Juventus will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the Serie A table when they take on relegation-threatened Genoa on Tuesday night.
Matches in the 2019/20 Serie A continue to come thick and fast as Matchday 29 kicks off on Tuesday. Reigning champions Juventus will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of the Serie A standings to seven points when they lock horns with Genoa at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Having lost the final of the Coppa Italia earlier this month, Juventus have recovered well in the Serie A. The Bianconeri resumed their campaign with a 2-0 away win against Bologna, which was followed by a 4-0 thrashing of Lecce last weekend. Currently four points clear of second-placed Lazio, Maurizio Sarri’s men will be looking to widen the gap with a win on Tuesday.
Genoa, on the other hand, find themselves precariously close to the relegation zone. Davide Nicola’s men are currently 17th in the league table, just a point above 18th placed Lecce. Il Grifone have failed to win both their matches since the restart of the season, losing 4-1 to Parma at home, before playing out a 2-2 draw with Brescia last time out.
The reverse fixture, played at the Allianz Stadium in October, was a heated affair that saw as many as three red cards. Juventus prevailed 2-1 though, courtesy a stoppage time match-winning penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Manager Davide Nicola does not have many injury concerns, with just two players set to miss out when Juventus come visiting. Captain Domenico Criscito and senior defensive midfielder Ivan Radojanovic are the two that will be unavailable for selection.
Nicola is likely to slightly tweak the 3-4-1-2 setup that he utilised against Brescia last time out, by adding another holding midfielder in order to add more steel to the side. On-loan Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin is set to start between the sticks.
Another Juventus loanee, Cristian Romero, ought to start in the three-man backline alongside Adama Soumaoro and Cristian Zapata, although Arthur Masiello is an option. Davide Biraschi slotted in as the right-sided wing-back last time out and should continue in the same position ahead of Paolo Ghighlione. Antonio Barreca should feature on the left side in the absence of Criscito.
Lasse Schone, signed from Ajax last summer, should come into the side, slotting in as the deepest of the three central midfielders. Partnering him on either side should be Valon Behrami and Stefano Sturaro, who will look to disrupt Juventus’s build-up play and push forward when in possession.
Andrea Pinamonti, who scored in the last game against Brescia, should start on Tuesday night. Antonio Sanabria could partner the youngster, although 36-year-old Goran Pandev is also an option for the manager.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Perin; Zapata, Romero, Soumaoro; Biraschi, Behrami, Schone, Sturaro, Barreca; Pinamonti, Sanabria
Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri will be unable to call upon three first-team players as Sami Khedira, Alex Sandro and Mattia De Sciglio all miss out with injuries. Danilo is back in contention after having served his one-match suspension.
The big headline ahead of the game, though, is that star midfielder Miralem Pjanic has signed for Barcelona, with Arthur Melo moving to Juventus. Both the players will continue playing for their current clubs till the season is over. Sarri should continue with his preferred 4-3-3 system, with Wojciech Szczesny lining up between the sticks for the champions.
Juan Cuadrado should continue at right-back, while the returning Danilo should walk right back into the starting XI, slotting in on the left side of the defence. Matthijs de Ligt, who scored in the last game, should continue to pair up with Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of the backline.
Pjanic, despite his current situation, should continue at the base of the three-man midfield and look to dictate the tempo of the game. Rodrigo Bentancur is likely to be retained in the centre of the park, while Blaise Matuidi should return to midfield, after starting at left-back last time out. Adrien Rabiot drops out to the bench.
Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo were both on the scoresheet against Lecce in the previous match and should start against Genoa. The former will operate centrally, with Ronaldo on the left while Federico Bernardeschi should feature on the right flank.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Danilo; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Ronaldo
- Since the 2013/14 season, Juventus have lost three of their six away games against Genoa (W3). This is their worst such away record in the league over the last six campaigns.
- Genoa have lost 63 games against Juventus and have conceded 213 goals against the champions till date – more than they have against any other opponent.
- Juventus have kept a clean sheet in their last three matches in the Serie A. They haven’t managed four shut-outs in a row since December 2018 (six).
- Genoa have beaten Juventus just two times since the 2016/17 season – only five sides have managed to do so against the Bianconeri during the same period.
- Davide Nicola has lost each of his five games as a manager in Serie A against Juventus so far.
Player to Watch
The Portuguese maverick had a bit of a starting trouble once the season resumed, firing blanks in the Coppa Italia semi-final and the final. However, Ronaldo has found his footing since the Serie A restarted. The 35-year-old scored in the win against Bologna, and followed it up with a goal and two assists against Lecce last time out.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United superstar now has 23 goals in 24 Serie A matches. He is currently five shy of leading goalscorer Ciro Immobile (28). With still ten matches to be played, there is time for Ronaldo to catch up to the Lazio striker and move ahead of him, provided he continues in the same vein of form.
Genoa 0-2 Juventus
Genoa did well to come back from two goals down to salvage a point against Brescia last time out. However, Il Grifone have been pretty vulnerable at the back of late, having conceded six goals in their last two matches and seven in their last two home matches.
Juventus, on the other hand, have not been all too free-flowing going forward, but are a solid unit at the back, boasting the best defensive record in the league. They have kept three clean sheets in their last three league games, while the goalscoring form of Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo bodes well for them.
The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts this one to end in a 2-0 victory for the reigning champions, with another clean sheet in the bag.