. Having beaten Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley, Pochettino’s men did well to stifle Liverpool with a debatable 2-2 draw before seeing off fierce rivals Arsenal last time out thanks to their most in-form player Harry Kane. England international striker continued his formidable form this season. After sealing his 100th-goal mark for Tottenham, Kane is currently on a 23-goal tally in the Premier League – with eight goals from last seven games he played. Kane will now face one of the best defense lines in Europe which allowed only one goal in last 16 matches and will have a huge challenge to complete if he is to continue his scoring spree.
Mauricio Pochettino will have a full crop to choose from bar the defender Toby Alderweireld who will not travel to Turin despite returning from a three-month layout due to a hamstring injury.
Juventus have to be considered clear-cut favourites for the upcoming clash in Turin. Bianconeri won their last ten matches in all competitions while maintaining an impeccable defensive record and will be out to silence the in-form Harry Kane to make sure not to concede in their 17th match on the trot.
Top pick: Juventus 2.00 (1/1) Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Juventus to win to Nil 3.20 (11/5) @Unibet
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – No 1.88 (7/8) @888sport