Juventus will be aiming to continue their excellent start to the campaign as they meet Fiorentina on Saturday afternoon.
Juventus have had an eventful summer, which was followed by an entertaining start to the 2019-20 Serie A campaign. They have won two out of two so far, but were forced to work really hard to seal all three points against Napoli in the last game. In fact, it was a late own goal from Kalidou Koulibaly that helped the Italian champions secure a hard-fought win over Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
Nevertheless, Juventus will look to continue their hundred percent record when they travel to Stadio Artemio Franchi to face Fiorentina on Saturday. Failing to secure a win this weekend would allow Torino and Inter Milan to get ahead of them on points, though it is pretty early in the season to consider anything.
Fiorentina, meanwhile, are enduring a difficult start to their campaign, having lost their first two matches against Napoli and Genoa, respectively.
The club from Florence are currently dawdling on the wrong side of the table. But, a win against Juventus on Saturday could give them a massive boost. They will also take confidence from the fact that fellow giants like AS Roma and AC Milan have experienced a difficult start to their respective campaigns as well.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their fascinating encounter in the Serie A this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella will miss out on the services of Pedro due to injury while Rachid Ghezzal is suspended. He is also expected to make a few changes to the side that lost to Genoa in the last game. Bayern Munich legend and new signing Franck Ribery is set for his full debut for Fiorentina after joining the club for free this summer.
The Frenchman will come into the side at the expense of Riccardo Sottil. He will be deployed on the left wing, with Federico Chiesa a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. Chiesa’s tenacity and creativity could be useful as Fiorentina look to breach the Juventus defence.
Kevin-Prince Boateng will continue to deputise for the injured Pedro in the number nine role. Dusan Vlahovic is also an option along with ex-Liverpool starlet Bobby Duncan. Montella is likely to go for the experience, however, giving Boateng the upper hand.
The midfield will remain unchanged with Milan Badelj, Gaetano Castrovilli and Erick Pulgar forming the three-man midfield setup in Fiorentina’s 4-3-3 setup.
And finally, in defence, Montella is likely to make one change with Dalbert replacing Luca Ranieri at left-back. The rest of the backline will remain unchanged.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Dragowski; Lirola, Pezzella, Milenkovic, Dalbert; Pulgar, Badelj, Castrovilli; Chiesa, Boateng, Ribery
Maurizio Sarri heaped praise on Aaron Ramsey during the press conference prior to the game. But, he also iterated that the Welshman is “physically behind” and is, therefore, unlikely to feature on Saturday. Adrien Rabiot, too, is expected to start on the bench.
That means both Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira could retain their place in the starting lineup. They will partner Miralem Pjanic at the base of Juventus’s 4-3-3. It will be interesting to see how these players cope with Fiorentina’s dynamic midfield trio of Pulgar, Castrovilli and Badelj.
Danilo enjoyed a dream start to his Juventus career, scoring on his debut against Napoli. The Brazilian will continue to deputise for the injured Mattia De Sciglio at right-back. Alex Sandro, meanwhile, is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank.
Sarri has admitted that new signing Matthijs de Ligt has had a rough start to his career in Italy. But, he also said he will be trying his best to help the young Dutchman integrate to Italian football as quickly as possible. de Ligt will be partnered by Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of Juventus’s four-man backline this weekend.
In attack, Gonzalo Higuain is destined to spearhead the Bianconeri attack following an excellent performance against Napoli. He will be partnered by the wide duo of Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be keen to extend his scoring tally.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Matuidi, Pjanic, Khedira; Costa, Higuain, Ronaldo
- Fiorentina have lost 77 of their previous 160 encounters against Juventus in Serie A: the Bianconeri are the side against whom the Viola have lost the most games in the competition.
- Fiorentina have lost their last two home encounters against Juventus in the top flight: only once previously have they lost three consecutive home matches against the Bianconeri in the top-flight – back in 1952.
- Fiorentina are winless in their last 16 Serie A games: they last went longer without a victory in the division back in 1970-71.
- Fiorentina are winless in their last 12 home games in the Serie A, their longest such run in the competition.
- Juventus have won their opening two fixtures in Serie A this season – they have won their first three league games in each of the last three campaigns. No other side has achieved the same feat.
Player to Watch
Fiorentina fans will be excited to witness Ribery making his debut for the club this weekend. Even though the Frenchman is already 36, he is still capable of taking on the best of defenders. His quick-feet and trickery on the flanks could make life very difficult for Danilo.
But most importantly, it will be interesting to see if Ribery can outmatch Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be operating on the other side of the pitch. The potential duel between these two living legends is what makes this game seemingly exciting.
Fiorentina 0-2 Juventus
The Juventus defence has looked extremely vulnerable this season, especially with Matthijs de Ligt struggling and Giorgio Chiellini missing out with injury. But, we still expect the Bianconeri to preserve a clean sheet, largely due to Fiorentina’s lack of offensive firepower. The Hard Tackle predicts a comprehensive 2-0 win for the visitors.