Juventus hosts Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium as the Champions look to get back to winning ways and keep well ahead of second-placed Napoli
Massimiliano Allegri will want his Juventus side to respond with a character after he oversaw his side drop points during their midweek clash against Atalanta. The game finished 2-2, and it was only the second time that Juventus dropped points, as they continue their march towards the league title and after 18 games played, remain unbeaten in Italy.
Allegri, with a firm eye on crunch fixtures, decided the Atalanta game was an opportunity to rest some of his key stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on the bench. The decision could be viewed as a costly one, as Juventus slipped to a 2-2 draw. However, to their benefit, closest Serie A rivals, Napoli also dropped points, losing 1-0 to Inter Milan at the San Siro.
Juventus sit on top of the Serie A table with 50 points from their 18 games so far. The reigning champions are yet to be beaten in the league, winning 16 games and opening up a massive 9-point gap between themselves and second-placed Napoli. Allegri would not want his side to lose points against the visiting Sampdoria, although the Italian manager will be wary of their form as they languish in fifth.
It’s not to say Sampdoria have been a surprise this season, but indeed have played brilliantly in the league so far. They sit in the fifth position on the Serie-A table after recording 8 wins from their 18 games. Their haul of 29 points keeps them just two points below Lazio in fourth place, although AC Milan and AS Roma are lurking behind them on 28 and 27 points respectively.
Team News & Tactics
Starting with an already known injury news, Joao Cancelo will be missing the game after undergoing knee surgery recently. Taking his place at right-back could be Mattia de Sciglio, whose versatility could play a huge role in this contest. On the other hand, one of Juventus’ star performers of the season so far, Rodrigo Bentacur is set to miss the game after his red-card against Atalanta.
However, on to some good news as Miralem Pjanic and star forward Cristiano Ronaldo could find a way back into the starting lineup, after being benched for the Atalanta clash. Other than that there’s not much happening in the Juventus camp, with Allegri set to name his strongest lineup.
Allegri will prefer a back-four defence, while Sami Khedira, Emre Can and Miralem Pjanic set to take their respective midfield berths in a three-man unit. Up front, the combination of Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic can be expected.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3) – Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Can, Khedira; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Sampdoria do not have too many worries in their squad. In fact, they have a clean bill of health of their players, barring two long-term absentees. Those two players are central defender Vasco Regini and midfielder Edgar Barreto. A relatively, otherwise injury-free squad means manager Marco Giampaolo can field his strongest available lineup to thwart Juventus’ threat.
However, not everything is excellent in the Sampdoria squad as the influential duo, Dennis Praet and Gaston Ramirez are running a suspension tightrope, with both players in line to miss the next game if they get booked. However, Giampaolo will not put too much pressure on the players, because of the magnitude of this game at hand.
As for the team composition, much like the Juventus set up, they will go with a 4-3-3 formation. Sala, Andersen, Colley, and Murru are all set to take defensive places. Suspension threatened Praet will take his midfield spot alongside Ekdal and Linetty. Giampaolo might actually keep Ramirez on the bench to avoid a double blow. Meaning, Saponara, Quagliarella, and Caprari will start as the front three.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3) – Audero; Sala, Andersen, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty; Saponara, Quagliarella, Caprari.
- Juventus have won eight of their last 10 games against Sampdoria in Serie A, including the last three home games.
- Juventus need one more win to set a new Serie A record at this stage of the season (the current record is 52 points in 2005/06 and 2013/14).
- Juventus haven’t conceded more than one goal at home in a single Serie A game since October 2017; a run of 23 matches.
- In his last appearance vs. Sampdoria in April, Juventus’ Douglas Costa became the first player to deliver three assists as a substitute in a Serie A game since Opta started collecting assist data in 2004/05
- Sampdoria’s striker Fabio Quagliarella has scored a goal in each of his last eight Serie A matches.
Player to Watch
The talismanic Portuguese superstar is in line for a start after only playing a role from the bench in the last game against Atalanta. Ronaldo, since his move to Turin, has notched 12 goals in 18 games so far while also adding five assists to his name. The Portuguese has become a vital component of this Juventus side, and his absence from the start was sorely missed in the last game.
Ronaldo will be raring to go against Sampdoria and make his mark with possibly yet another strike and ensure the Old Lady stays ahead of the pack on the table. On the other hand, he needs to take care his game does not slow down, as so far his form has been impeccable. Watch out for the former Real Madrid star, as he looks to steer his side to all three points against Sampdoria.
Juventus 3-1 Sampdoria
Sampdoria have been in good form this season, winning eight of their 18 games so far. Despite that good form, the club will be wary of the threat posed by Juventus, especially with Ronaldo on the forefront of their attack. As much as any side would fear the Portuguese’ presence, there are other players too, equally capable of inflicting misery on any team, something that will help Juventus win this game.
There is an apparent gulf in the quality of both sides, as Sampdoria, although they are hard working, they would need something special to beat this Juventus side. Expect more than two goals from Juventus and considering Sampdoria in their position on the table and their current form, they might get a goal or so. In the end, we expect Juventus entirely to win this comfortably and stay on course for another title.