Juventus visit the Stade de la Beaujoire on Thursday night for the second leg of the UEFA Europa League knockout playoffs against Nantes. This can be an intense contest after both teams shared the spoils in a closely fought 1-1 draw in Turin last week.
Dusan Vlahovic steered home the opener for Juventus early in the first half to give the hosts a great start. However, a sweeping counterattack by Nantes saw Ludovic Blas fire in the equaliser at the hour mark. As a result, it all boils down to the crucial second leg to decide which team will progress to the Round of 16 of the competition. Below are some stats from the first-leg encounter between both teams to help comprehend how the upcoming contest could play out.
Overall performances of the teams
Nantes have shown remarkable home form this season, losing only three out of 14 matches at the Stade de la Beaujoire in all competitions. In the Europa League group stages, the Canaries won on home territory against Qarabag and Olympiacos, helping them finish second in the group.
Meanwhile, Juventus have improved their travel record in recent weeks, with six wins in the last eight away matches across competitions. However, their struggles in European games still persist, with only one win from the last nine. The Bianconeri crashed out of the Champions League 2022–23 group stage after five defeats, including all three away fixtures.
The viz above shows the percentile rank of both teams’ stats compared to each other as well as to other teams in the respective European competitions in 2022–23. It can be seen that Juventus has better overall stats than Nantes in most departments. Notably, the Italian giants have the better stats in terms of goals, xG, accurate/key passes, and possession rate. Alternatively, there are a few indicators for which the Ligue 1 team holds the advantage, such as shots, final third entries, xGA, and recoveries.
Attacking stats from the last encounter
The two visuals above show the shot maps of both teams from the first leg of the UEFA Europa League contest. Nantes scored from their only attempt on target. In comparison, Juventus only managed to take one shot from inside the penalty box despite playing at home and being the stronger side. The hosts took 13 shots in total and ended the match with 1.27 xG compared to the 0.45 xG accumulated by the Canaries from seven shots.
Overall, Juventus have averaged 10.33 shots per match with 41.9% accuracy in the away matches of this season’s European competitions. Meanwhile, Nantes currently attempts 12 shots per match with 41.7% accuracy when playing at home in Europe.
Juventus enjoyed 56.54% possession and made 601 passes (88.2% accuracy) compared to Nantes’ 43.46% possession and 459 passes (86.7% accuracy). The Italians utilised the flanks and central regions more frequently to advance forward and made 76 progressive passes against the 58 made by the French side.
Away from home in Europe, Juventus generates 28.67 positional attacks per match, with 21% leading to shots, and makes 60.67 passes to the final third. Alternatively, their French opponent attempts 51 final-third passes in home matches and generates 32 positional attacks, with 22% leading to shots.
Winning possession in the opposition’s half
The two visuals above compare both teams based on the number of times they regained possession in the final third. Juventus holds the advantage in this area. They have made 10 high regains, including two recoveries that led to shots, compared to the seven made by Nantes. The Canaries ceased possession more frequently, as evidenced by the seven more counter-pressing recoveries they made than the Italians. Overall, the French team averages 80.33 recoveries when playing at home, compared to the 68.33 recoveries made by Juventus when they travel.
Ludovic Blas is the top contributor for Nantes in their Europa League campaign. After scoring the all-important equaliser to keep his side in the tie, the 26-year-old now has three goals and three assists in Europe. He is currently on a remarkable run of form, and this time the Juventus players will remain extremely alert to his attacking threats and try to mark him out of the game.
Meanwhile, Dusan Vlahovic marked his return from injury with a crucial contribution for Juventus in the first leg. The Serb scored with his only attempt of the night, bringing his tally in European competitions to two for the season. He is also the top scorer for the Turin side in Serie A, and his team will be counting on him to lead from the front again in the second leg.
Nantes are set to be without Quentin Merlin due to a groin injury, and there are also doubts regarding the match fitness of Jean-Charles Castelletto and Nicolas Pallois. Meanwhile, Ignatius Ganago has been permitted time off due to personal reasons.
On the other hand, Juventus will be without the services of Arkadiusz Milik, Fabio Miretti, Paul Pogba, and Kaio Jorge as they recover from long-term injuries.
With a spot in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 at stake, the second leg of Nantes vs Juventus will be one of the most interesting matchups come Thursday night. The Serie A giants remain the firm favourites to progress. However, the French side has done commendably to keep themselves in the tie and will pose a formidable challenge at their home ground.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine