Juventus will look to build on their six-match winning streak when they host Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Serie A Matchday 14 intensifies with league leaders, Juventus taking the field against Sassuolo at the Juventus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Maurizio Sarri’s men have looked in great shape recently and they will look to continue their winning momentum against a tricky Sassuolo side. The Old Lady are coming to this match with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. A win here will make it seven on the trot in all competitions, and with Inter Milan hot on their heels, Sarri would not like to drop points at this stage.
Sassuolo have been quite inconsistent this season and that is the reason why they are languishing in the 14th position. They lost their last fixture against Lazio and have always struggled against Juventus in the past. So, it will be a monumental task for Roberto De Zerbi’s men to churn out a positive result.
The main challenge for Sassuolo will be to get back on track this season while Juventus will be equally determined to bag all three points, with second-placed Inter Milan only a point behind them. Therefore a lot is at stake for both the sides and the supporters are in for a feisty contest.
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Giorgio Chiellini continues to be on the sidelines while Douglas Costa is set to miss out with a thigh injury. Alex Sandro and Sami Khedira are expected to recover in time for this fixture and may find their names in the starting eleven. Federico Bernardeschi may find his place in the team, replacing Aaron Ramsey while Gonzala Higuain and Juan Cuadrado could also start against Sassuolo.
Sarri is expected to continue with his conventional 4-3-1-2 formation, with Wojcicech Szczesny guarding the goal. In defence, Leonardo Bonucci and Mathijs de Ligt will form the centre-back pairing, with Alex Sandro and Cuadrado coming into the squad as fullbacks.
In midfield, there are varied options for Sarri, but he may opt for a trio of Miralem Pjanic, Khedira and Blaise Matuidi. Bernardeschi, who is expected to return to the starting lineup, may get the free role in behind the forwards. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for alongside Gonzalo Higuain, with Paulo Dybala likely to come in at the latter stages of the game.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Higuain, Ronaldo
There are injuries galore for the Neroverdi, as multiple first-team players miss out. The most notable name among them is of Domenico Berardi, who is out with a thigh strain while other players in the list include former Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches, Rogerio, ex-AS Roma man Gregoire Defrel, Gian Marco Ferrari and Gianluca Pegolo.
Therefore, Roberto De Zerbi does not have many players to chose from and is expected to field his squad in a 4-3-3 attacking formation. The experienced Andrea Consigli will be in goal while the back four will include Jeremy Toljan, Filippo Romagna, Marlon Santos and the experienced Federico Peluso.
Alfred Duncan and Francesco Magnanelli will hold the key in winning the midfield battle. They will have to break up play and restrict the Juventus midfielders from controlling play. Manuel Locatelli will venture forward and play in a free role behind the frontline.
Former Benfica winger Filip Djuricic and Chelsea youth academy graduate Jeremie Boga will be vested with the responsibility to provide width and stretch the Juventus defence, while Francesco Caputo is set to be their main target man upfront.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Consigli; Toljan, Romagna, Marlon, Peluso; Duncan, Locatelli, Magnanelli; Djuricic, Caputo, Boga
- Juventus hold dominating records against Sassuolo, having won the last seven Serie A fixtures against the visitors, scoring a staggering 21 goals.
- The hosts have won all of their six Serie A meetings against Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium with an aggregate scoreline of 18-2.
- The biggest win for the Bianconeri at the Allianz Stadium considering all competitions has come against Sassuolo (7-0) back in 2018 which is at par with their 7-0 win over Parma in 2014.
- Sassuolo have lost their last seven games against Serie A table-toppers at the start of a matchday, conceding 17 goals in that time period.
- Juventus have conceded four penalties in Serie A this season, as many as they conceded in the whole of the 2018-19 season.
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It has not been the best of seasons for Cristiano Ronaldo by any stretch of imagination. While there will be talks of regression, the Portuguese talisman will look to waive off the doubts and criticism as he has always done in his career. A four-match goalless streak for the 33-year old could only motivate him to strive forward and fight for each and every chance in the final third.
All he needs currently is a goal to get that confidence back and we all know what happens when he is at his best. Therefore, Ronaldo will have a point to prove against Sassuolo or else Maurizio Sarri will have to take a few bold decisions.
Juventus 2-1 Sassuolo
It is going to be a hard-fought match and most of the matches for Juventus lately have been closely contested, including the one against Atletico Madrid. However, if Cristiano Ronaldo finds his shooting boots then it can be a long night for the Neroverdi. For now, though, it is expected to be a cagey affair.
Roberto De Zerbi’s men will be happy with a point from this away fixture and considering their absentees, it will be a monumental task for them to churn out a win. Juventus have kept their winning momentum intact, but they have been very unconvincing at times and if Sassuola can capitalise on their half chances and be clinical in front of goal, there may be a chance of an upset.
However, considering the difference in quality, as well as the key players absent for Sassuolo, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the hosts.