2022-23 Champions League: PSG out to make an early statement against vulnerable Juventus

Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus meet in an early UEFA Champions League clash of the giants at Parc des Princes in Group H on Tuesday. The Ligue 1 titleholders are doing well this domestic season with five wins from six while the Serie A giants are sluggish and have already drawn three times from five outings.

Without Angel Di Maria, Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa, Juve are lacking three key elements and Massimiliano Allegri even admitted in the pre-match press conference that the Old Lady’s campaign might only realistically begin once the likes of the France international are back. The Italian tactician has even been talking up a battle for second place with SL Benfica instead of rivaling PSG for the top.

How to watch & odds

  • Date: Tuesday, Sept. 6 | Time: 3 pm ET
  • Location: Parc des Princes — Paris
  • TV & live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: PSG -333; Draw +450; You +800 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

“We face an opponent who is among the strongest in Europe, who this year I count as a favorite for the final,” said Allegri. “Tomorrow will be a good match, and we will certainly aim to play a great game from a technical point of view. We must give our all and enjoy it. Not having Angel is a major loss. He and Paredes have increased the team’s character . Paredes and Di Maria are two extraordinary players, they will give us a lot. We didn’t want to risk Angel right now, as many important matches await us.”

This certainly feels like an encounter between two teams on totally different dynamics given the air of positivity surrounding Christophe Galtier’s French champions after his summer arrival. An impressive squad overhaul this summer also saw Leandro Paredes join ex-Parisiens Di Maria and Adrien Rabiot in Turin as well as Julian Draxler joining Group H rivals Benfica.

“They are a team with a lot of experience, with players of the very highest level and a coach that knows this competition like the back of his hand,” said Galtier. “They are a team that is always difficult to beat. People say that Juventus are struggling, they are unbeaten in Serie A and have only conceded two goals. They are difficult to get past with the intensity that their players bring.

“Juventus are very strong in the transition. It’s a shame that Angel can’t come back to the Parc des Princes. He made a mark on the history of the club. He was an exemplary player and performed here. I think he would have been happy to take part in this match. When he is playing, there is exceptional experience and quality, but I am sure that the player that plays in his place will be of an equally very high level.”

Home hopes rest with the triple threat of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar who have been scintillating at times already this term with 16 goals and 11 assists combined. There are still questions about the hosts’ defense and especially since they missed out on key target Milan Skriniar from Juve’s Italian rivals Inter Milan, but the attack is already merciless.

“It’s important for a club to face teams like Juventus,” said Mbappe. “We want to start this European campaign well at home. Our supporters expect a lot of us, we need to put in a good performance and pick up result after result. This match comes at the right time to kick start our European adventure and to continue our good form.”

Thankfully for the visitors, they have their own attacking ace in Dusan Vlahovic with the Serbia sharpshooter already on four goals for the season with former Olympique de Marseille man Arkadiusz Milik already up and running with two strikes since returning to Serie A. There is less service for both without Di Maria and Chiesa, but the prolific pair can still find the net if allowed.

“We need to play as a team when we don’t have the ball,” reasoned Allegri. “Everything will be decided on ball management, we will have to do our best. It will be a good challenge. Bonucci, Vlahovic, Rabiot and Perin are the only ones certain of playing tomorrow night. I have yet to decide on the rest. From January it will be another season. Now we must remain calm and continue the work we have been doing.”

Group H’s makeup paints PSG as clear favorites for top spot and Juve logically as second which makes Benfica an interesting dark horse with the Portuguese powerhouse next up for the Bianconeri on home turf after their trip to the French capital. Sneaking a draw would be a very good result for Allegri’s men considering their missing pieces and it would also put Galtier’s side under pressure.

Perhaps the greater threat, though, is a heavy defeat which would really pile the pressure on for Juve after another slow start and some questions of Allegri even this early in the campaign. Stem the tide and something can still be saved through improved form but succumb in worrying fashion and alarm bells will start to sound across Turin.

Below you can check out all of the updates from Monday in the leadup to Champions League action on Tuesday, and of course every match is available only on Paramount+.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*