Juventus will look to make it three wins out of three in Serie A as they travel to the Stadio Ennio Tardini to face Parma Calcio 1913 on Saturday.
What a story it has been for Parma Calcio 1913. Once a steady team in Serie A, the team never managed to recover from the Parmalat scandal. Declared bankrupt in 2015, the club was re-founded in Serie D. But, not even the best of optimists would have envisaged that Parma would be competing in Serie A in the 2018-19 season.
Three straight promotions – the stuff of dreams and Parma have achieved an unfathomable feat. The club recorded their first point of the current campaign after a fighting draw against Udinese. But, their narrow loss to SPAL has dampened the mood to an extent. Now, Juventus are paying them a visit, something that would have been a distant dream in 2015.
Juventus have started with maximum points from their two matches. But, to say they have looked shaky would be an understatement. Federico Bernardeschi rescued all three points in the first match of the season. The Lazio fixture was somewhat better from Juventus, but they only managed to record a 2-0 win, despite the dominance.
Massimiliano Allegri would be looking for a statement performance, especially with the Champions League groups also out now. Let us take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Parma Calcio 1913
Jonathan Biabiany and Amato Ciciretti are both sidelined for the Juventus game, which should see Gervinho being handed his first start for Parma. Alessandro Bastoni, Jacopo Dezi, Matteo Scozzarella and Mattia Sprocati are all injured as well, while there are several players who are banned from playing in Serie A till December 31, 2018.
The back four will remain the same, with Luigi Sepe continuing in goal. The midfield should see a change though, with Luca Rigoni coming into the midfield three to replace Antonio Barilla, who will likely drop to the bench.
We could see Alessio Da Cruz on the other wing, Gervinho starting on the right. Roberto Inglese should start upfront for Parma.
Parma will look to defend with bodies and contain Juventus while using the set-pieces and counters to get closer to the Juventus goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sepe; Iacoponi, Alves, Gagliolo, Gobbi; Rigoni, Stulac, Grassi; Gervinho, Inglese, Da Cruz
Leonardo Spinazzola is the only casualty for Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri will likely stick with the back four of Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro.
But, up ahead, we could see a change in personnel. Allegri will look to take advantage of the lion’s share of possession that is expected on Saturday, with Parma likely to play to contain. This could see Blaise Matuidi drop out of the midfield, with Allegri adding another player in attack in a shift from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1.
We could also see Emre Can being handed his first start in the league as partner to Miralem Pjanic in the midfield pivot. Allegri has rotated his forwards so far and the same is likely to continue against Parma.
We should see Federico Bernardeschi drop to the bench to make way for Douglas Costa. Paulo Dybala should be the extra man in attack as the number 10, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic retaining their respective places.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Pjanic, Can; Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic; Ronaldo
Player to Watch
Nobody thinks Paulo Dybala will be happy with a rotation role at Juventus. The transfer deadline has gone and the Argentine will be there till January, at the very least. It will be up to him to prove to Allegri that is not one of the droppable players from among the forwards.
A good performance against Parma could pave the way for the same. He is likely to have a free reign in the number 10 role, with Parma likely to sit back to absorb pressure, which could play to Dybala’s advantage. Expect the Argentine to put in a fired-up performance on Saturday.
Parma Calcio 1913 0-5 Juventus
Juventus seem to be warming up, still. They are yet to come into their own and a big reason for that is the lack of cutting edge from Cristiano Ronaldo & co. upfront. But, with a couple of matches under their belt, the sharpness should come soon and Parma might bear the brunt of it.
Parma might pressurize a bit with set-pieces. But, we expect a clean Juventus win on Saturday, with a dominant performance and a scoreline that reflects the same.