Monaco and Juventus will play second fiddle to the Madrid derby in terms of UEFA Champions League media coverage but Wednesday’s semi-final first leg between the French Ligue 1 leader and the Italian Serie A frontrunner throws up the most interesting punting proposition on the program.
Monaco has scored in 33 of its French Ligue 1 games and it is on the brink of winning its domestic competition after Paris Saint-Germain lost 1-3 at Nice on Sunday – the Red and Whites are three points clear of PSG with a match in hand and a vastly superior goal difference as well. Monaco has found the back of the net in 13 of its 14 UEFA Champions League games, the exception being its 0-3 Group E loss at Leverkusen in what was a dead rubber for the Red and Whites because they were assured of top spot going into the match.
Juventus, which is in an even stronger position domestically than Monaco, has scored in 33 of its 34 Italian Serie A games. Juventus has kept a clean sheet in more than half of its 34 Italian Serie A matches but the Old Lady have been relatively poor on their travels, going 1-2-3 against the fellow top-eight sides that they have visited, shutting out only Lazio of those opponents. Juventus has scored in eight of its 10 UEFA Champions League games and, while they have kept eight clean sheets in those matches, they have lined up in just two ties in which away goals are critical and they led Barcelona 3-0 after the home first leg of one of them.
Both teams have scored in 11 of Monaco’s matches that it has played to reach the UEFA Champions League last four and one thinks that odds of -135 are too big about neither the Red and Whites nor Juventus keeping a clean sheet at the Stade Louis II. Monaco’s attacking data is the talk of European football, while away goals are so important in UEFA Champions League ties that one expects Juventus to test out the defence of its positive host.
Such is Monaco’s firepower – it scored two goals away to both Villarreal and Tottenham and went one better in the backyards of both Manchester City and Dortmund – that one thinks that 0-0 would a dangerous result for Juventus to target. A more open game than some bookmakers are tipping is what one expects to unfold and odds of -135 about both teams rustling the onion bag stands out as being a value price.
The other UEFA Champions League semi-final pits Real Madrid versus Atletico Madrid and, rather than pick something that relies purely on Tuesday’s first leg at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu, one is going to select the Meringues to progress to the final at odds of -159 with 188Bet. One’s reasons for favouring Real over Atletico over two legs include the former’s scoring statistics and the latter’s disappointing Spanish Primera Division results against decent sides.
Real Madrid has scored in each of its last 58 games across all competitions since drawing 0-0 at Manchester City in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg. Atletico Madrid’s defence is good but one would have to fancy Real to score in both UEFA Champions League semi-final legs and, as one remarked a few paragraphs ago, away goals are priceless in ties. And then there is Atletico’s 2-3-6 Spanish Primera Division record in its 11 matches versus Barcelona, Real, Sevilla, Villarreal, Athletic and Sociedad, which includes a 0-3 home loss and 1-1 away draw with Real.
Monaco v Juventus – Both teams to score
Wednesday 3rd May, 19:45 GMT
Real Madrid to qualify for the final
1st Leg – Tuesday 2nd May, 19:45 GMT