Juventus vs. Celtic: Complete Juventus Preview

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIMarch 4, 2013

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  The Juventus players celebrate in front of their fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Juventus host Celtic Wednesday in the second leg of the last-16 Champions League tie with the Bianconeri leading 3-0 on aggregate.

It is, to a certain extent, a dead rubber, as it will take a miracle for the Bhoys to be able to turn this game around.

It will still provide an opportunity for some of the fringe players to shine at Juventus Stadium—Mauricio Isla, Emanuele Giaccherini and Fabio Quagliarella appear particularly likely to get rare outings.

Paul Pogba will probably be the most interesting player to watch though, as the Frenchman has impressed on many occasions when he has stepped in for one of the midfielders in the elite trio that Antonio Conte has at his disposal in Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Juve will not want to take Celtic likely though, especially as their form at home this year has been rather patchy. It is imperative that they make Juventus Stadium a fortress if they are to advance to the semi-finals or beyond in this competition.

In truth, Celtic are clearly not in Juve's league, so this was a rather tame tie for the Old Lady to tackle in their first Champions League knockout game in several years.

Giorgio Chiellini came through the game with Napoli over the weekend fine, but Conte might be tempted to rest the centre-back and not take any risks with the Champions League becoming the priority in the coming weeks.

Federico Peluso had struggled somewhat in adjusting to life at Juve, having joined from Atalanta in the January transfer window.

Having played at left-back for the majority of his time with La Dea, Peluso is adjusting to his new role and a new formation, so Wednesday's game will provide a good opportunity to further establish himself at this great club.

Nicolas Anelka and Martin Caceres continue to train apart, joining the long-term casualties of Simone Pepe, Nicklas Bendtner and Paolo De Ceglie.

Conte is aware of the risk of using Stephan Lichtsteiner, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal against Celtic, as each is one yellow card away from a suspension in the Champions League.

I fully expect the Old Lady to sweep aside Celtic again in the second leg, claiming a victory on aggregate by at least five goals.

The way that Juve keep the ball and constantly recycle their attacks when the ball breaks down, particularly at home, will eventually wear the Bhoys down and create large spaces that Juve tend to exploit against better sides in Serie A.


Probable Lineup: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Peluso; Mauricio Isla, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Emanuele GIaccherini, Kwadwo Asamoah; Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella.