After two games without a win, Juventus will be hoping to bounce back when they welcome newly-promoted Hellas Verona to the Allianz Stadium this weekend.
Reigning champions Juventus will be aiming to return to winning ways when they host newly-promoted outfit Hellas Verona on Saturday evening on Matchday 4 of the 2019-20 Serie A.
Juventus saw their perfect start to the new season end last week, as they were held to a goalless draw by Fiorentina. The Bianconeri then played out a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League opener earlier this week. Maurizio Sarri’s men are two points behind Inter Milan, who sit atop the table, and will want to close down the gap with a win on Saturday.
Hellas Verona made a decent start to life upon their return to the top-flight, collecting four points from their first two matches. However, Ivan Juric’s side faltered to their first defeat last weekend, with AC Milan beating them 1-0 at home. Currently in the 11th place in the table, the Gialloblu will have a huge task at hand on Saturday and will be happy returning with a point from Turin.
Team News & Tactics
The reigning champions have four first-team players ruled out for the weekend clash, with senior statesman Giorgio Chiellini, fellow defender Mattia De Sciglio, Marko Pjaca and Douglas Costa all missing with injuries. Manager Maurizio Sarri is likely to make some tweaks to the team that started against Atletico Madrid, in order to afford rest to some of the players.
Wojciech Szczesny is a certain starter between the sticks for Juventus, with Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt continuing their partnership at the heart of the defence. The Brazilian duo of Danilo and Alex Sandro ought to start as the two full-backs for Juve.
Miralem Pjanic could be given a breather by the manager on Saturday, paving the way for Rodrigo Bentancur to start in the three-man midfield for the Bianconeri. Sami Khedira too could be rested, with Adrien Rabiot likely to replace him in the lineup. Blaise Matuidi is expected to be retained in the starting XI, while Aaron Ramsey will once again start on the bench.
Juan Cuadrado started on the right side of the three-pronged attack for Juventus against Atletico and scored a goal. The Colombian is likely to be retained in the team on Saturday ahead of Federico Bernardeschi. Portuguese maverick Cristiano Ronaldo is a guaranteed starter on the opposite wing, with Gonzalo Higuain continuing to lead the line. Paulo Dybala will be an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Rabiot, Bentancur, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Higuain, Ronaldo
Hellas Verona also have a number of injury concerns heading into Saturday’s encounter against the champions. On-loan Udinese man Emmanuel Badu will have to wait for his debut for his new club as he misses out with an injury. Also missing for the visitors are defenders Salvatore Bocchetti, Alessandro Crescenzi and midfielder Daniel Bessa.
Striker Mariusz Stepinski is out with a suspension, after picking up a red card in the defeat to Milan last weekend. Manager Juric has extensively used a 3-4-2-1 formation this season and is unlikely to change it given how solid his team have looked defensively.
28-year-old Marco Silvestri will line up under the crossbar for the Gialloblu. He will be guarded the three-man backline comprising of academy man Marash Kumbulla, along with new arrivals Amir Rrahmani and Koray Gunter. Summer signings Darko Lazovic and Davide Faraoni will line up as the wing-backs and will be the main source of width when the visitors attack.
Veteran midfielder Miguel Veloso is a certainty to feature as one of the two central midfielders for Hellas Verona. The Portuguese should once again be partnered by Morrocan enforced Sofyan Amrabat. The duo will be tasked with protecting the backline, while the creative onus will fall on the attacking midfield partnership of Mattia Zaccagni and Valerio Verre.
With Stepinski ruled out, Gennaro Tutino, Samuel Di Carmine and Giampaolo Pazzini should battle it out for the role of the lone striker. However, Tutino’s pace and directness is likely to earn him the starting berth in Turin.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Rrahmani, Kumbulla, Gunter; Faraoni, Veloso, Amrabat, Lazovic; Zaccagni, Verre; Tutino
- Juventus won both their home and away games against Hellas Verona in the 2017-18 campaign. The last time the Bianconeri won three consecutive games against the Gialloblu in the top-flight was back in 2000.
- The reigning champions are unbeaten in their last 22 home games in Serie A (W18 D4).
- After a series of eight consecutive defeats on the road in Serie A, Hellas Verona won their most recent away game against Lecce. The last time the they won back-to-back away games in the top-flight was in April 2014.
- Juventus are unbeaten in their 28 home Serie A games against Hellas Verona (W24 D4). Only against Bari (30) have they played more home games in the competition without ending up on the losing side.
- Hellas Verona haven’t scored more than a single goal in a Serie A game since February 2018. During this period, the Gialloblu have played 15 matches, scoring just eight times.
Player to Watch
It has been pretty slow going for the 34-year-old talisman compared to the standards he usually sets. So far in the 2019-20 campaign, Cristiano Ronaldo has started all four of Juventus’s matches across all competitions, but has found the back of the net on just one occasion.
With Juventus in need of a win after two draws, the Portuguese international will need to step up in a big way and lead his team to a victory. But, it might not be straightforward for Ronaldo as Hellas Verona have been a tough team to break down this season. How the former Real Madrid superstar fares on the evening will have a huge bearing on the outcome of the game.
Juventus 1-0 Hellas Verona
Juventus bottled a two-goal lead against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, conceding twice from set-piece situations, which will have disappointed Maurizio Sarri. The draw with Fiorentina in Serie A prior to that meant that they are trailing leaders Inter Milan, who will be playing AC Milan later in the day.
Hellas Verona have made a decent start to the season and gave a good account of themselves against AC Milan, despite being reduced to ten men. However, going up against a Juventus side that has much more quality in the squad will be a daunting task, although Ivan Juric’s men are likely to put up a good fight.
Juventus are yet to hit their stride this season, but given the gulf of quality between the two sides, the Bianconeri should bag all three points, with a narrow 1-0 win.