NEWS
Friday April 21 2017
CL draw: Strengths and weaknesses

This morning, Juventus will find out their opponents for the semi-finals of the Champions League, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Bianconeri secured a 0-0 draw at Barcelona on Wednesday night for a 3-0 aggregate victory, and are now just two games away from Cardiff.

Standing in their way though are three of Europe’s top sides. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the Old Lady’s potential opponents.

Real Madrid

Strengths: Los Merengues are the ultimate Champions League team, having lifted the trophy 11 times in their history. As the holders, Zinedine Zidane’s squad have the experience to go all the way, and Cristiano Ronaldo is hitting form at just the right time, with five goals in the two Bayern Munich games.

Add to that the quick, incisive play shown against Napoli in the Last 16 and Real Madrid would represent a fearsome opponent for Juventus.

Weaknesses:  The last two times the two sides met in the Champions League final, it was the Old Lady who progressed.

In 2003, goals from David Trezeguet, Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedved overturned a 2-1 defeat in Madrid, while 2015 saw a 2-1 win in Turin and a draw at the Bernabeu. Juve have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Los Merengues.

In addition, no side has yet managed to retain the Champions League since it replaced the European Cup in 1992.

Monaco

Strengths: Quite simply, attack. Leandro Jardim’s side have smashed in 90 goals in their 32 Ligue 1 games so far, as well as 28 goals in the Champions League; having come through two qualification rounds.

Kylian Mbappé has become one of Europe’s hottest properties with 22 goals this term, and the 18-year-old will surely move for big money when he leaves Stade Louis II.

Radamel Falcao has been revived this season after struggling at Manchester United and Chelsea, and even the Bianconeri’s famously stingy defence won’t relish facing Monaco.

Weaknesses: At the other end of the pitch, the Monegasques aren’t quite so imposing. Their last five Champions League games have seen the men from the principality ship 12 goals. If Juve could limit Monaco in attack, they’d be confident of hurting them at the other end of the park.

Atletico Madrid

Strengths: Other than the Bianconeri, Atleti are the strongest defensive unit left in the competition.

Diego Simeone’s men have reached the final twice in recent seasons, building their success on a well-organised backline and counter-attacking strength. Antoine Griezmann has become one of the best forward players in the world, and Los Colchoneros have quality all over the pitch.

A tie against Simeone’s side would be a chess match, and the Argentine got the better of Max Allegri in the 2014-15 season, with a 1-0 win in Spain and a 0-0 draw back in Madrid.

The Italian champions have shown they can beat attacking, possession-based teams, can they beat someone with similar defensive rigour?

Weaknesses: These two sides are not the same as two years ago. While Juve appear to have grown, particularly in attack, Atleti may have regressed ever so slightly.

City rivals Real Madrid are 10 points clear of them with a game in hand, and Leicester City were perhaps not the best test of strength in the previous round, with all due respect.

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