Regaining the top spot in the league table will be on the agenda as Juventus lock horns with Brescia at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti on Tuesday.
Juventus are having a tough time at the moment. The Italian champions dropped their first points of the Serie A campaign against Fiorentina earlier this month before drawing 2-2 with Atletico Madrid in their Champions League opener, owing to an unfortunate late equaliser from Hector Herrera.
They did return to winning ways on the weekend against Hellas Verona. But, it was far from comfortable as Juventus had to come back from a goal down to seal a narrow 2-1 win. Either way, the Bianconeri will look to continue that winning momentum when they face Brescia this midweek.
The newly-promoted Serie A outfit has enjoyed a relatively pleasant start to the campaign, picking up six points from four games. They are apparently leading giants AC Milan and Fiorentina and are coming on the back of a narrow win over Udinese in their last game.
The hosts aren’t exactly favourites to win this game by any means. But, they have shown a lot of competence and are capable of springing a surprise this midweek. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this important Serie A encounter on Tuesday.
Team News & Tactics
Brescia manager Eugenio Corini has been reluctant to shift away from his preferred 4-3-1-2 shape, which could be in action once again against Juventus.
Normally clubs do make a lot of changes in these midweek fixtures. But, given Brescia’s lack of depth as well as the quality of Juventus, the hosts will likely start many of the players that featured against Udinese.
Alfredo Donnarumma is the club’s top scorer with three goals this season. He is a guaranteed starter in attack, alongside Mario Balotelli. The Italian international is finally in contention to start and could feature against Juve tomorrow.
Brescia will undoubtedly employ a defence-oriented tactic, which means they will rely upon as many defensive-minded players as they can. Nikolas Spalek could be sacrificed, allowing Romulo to feature as the number ten.
Romulo, however, will operate in a much deeper role and will be partnered by the midfield trio of Daniele Dessena, Sandro Tonali and Dimitri Bisoli. It won’t be surprising to see if this shape transforms into a 4-4-2, giving Brescia more compactness, especially when they are without the ball.
The Brescia defence will remain unchanged, with the four-man backline comprising of Stefano Sabelli, Andrea Cistana, Jhon Chancellor and Ales Mateju. New signing Jesse Joronen will be deployed in between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Joronen, Sabelli, Cistana, Chancellor, Mateju; Dessena, Tonali, Bisoli; Romulo; Donnarumma, Balotelli
Unlike Brescia, Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri could ring in the changes this week from the side that won 2-1 against Verona. Starting in goal, Gianluigi Buffon will be replaced by Wojciech Szczesny. It was an emotional outing for Buffon last time out as he made his first Serie A outing since returning to Juventus this summer.
Merih Demiral was given a start at the weekend. And the young Turkish sensation could retain his place at centre-back, alongside marquee signing Matthijs de Ligt, who will return to the starting eleven, at the expense of Leonardo Bonucci.
Danilo and Alex Sandro, however, are both expected to occupy the full-back slots once again, especially with Mattia De Sciglio out injured.
Aaron Ramsey scored on his Serie A debut against Verona on the weekend. But, the Welshman will likely be rested in this one, paving the way for Sami Khedira to return in midfield. The ex-Real Madrid star will be partnered by Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, who did feature in the last game as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo could be given a breather as well following a strenuous game. The Portuguese sensation will be replaced by Paulo Dybala on the left wing, with Federico Bernardeschi starting on the opposite flank. The former Fiorentina star will start over Juan Cuadrado in the said position.
And finally, the Juventus attack will be led by Gonzalo Higuain as it was Dybala who started against Verona as a number nine.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, Demiral, de Ligt, Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Higuain, Dybala
- Brescia have won just three of their 44 Serie A games against Juventus – their lowest win record against a team they have faced at least five times in the competition.
- Brescia have lost only three of their last 11 home matches against Juventus in the Serie A, after they had lost six of the previous 11 such games.
- Juventus are unbeaten since October 2016 in Lombardy in the top-flight, having won three games and drawn four matches in this period.
- Juventus haven’t lost an away game against a newly-promoted team since May 2013 registering 14 victories and four draws since then.
- Brescia lost their first home game in Serie A this season, while in Serie B last season they had lost only two home games.
Player to Watch
Balotelli is poised to make his debut for Brescia after joining the club for free this summer. As iterated earlier, the Italian forward is available for selection for the first time this season. He will replace Florian Aye in attack and it will be interesting to see how he combines with Donnarumma.
The ex-Manchester City star has a lot of experience in the Italian top-flight, which could be quite useful for this newly-promoted side as they attempt to cause an upset this week. He will be playing his first Serie A game since his loan spell at AC Milan back in 2016.
So overall, it will be an important game for Balotelli, who still has the quality to make a difference. And the Juve defenders will need to keep a close eye on him.
Brescia 0-3 Juventus
Brescia are bound to struggle in dealing with the Juventus attackers, who will be full of confidence after a win against Verona. The qualitative advantage in individuals for Bianconeri could be the telling factor in this game, especially against a Brescia side who don’t exactly have an experienced, reliable defender. Expect the champions to register a comfortable victory.