Juventus will bring an end to another successful league campaign when they take on Sampdoria at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday.
The curtains continue to fall on various league campaigns across Europe at the end of a gruelling 2018-19 season. The latest such league is Serie A, with the final matchday being played this week. And, champions Juventus will be on show on the final day of the season, when they face Sampdoria at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday.
It was been another season wherein Sampdoria have languished in the mid-table. The Blucerchiati currently sit 9th on the Serie A table and are waging a lone battle, one that will see them finish the campaign in the very same position, although to their credit, they have done one better than last term.
Juventus, on the other hand, have gone on to win the Serie A title for the eighth successive season. Five of those triumphs have come under the tutelage of Massimiliano Allegri. But, the current incumbent is set to bid adieu to the Bianconeri after Sunday, with the club deciding to call time on his spell at the Allianz Stadium.
The reverse fixture, played in Turin back in December last year, saw Juventus narrowly prevail 2-1, with Fabio Quagliarella’s effort being outmatched by Cristiano Ronaldo’s match-winning brace. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Marco Giampaolo does not have many major injury issues hampering his preparations for the visit of Juventus. On Sunday, the Sampdoria boss will only be without the services of Nicola Murru, who is struggling with an ankle injury.
In Murru’s absence, Junior Tavarez is expected to continue on the left side of the Sampdoria defence. The good news though, is that Joachim Andersen is fit and available. And, the Dane should start in the central defensive partnership alongside Omar Colley, with Jacopo Sala completing the backline that will provide cover to Juventus loanee Emil Audero.
Up ahead in midfield, Albin Ekdal will sit in front of the defence, screening the back four, with Dennis Praet and Karol Linetty being his partners in the middle of the park. Gianluca Caprari will reprise the role in the hole, playing off the two central strikers.
The strike partnership though, should see Gregoire Defrel line up alongside Fabio Quagliarella, who is set to be crowned the Capocannoniere for this season.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Audero; Sala, Andersen, Colley, Tavares; Linetty, Ekdal, Praet; Caprari; Defrel, Quagliarella
Massimiliano Allegri has a number of pressing concerns ahead of the trip to Stadio Luigi Ferraris to take on Sampdoria. Ahead of his final game in-charge of the visitors, Juventus will be without as many as eight first-team players.
The issues start right at the back, with Mattia Perin out with a shoulder injury. The Italian’s absence all but confirms the fact that Wojciech Szczesny will man the Juventus goal on Sunday. In defence, Joao Cancelo (nose) and Alex Sandro (thigh) are the major absentees.
The unavailability of the full-back duo means that Mattia de Sciglio and Leonardo Spinazzola ought to start on either side of the Juventus defence. The centre-back pairing, meanwhile, should be Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
Up ahead in midfield, Sami Khedira is unavailable due to a knee complaint, while Blaise Matuidi is suspended. In their absence, Emre Can, Rodrigo Bentancur and Miralem Pjanic are expected to form the three-man midfield axis.
Federico Bernardeschi is another major absentee due to suspension, while Mario Mandzukic is struggling with a niggle. With Douglas Costa also missing the trip to face Sampdoria, Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo and Moise Kean pretty much pick themselves in attack, with Juan Cuadrado being the backup option.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Can, Pjanic, Bentancur; Dybala, Kean, Ronaldo
- Juventus have won seven of their last eight league meetings with Sampdoria, although the latter were victors the last time they hosted the Serie A champions.
- Juventus are without a victory in their last four league matches (D3 L1).
- Sampdoria have a dismal home record of late, having won just four of their last nine outings at Stadio Luigi Ferraris (L5).
- Juventus have conceded at least one goal in seven Serie A games in a row, their worst such run since January 2011.
- Fabio Quagliarella is set to become the Capocannoniere for the 2018-19 season, at the age of 36, having scored 26 goals so far this season.
Player to Watch
At an age when players usually start planning their retirement, Fabio Quagliarella has proven the popular adage, “Age is just a number” right. Ageing like fine wine, the 36-year-old has a spring in his step and is now set to become the Capocannoniere, with the next best, Duvan Zapata and Krzysztof Piatek four goals behind.
With Sampdoria not playing for any more places, Quagliarella can be unleashed on Sunday, allowed to play with the most freedom he has had this season. And, who knows, he might just be the tormentor he sought out to be the last time he faced his former side, Juventus.
Sampdoria 1-1 Juventus
For over a month now, Juventus have seen their form drop off a cliff. Having cruised to the Serie A title, the ouster from the UEFA Champions League has proven to be detrimental to their overall form, and the Bianconeri have failed to win each of their last four games.
Sampdoria too, are far from their best, which means Sunday’s game pits two of the worst sides in the division at the present moment. However, with neither side having anything at stake, we should see more free flowing football. In the end though, there might not be anything to separate the two teams, and The Hard Tackle goes for a 1-1 draw.