Juventus will have another shot at confirming their 2018-19 Serie A title as they host Fiorentina at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Juventus have tapered off a bit towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign. As if the loss to SPAL 2013 preventing their Serie A coronation for another weekend wasn’t enough, the Italian giants were ousted from the Champions League by the young and spirited Ajax, thus quashing Massimiliano Allegri’s hopes of finally getting Juventus to ultimate glory in the Champions League.
Fiorentina, on the other hand, have had a disappointing 2018-19 campaign. Just one win in their last 10 Serie A games and 16 draws – the highest in the league this season – sees Fiorentina slag off at 10th on the table. La Viola are doomed to another season without European football and will be looking to at least end the season in the top half of the table.
Juventus managed a narrow 1-0 win over Fiorentina during their last encounter at home in the league. As Juventus move to finally confirm their Serie A title, we take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
With the intent being to wrap up the Serie A title, Massimiliano Allegri should field his strongest eleven, especially with no Champions League left now. Giorgio Chiellini, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are all doubts and could join the likes of Martin Caceres and Mattia Perin as absentees for the match against Fiorentina.
Daniele Rugani will continue to partner Leonardo Bonucci at the back in the absence of Chiellini, with Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo completing the back four. Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi are certain starters and are likely to be joined by Rodrigo Bentancur in midfield after the player did not feature against Ajax during the midweek. Emre Can will make way for the Uruguayan.
With Dybala and Mandzukic doubtful, we could see Allegri go with a more direct approach in the 4-3-3. Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi are expected to provide width in attack. Moise Kean has been in excellent form but will have to console himself with a place on the bench, with Cristiano Ronaldo likely to lead the frontline as Allegri looks to confirm the Serie A title.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Rugani, Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Ronaldo, Bernardeschi
Marko Pjaca is the only casualty that new manager Vincenzo Montella has had to deal with at Fiorentina. The manager has chosen to test the three-man backline, which has seen Federico Chiesa act as a right wing-back rather than an out-and-out attacker on the wing.
Alban Lafont will retain his place in goal; as will the three defenders in the backline, with Nikola Milenkovic, German Pezzella and Federico Ceccherini set to start at the back. Gerson, Jordan Veretout and Marco Benassi should be the central midfielders, with Bryan Dabo set to make way for the more creative and fluid Benassi. Cristiano Biraghi will retain his place on the right.
Luis Muriel and Giovanni Simeone should also continue in their roles upfront. Fiorentina have been goal shy of late and Montella will hope the duo can muster up a few on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Lafont; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Ceccherini; Chiesa, Gerson, Veretout, Benassi, Biraghi; Simeone, Muriel
1. Fiorentina have failed to score in each of the last 3 Serie A games against Juventus.
2. Fiorentina are winless in their last 8 Serie A matches.
3. Fiorentina though, have scored in five of the last six matches away at Juventus in all competitions.
4. Juventus are currently three games without a win, which is the longest they have gone without a victory this season.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo currently has 19 goals in the league. The Portuguese has never had a sub-20 goal league season since joining Real Madrid in 2009.
Player to Watch
The youngster is having to play in a not-so natural role at right wing-back under Vincenzo Montella. Chiesa has been linked with several clubs over the past year or so and could use the Juventus game as an opportunity to show any potential suitors he will be up to the task.
With Fiorentina not able to provide European football in the upcoming season, Chiesa might be looking to the offers that do arrive at his table in the summer. A good performance against Juventus will certainly increase his chances of being noticed by the bigwigs.
Juventus 2-0 Fiorentina
La Viola have had a miserable season. Vincenzo Montella has taken up the reins and will look to steer them towards a better fortune for the upcoming campaign. Massimiliano Allegri though, will have his eyes on the prize – the Serie A title. A first-team Juventus side could be too much for Fiorentina to handle, especially with a new formation in place.