Juventus will be looking to continue their undefeated streak in Serie A as they go up against a Torino side that are challenging for European places.
Torino played out a 0-0 draw against AC Milan in the last weekend. But, overall, they have started the season well and have kept their momentum intact coming into almost halfway through the campaign.
While Torino are currently occupying the last European qualification place at sixth on the table, they must be wary that there are only a couple of points separating them from 11th placed Sampdoria.
Juventus, on the other hand, are sitting pretty atop the Serie A table, eight points clear of second-placed Napoli. They have not looked convincing in many-a fixtures but have got the job done, which is what Massimiliano Allegri would desire from his team. The Italian giants though, suffered a blip in the Champions League during the midweek, losing to Young Boys.
Torino would look at it as the perfect time to face Juventus, seeing as they will be reeling from their 2-1 defeat to Young Boys. Juventus managed to eke out a 1-0 win over Torino the last time they met at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
We take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Daniele Baselli and Iago Falque are both doubtful for the crucial clash on Saturday. The backline is set and should comprise of Armando Izzo, Nicolas N’Koulou and Koffi Djidji, with Salvatore Sirigu commanding the Torino goal.
Cristian Ansaldi is back to full fitness and should start in the left wing-back area ahead of Ola Aina. Lorenzo De Silvestri should reprise the same role as Ansaldi, albeit on the right. Tomas Rincon and Soualihe Meite should complete the midfield line for Torino.
Andrea Belotti is guaranteed to start upfront. But, the players behind him could change, with Baselli and Falque both doubtful. While we could see Falque start if he is declared fit to an extent, Baselli could lose his spot to Roberto Soriano behind Belotti.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sirigu; Izzo, N’Koulou, Djidji; De Silvestri, Meite, Rincon, Ansaldi; Soriano, Falque; Belotti
Massimiliano Allegri made a number of changes during the midweek, which backfired to an extent, especially the choice to field Juan Cuadrado on the right side of a four-man defence. Joao Cancelo should return on the right, with Giorgio Chiellini replacing Daniele Rugani in central defence. Alex Sandro should replace Mattia De Sciglio on the left.
Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi should start in midfield. But, the last spot is a toss-up between Rodrigo Bentancur, Sami Khedira and Emre Can. Bentancur is suspended for the clash and while many would tip Can to start, we expect Khedira to return to the lineup.
In attack, Paulo Dybala should return to the starting eleven after scoring in a substitute appearance during the midweek. Dybala will be stationed on the right of a three-man attack but will look to come into the middle and act as the number 10, with Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo expected to make up the frontline.
Dybala’s inward movement should create space for the full-backs, especially Cancelo to come forward. The Portuguese has been immense with his deliveries from the right and will be key to Juventus and their tactical gameplan on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala; Ronaldo, Mandzukic
1. There have been 3 red cards in the last five league matches between Torino and Juventus at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
2. 3 of the last five league matches at home for Torino against Juventus have seen both teams get on the scoresheet.
3. Torino has won just one of the 12 meetings against Juventus. Also, there has not been a goalless draw in the 12 times the two teams have met each other.
4. Juventus have won all of their league games this season where Mario Mandzukic has scored or assisted. (8 games)
5. After a slow start to his Juventus career, Cristiano Ronaldo has six goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Most of the responsibility of troubling Juventus and their backline will be on Andrea Belotti. The Italian hasn’t had the same impact in front of goal as last season. But, the striker is still one of the most potent goalscorers in Serie A. Also, with the January transfer window approaching, a match-winning performance against Juventus could pave the way for a big-money move.
The likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United are struggling in front of goal and could reignite their pursuit of the Italian hitman. But first, Belotti must show he is up to the task.
Torino 2-2 Juventus
Torino’s home form is not a thing to envy. They have struggled to get points at home this season. But, they are up against a Juventus side that might be a little bit shook from the midweek defeat to Young Boys. Ideally, this should end in a toiling Juventus win.
But, we expect Andrea Belotti to come into his own on Saturday and get himself on the scoresheet against Juventus. A scoring draw is what we are going with at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.