UEFA Champions League Final: Barcelona- Juventus
It seems a little pointless to overly discuss this match, as we all know the two teams so well, as do the oddsmakers. Both are worthy finalists and are probably the two best teams in Europe and if you took Lionel Messi out of the equation, there would not be too much between them, but the still only 27 yo, who seems to have been around for ever, might not even be at his peak yet and has looked at his very best this season, actually getting better on a month by month basis and we will be able to tell our grandchildren that we saw him play !
Messi has 58 goals from 56 starts this season and 30+ assists, in a team where he is "sharing" the goals with Neymar and Suarez, but two other things stand out for me, firstly,the respect that duo show the wee man, both have huge egos and accept without question that he is the star of the show and runs things and that says plenty, also, that he has missed one 45 minute period of La Liga action this season, otherwise playing in every minute of every league game and that tells you just as much about his love for the game and steely nature. This is a strong man and the fact that, with nothing to prove to anyone but himself, that after a poor last season, but his own impossibly high standards, he put himself on a very strict diet to get into the shape of his career this season and now he, and Barcelona, are reaping the dividends. I expect him to lead the Catalan giants to another title, but how to back them and get a decent price, both teams have scored in eight of the last ten Champions League finals, Barce have conceded in half of their CL matches this season and only failed to score in one of 12 opening halves in the competition, which we need for an open encounter. Juve will surley look to keep this tight and scoreless for as long as possible, but they had the same intention against Real Madrid in both legs of the semi final and conceded in both before the break. They will be without Giorgio Chiellini at the back today. they conceded twice at home to Real last season in his absence and whilst he has been ever present in the competition this season, Juve have conceded in 8 of the last 9 Serie A starts he has missed, at an average of 1.33 goals per game ( just 0.41 pg in other matches). If we get the early goal, this could become very entertaining and Juve can play their part in that, I would suggest, Barcelona to win, with both teams scoring 3.50-3.75 general quote, my alternative suggestion would have to be the "over".