It is early in Carlo Ancelotti’s reign at Real Madrid but so far he has had difficulty balancing the embarrassment of attacking talent at his disposal with a back line that looks less than fit for purpose of a team looking to compete in both La Liga and Champions League.
Last week’s 7-3 win over Sevilla is a case in point, while Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema made life impossible for their opponents the fact is Sevilla enjoyed an alarming number of chances on the Real goal.
This weekend was similar in that Ronaldo forced Rayo Vallecano defender Anaitz Arbilla to leave the pitch in tears as he was substituted in the 51st minute such was the power of the Portugese’s display but less than two minutes later defenders Pepe and Marcelo put the result back in the mix by giving away two penalties within three minutes of each other.
Despite a rocky start to their Champions League campaign Juventus will thrive on such sloppy defending with Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Paul Pogba and Saturday’s super-sub Fabio Quagliarella all able to punish in front of goal.
The bianconeri have stumbled badly so far in group b with a hard fought loss to Madrid in the Bernabeu last time out following on from uninspiring draws with Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen meaning a loss here could spell the end for one of the teams seen as possible dark horses for the competition.
As ever Andrea Pirlo will be at the heart of everything and the midfield maestro’s substitution changed the pace and tone of the weekend’s 1-0 over Parma.
Midfielder Claudio Marchisio is confident that the visitors lack of defensive mettle will allow the back to back Serie A champions to put pressure on Ancelotti’s side.
“Madrid have plenty of strong players up front who sometimes help out less in defensive areas, thus putting their backline under pressure,” he said.
“We managed to defend well in Spain, enjoy possession and cause them problems. In Turin, we’ll be able to count on the support of our fans, who will provide a red-hot atmosphere at the stadium.”
The game kicks off in Turin at 19:45 GMT