Juventus will be itching to bounce back to winning ways in Serie A, when they travel to the Mapei Stadium to take on Sassuolo this midweek.

Juventus will be aiming to take another step towards retaining their Serie A title when they face off against Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium in Matchweek 33 on Wednesday night.

The Bianconeri have had a few slip-ups of late, having lost to AC Milan last week before they managed to eke out a draw against Atalanta at the weekend. However, the fact that Lazio faced three defeats in a row has ensured that Maurizio Sarri’s side have stayed at the top of the table. They will now be hoping to return to winning ways and inch closer to another league title triumph.

Sassuolo, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last six matches in the league (W4 D2) and head into Wednesday’s fixture on the back of a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Lazio this past weekend. Currently eighth in the table, they are six points shy of Napoli in sixth place and are still in with a slim chance of securing Europa League football, provided the teams above them slip up.

The reverse fixture, played at the Allianz Stadium, saw Juventus come back from behind to hold Sassuolo to a 2-2 draw, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring from the penalty spot to salvage a point for the champions. And ahead of their latest meeting this week, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Sassuolo

Can Roberto De Zerbi lead Sassuolo to a win over Juventus? (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Can Roberto De Zerbi lead Sassuolo to a win over Juventus? (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi has a few key players missing for the game against the league leaders, with Pedro Obiang, Filippo Romagna and Gregoire Defrel all unavailable due to injuries.

The recent tweak of formation from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 has worked brilliantly for the Neroverdi and they are expected to set up in the same shape on Wednesday. While the manager has been rotating his squad aplenty of late, he is expected to go in with his strongest XI against Juventus.

Andrea Consigli is a certainty between the sticks for the hosts, while Marlon Santos and Gian Marco Ferrari should pair up at the heart of the defence, although Vlad Chiriches is an option. Jeremy Toljan is expected to continue at right-back over Mert Muldur, while Georgios Kyriakopoulos should get the nod at left-back over former Juventus man Rogerio.

With Obiang unavailable, Mehdi Bourabia should get the nod once again in the midfield double pivot. He is likely to partner the ever-present figure of Manuel Locatelli, who has been linked with a switch to Juventus of late. The playmaking responsibilities ought to fall on the shoulders of Filip Djuricic, who has four goals and six assists this term.

Domenico Berardi did not start in the last game, but should return to the starting XI on Wednesday, slotting in on the right flank. Jeremie Boga should be retained on the left wing, while top scorer Francesco Caputo should replace Giacomo Raspadori as the lone striker, despite the youngster scoring in the win over Lazio last time out.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan, Santos, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Bourabia, Locatelli; Berardi, Djuricic, Boga; Caputo

Juventus

There will be some changes made to the starting lineup by Maurizio Sarri as Juan Cuadrado is suspended for the tie due to accumulation of cards. Apart from the Colombian, Juventus will also be without Sami Khedira, Mattia De Sciglio and Merih Demiral, who is back in training, but needs to regain match fitness.

Wojciech Szczesny is the undisputed starter in goal for the Bianconeri, while Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci should continue as the two centre-backs, despite the latter picking up a knock in the last game. With Cuadrado suspended, Danilo should move to the right-back slot, with compatriot Alex Sandro starting on the left.

Miralem Pjanic, who has sealed a transfer to Barcelona, wasn’t 100% to start the last game. But, he ought to return to the base of the three-man midfield on Wednesday. Partnering him in the centre of the park should be Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot, who is finally getting a run of games. Blaise Matuidi will be the one to drop out.

No changes are expected in the frontline, despite the heavy load that Juventus have been carrying in recent games. Federico Bernardeschi should get the nod on the right over Douglas Costa, while Cristiano Ronaldo is a certainty on the left. Paulo Dybala should feature through the middle ahead of compatriot Gonzalo Higuain.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Rabiot; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Ronaldo

Key Stats

  • Juventus are the side Sassuolo have lost against most often in Serie A (10), while they also have conceded the most goals against the Bianconeri (32).
  • In each of their last seven Serie A matches against Sassuolo, Juventus have scored at least two goals, scoring 22 in total, at an average of 3.1 per game.
  • Juventus have won their second meeting of the season against Sassuolo in each of the six campaigns they have both been in Serie A, conceding just one goal in that run.
  • Sassuolo have won four league games in a row for the first time since August 2016. They could win five consecutive matches in a single Serie A season for the first time in their history.
  • Juventus have failed to win their last two matches (D1 L1). Excluding matches played after they have been crowned title-winners for that season, the Bianconeri have not failed to win in three consecutive games in Serie A since May 2017.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ageing like fine wine (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Ageing like fine wine (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Juventus’s form may have tailed off in the last couple of matches, but Cristiano Ronaldo continues to deliver in front of goal with utmost consistency. The 35-year-old has found the back of the net in every league game since the resumption of the campaign last month, including a point-saving brace in the last game against Atalanta.

Ronaldo has now scored 28 goals in 28 Serie A matches and has closed down the gap to top scorer Ciro Immobile to just one goal. With still six games left, the Portuguese talisman could very well end up finishing as the highest goal-getter in the Italian top flight.

In addition, he also has a couple of milestones that he can reach on Wednesday. Currently on 49 goals in 59 Serie A matches, he can become the first-ever player to score 50+ goals in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. He could also become the fastest player to reach 50 goals in Serie A among those who made their debut in the three points for a win era.

Prediction

Sassuolo 1-1 Juventus

Sassuolo have been in brilliant form of late, winning four matches in a row. Juventus, on the other hand, have suffered badly in the last two matches and were lucky to salvage a point from their last match against Atalanta.

On form, the hosts go into the game as favourites, but the presence of an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo in the opposition means they will have their task cut out. All things considered, it promises to be a tighty-contested battle with chances likely to come at a premium and could end up in another stalemate between the two teams.

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