Antonio Conte has no option but to go for broke when his Juventus side plays host to Real Madrid on Tuesday and the Bianconeri's growing desperation for points may well see Gareth Bale make his mark in Europe.
A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Madrid beat Juve 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu but this time around the club will have to deal with the added threat of los Blancos' 100 million euro man as well.
The Welshman sat out of that first fixture through injury but two goals and four assists later and Bale is showing signs of reproducing his best form.
Given that Juventus needs to seize the initiative in this game, Conte’s first problem is the fragility of his side's 3-5-2 formation against the pacey attack and lethal counterattacking threat of Madrid.
The Old Lady stuck with their tried and tested system in last year’s competition when they came up against eventual winner Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, but it went horribly wrong as they were convincingly beaten 2-0 in both legs.
The devastating wing play of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery had a huge hand in that as they ran riot in behind Juve's wing backs, dragging the central defenders wide and creating gaping holes through the middle.
If afforded the same kind of freedom, Bale and Ronaldo will be licking their lips. That’s precisely why Conte deployed a 4-3-3 formation in the away fixture. The ploy worked reasonably well as the club restricted its host to only a few chances, but may not be quite as solid when the team is chasing the game this time around.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gareth Bale
- Antonio Conte
- Real Madrid
- Cristiano Ronaldo