Juventus must invoke striking spirit on visit to Olympiakos
Juventus have never lost to Olympiakos in the Champions League era, and five different strikers scored for the Turin titans in their last meeting. Coral customers that fancy a repeat 7-0 scoreline here should be advised it is a 300/1 punt this time around.
Back in 2003, Juve had a fearsome forward line that included Old Lady icon Alessandro Del Piero and Euro 2000 final golden goal-scorer David Trezeguet. Today, new boss Massimilano Allegri can rely on Carlos Tevez, once of both Manchester City and Manchester United, for goals.
Overlooked by his country, Argentine frontman Tevez is 9/5 to score anytime at Olympiakos, where Juventus are 21/20 favourites to win. Like just over a decade ago, though, there are other attacking options with plenty of pedigree open to Allegri.
Big Basque target man Fernando Llorente has no goals in nine this term, but his height could be a huge handful for the defence of fellow Spaniard Michel, who manages Olympiakos. Llorente, who is slight doubt with a back problem, is 12/5 to break his duck here, while compatriot Alvaro Morata would offer a threat in behind and is 5/2 in the anytime market.
Diminutive Sebastian Giovinco completes Juve’s striking quartet, and is 13/5. Allegri is still without defenders Andrea Barzagli and Martin Caceres, but opts to leave reported Manchester United midfield target Arturo Vidal on the bench.
The fiery Chilean’s box-to-box flair could be needed here, however, especially as Olympiakos cashed in on star centre back Kostas Manolas to fill the void at Roma made by Mehdi Benatia’s departure to Bayern Munich. Vidal is worth a bet to net anytime at 13/5, because punters will get their stake back if Allegri leaves him out.
Paul Pogba, who netted the Old Lady’s equaliser at Sassuolo last time out, is more attractive value, however, at 14/5 to score in the port of Piraeus. Meanwhile, couple of former Fulham players supposedly pose a threat for Olympiakos, though such sentiments are tempered by their relegation last season.
Kostas Mitroglou, who satisfies all the criteria of a Premier League flop, posts some impressive scoring stats for the Greek champions, however. Since returning on loan from Craven Cottage, he has four in six across all competitions. If punters are convinced Mitroglou enjoys home comforts, by all means back him to net first here at 6/1.
Swiss talent Pajtim Kasami scored a Marco van Basten type over the shoulder volley against Crystal Palace exactly a year ago, but is now out at Olympiakos. He looks set for wide a berth against Juventus, so why not take tempting odds of 10/3 for him to catch their wing backs off guard by being on target here?
Barcelona-owned Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay is a danger to the Old Lady. Regular football has rejuvenated this undoubted talent and that is reflected in his recent international recall by Netherlands national coach Guus Hiddink. Having scored against Atletico Madrid, Afellay is more than capable of hurting Juve too, and it’s 7/2 that he nets against them anytime.
As the Old Lady are even-money favourites to win a wide open Group A, they need to lay down a marker which illustrates that, especially as Atletico Madrid are expected to maul Malmo in the other match. If punters fancy Olympiakos to sneak through this pool and qualify for the knockout phase, then take odds of 11/5.