Juventus will be keen on keeping hold of their three-point lead over Inter Milan at the top when they play hosts to Fiorentina on Sunday.
Juventus have enjoyed a bright start to 2020, winning all but one of their six matches in all competitions. However, the only time they failed to secure a win was last weekend against Napoli. In fact, the Old Lady slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Naples rivals, allowing second-placed Inter Milan to close the gap at the top.
The Bianconeri simply cannot afford a similar result this time around, when they host Fiorentina at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Juventus currently have a three-point lead over Inter but their inferior goal difference means they could run the risk of being overtaken, should they lose against Fiorentina.
The Viola, however, are coming on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Inter in the quarter-final of Coppa Italia. But, that was their only defeat since the turn of the year, with the club having won three of their six matches in all competitions so far in 2020.
That being said, Fiorentina are still languishing at the wrong end of the table, with just 25 points on the board. Hence, securing at least a point against Juventus could be critical as they aim to turn their fortunes during the second half of the campaign.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their highly-anticipated Serie A encounter on Sunday.
Tactics & Team News
Maurizio Sarri has confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Miralem Pjanic is available despite suffering a bruise. He could, therefore, retain his place at the base of Juventus’ 4-3-1-2, where he will be partnered by Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi.
In defence, however, Sarri is facing an injury crisis, with players like Mattia de Sciglio and Danilo out injured. It should pave the way for Juan Cuadrado at right-back while Alex Sandro is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank, mainly due to lack of viable alternatives.
In central defence, both Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral have been ruled out with injuries. That means Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt are set to continue at the heart of Juventus’ four-man backline.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey is tipped to return to the side after being left out in the last game. The Welshman is likely to replace Paulo Dybala in the number ten slot, where he will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative essence in the final third.
And finally, the Juventus attack will be led by the offensive duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. These two players will be keen on returning to scoring form following a disappointing game against Napoli.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Ramsey; Higuain, Ronaldo
Unlike Sarri, Fiorentina manager Giuseppe Iachini is not facing an injury crisis. However, he will miss out on the services of Martin Caceres and Nikola Milenkovic due to suspension. Igor is the likely alternative, especially following the loan departure of Luca Ranieri.
The young Brazilian is set to partner Federico Ceccherini and club captain German Pezzella, thus forming the three-man Fiorentina backline. They will be supported by the two wing-backs in Pol Lirola and Dalbert, both of whom are expected to operate in a deeper role given the quality of the Juventus attack.
Moving forward, both Gaetano Gastrovilli and Alfred Duncan have been ruled out due to injury, which means Milan Badelj could once again start in holding midfield. He is likely to be partnered by Marco Benassi and Erick Pulgar in the second line of press.
Meanwhile, the Fiorentina attack is likely to be led by Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic, although new signing Patrick Cutrone has been included in the squad for the trip to Turin.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Dragowski; Ceccherini, Pezzella, Igor; Lirola, Pulgar, Badelj, Benassi, Dalbert; Vlahovic, Chiesa
- Fiorentina have lost more games and conceded more goals against Juventus in Serie A than against any other side.
- Juventus have found the net in each of their last 33 home league meetings against Fiorentina. It’s the longest current such streak for a side against a single opponent in Serie A history.
- Victory would see Juventus become the first side to reach 1600 Serie A wins.
- 15 of the last 16 times Juventus have suffered a league defeat, they won their next Serie A match. The last time the Bianconeri lost two games in a row in the top flight was in August 2015.
- Juventus have only failed to score in one of their 30 games in all competitions under Maurizio Sarri and that came in the reverse fixture against Fiorentina earlier in the season.
Player to Watch
After being left out on the bench in the last game, this could be an excellent opportunity for Ramsey to make an impact. His work-rate, combined with his ability to link-up with teammates in the final third could be useful against Fiorentina, who are the only side to prevent Juventus from scoring this season.
Moreover, Ramsey will also have a point to prove, after notching up only 11 league appearances this season, though he has had to contend with injuries. Nevertheless, it could be imperative for Fiorentina defenders to keep a close watch on the Welshman, who is more than capable of providing the supply that will allow the likes of Ronaldo and Higuain to make a difference this weekend.
Juventus 2-0 Fiorentina
Juventus have performed really well at home, especially in Serie A. And given their mighty attack, we expect them to dominate the game and secure a relatively easy win against a Fiorentina side, who are not having the best of times, of late.