Juventus will be eager to settle scores from the last season in Coppa Italia  as they will start their cup journey against Udinese at home on Wednesday evening.

The Serie A league leaders, Juventus will host Udinese at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday in a Coppa Italia round of 16 fixture.

The reigning Serie A champions are coming to this fixture on the back of a 2-1 win over AS Roma. Maurizio Sarri’s men will be oozing with confidence after regaining their top spot in the Serie A table. The Bianconeri were knocked out by Atalanta in the quarterfinals of Coppa Italia last season and therefore they will be determined to turn the tide this season.

Meanwhile, Udinese are coming to this game with back to back three wins in the Serie A after their defeat to Juve in the league. They have bounced back quite well and the 3-0 win over Sassuolo last time out will give a lot of confidence to Luca Gotti’s men ahead of this monumental clash.

Both sides have met earlier in the Serie A where Juventus thumped Udinese 3-1 at home and Gotti will be eager to spark a surprise in the Coppa Italia. Ahead of this round of 16 cup tie, we at Hard Tackle will take a closer look at both the teams.

Tactics and Team News

Juventus

Giorgio Chiellini is still sidelined along with German midfielder Sami Khedira as they are recovering from a ligament rupture and knee injury respectively. Merih Demiral and Mattia De Sciglio are also out of this fixture due to a cruciate ligament rupture and abductor injury respectively. Rodrigo Bentancur is suspended for this fixture.

Sarri will look to stick with the conventional, 4-3-1-2 formation as Gianluigi Buffon is likely to replace Wojciech Szczęsny in goal. Daniele Rugani is likely to partner Matthijs De Ligt at the heart of the Juventus defence, while the Brazilian duo of Danilo and Alex Sandro will slot in full-back positions.

French midfielder, Adrien Rabiot may get the nod in this game with Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi being the mainstays in the middle of the park. The extra man in midfield may allow Maurizio Sarri’s men to control the tempo of the game, as Federico Bernardeschi is set to play in a free role behind the strikers.

Cristiano Ronaldo will spearhead the attack while Gonzalo Higuain will play in a more supporting role. Last time Udinese visited Juventus in December, Ronaldo scored a brace in Juve’s 3-1 win over them.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Danilo, Rugani, de Ligt, Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Higuain, Ronaldo

 Juventus

Udinese

Luca Gotti has more options to chose from than his counterpart, as only Brazilian centre back Samir Santos is out with an injury and has not returned to training. Other than that he has a fully fit squad to chose from for this round of 16 cup tie.

Udinese may opt to play with a three-man backline in a 3-5-2 formation. Argentine custodian, Juan Musso is likely to be the man in goal against Juventus, while the three-man backline will be led by William Troost Ekong along with partnered by Bram Nuytinck and Rodrigo Becão. Ken Sema and Jens Larsen are likely to play in wing-back roles providing the much-needed width.

In the centre of the park, Italian midfielder Rolando Mandragora will provide the creativity as Seko Fofana will add more stability to the whole team. Rodrigo De Paul has been in great goal-scoring form and will look to continue that against Juve.

In attack, Kevin Lasagna will partner Stefano Okaka who scored against Sassuolo in their 3-0 win in Serie A. Okaka will look to lead the lines for Udinese and will hope to find loopholes in the hosts’ defence.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Musso; Becão, Troost-Ekong, Nuytinck; Larsen, De Paul, Mandragora, Fofana, Sema; Lasagna, Okaka

Udinese

Key Stats

  • Both sides have met a total of 96 times with Juventus winning 63 matches compared to Udinese’s 12. However, the Old Lady have had the upper hand in recent times, winning the last five matches comfortably.
  • Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul and Stefano Okaka have scored four goals each and are the highest scorers this season for Luca Gotti’s men.
  • Ignacio Pussetto, who scored the only goal in Udinese’s 1-3 defeat to Juventus in Serie A has now joined English Premier League side, Watford.
  • Both sides had disappointing Coppa Italia campaign last season with Udinese losing out in the third round against Benevento, while Juventus lost 0-3 against Atalanta in the quarterfinals.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Can Ronaldo be the difference maker? (Photo by Chris Ricco/Getty Images)

Can Ronaldo be the difference-maker? (Photo by Chris Ricco/Getty Images)

Who else when the Portuguese talisman is in red hot form? Ronaldo has been scoring goals and even against AS Roma he scored from the spot and made the difference between two top teams. He puts in a great shift in attack and creates space for other players like Bernardeschi and Higuain to capitalize and score goals.

The former Real Madrid man tends to take his game to a different level mainly in cup fixtures and will look to continue to do so after last season’s disappointment in the quarterfinals. Also to add to that, Ronaldo has already scored a brace against Udinese in December in the Serie A fixture. So he will take confidence from that match and may replicate a similar performance on Wednesday.

Prediction

Juventus 3-1 Udinese

The Old Lady are in scintillating touch off late and will look to carry on with that form to their cup tie against Udinese. Maurizio Sarri has a lot of quality in his ranks and it will be very tough for Luca Gotti to spark a major surprise.

However, Udinese have also played a good brand of attacking football and players like De Paul and Okaka have been amongst goals and they will look to take the attack to Juve. But we at Hard Tackle feel that Juventus may run out with a 3-1 win over Udinese and progress to the quarterfinals of Coppa Italia.

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