Juventus will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Serie A title challengers Lazio to the Allianz Stadium on Monday.

After a run of poor results, Juventus will be looking to get things back on track and take a step closer to retaining their Serie A crown when they welcome Lazio to the Allianz Stadium on Matchday 34.

Juventus are without a win in their last three matches, having lost 4-2 to AC Milan before playing out consecutive draws against Atalanta and Sassuolo. This has seen Atalanta close down the gap at the top to six points, while Inter Milan could go within three points of the champions by the time they kick off on Monday.

With five games left, Maurizio Sarri & co. will need to arrest this sudden downslide if they are to maintain their stranglehold at the top of the table. However, their task will hardly be made easy by a Lazio side, who will also be eyeing a late surge towards the title.

Simone Inzaghi’s side had been Juve’s closest challengers prior to the restart of the season last month. But a run of four matches without a win (D1 L3) has seen them drop down to fourth place, eight points behind the leaders. Their most recent fixture against Udinese ending in a goalless draw.

The reverse fixture played in December last year had seen Lazio beat a ten-man Juventus 3-1, with Luiz Felipe, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo scoring for the home team, while Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing the consolation goal for Sarri’s side. Ahead of their latest meeting on Monday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Maurizio Sarri needs to arrest his team's recent downslide (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Maurizio Sarri needs to arrest his team’s recent downslide (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Juventus will be without the services of winger Federico Bernardeschi, with the Italian suspended for accumulation of cards. Apart from him, Maurizio Sarii will also be unable to call upon Sami Khedira, Mattia De Sciglio and Merih Demiral.

Sarri is likely to make a couple of tweaks to the side that could not defeat Sassuolo last time out. In goal, Wojciech Szczesny should continue to feature ahead of Gianluigi Buffon, while Danilo and Alex Sandro, both of whom scored in the last game, should continue as the full-backs. Leonardo Bonucci should replace Giorgio Chiellini as Matthijs de Ligt’s partner at centre-back.

Miralem Pjanic ought to continue as the deepest of the three central midfielders and look to dictate the tempo of the game. Rodrigo Bentancur will be the workhorse alongside him, while Blaise Matuidi could be in line for a rest, meaning he could be replaced by compatriot Adrien Rabiot.

With Bernardeschi ruled out, Douglas Costa could be in line for a start on the right wing, although Juan Cuadrado is also an option. Paulo Dybala should replace Gonzalo Higuain as the centre-forward, while top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is a certainty on the left flank.

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

Lazio

Simone Inzaghi also has a host of injury concerns to cater to ahead of his team’s trip to Turin. The visitors will be without the services of Jony, Stefan Radu and Luis Alberto, the latter of which will be a huge blow for the club. Senad Lulic, Joaquin Correa, Adam Marusic and Lucas Leiva also remain sidelined, while Patric is suspended.

Lazio will be without Luis Alberto on Monday (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Lazio will be without Luis Alberto on Monday (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Inzaghi is unlikely to change the shape of the team, with the visitors expected to line up in a 3-5-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha. However, given the spate of injuries, there will be changes made to the side that failed to defeat Udinese last time out.

Luiz Felipe and Francesco Acerbi will occupy two of the three slots in the backline, with Bastos likely to come in for the injured Radu. Manuel Lazzari should feature as the right-sided wing-back, while Jony’s unavailability should pave the way for Jordan Lukaku to start on the left side.

The three man central midfield unit should see Sergej Milinkovic-Savic start alongside Marco Parolo and Danilo Cataldi. With Alberto unavailable, Milinkovic-Savic will have to take up more attacking responsibilities for Lazio on Monday. Leading goalscorer Ciro Immobile will pair up with Felipe Caicedo in the two-man strikeforce.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Bastos; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Parolo, Cataldi, Lukaku; Caicedo, Immobile

Key Stats

  • Juventus have scored 269 goals against Lazio in the Italian top-flight – the most they have scored against a single team.
  • Lazio have lost 81 games against Juventus – more than against any other Serie A opponent.
  • Juventus have kept five clean sheets in their last seven home matches against Lazio in Serie A (W5 D1 L1).
  • Since the resumption of the Serie A last month, only SPAL, Cagliari and Lecce have scored fewer goals than Lazio’s tally of eight.
  • Juventus are winless in their last three games (D2 L1), conceding at least twice in each match. The Bianconeri have not conceded at least two goals in four games in a row in Serie A since March 1993.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

The 35-year-old has caught up to leading goalscorer in the Serie A, Ciro Immobile, quite rapidly since the restart of the season last month. Ronaldo has now tallied up 28 goals from 29 league outings and is just a goal shy of the Lazio marksman.

Indeed, Ronaldo has netted seven goals in his seven league appearances post-lockdown, whereas Immobile has tailed off, finding the net just twice in six matches. Monday night will present the perfect opportunity for the Juventus talisman to level up or even go beyond the Lazio star in the race for the Serie A Golden Boot.

Prediction

Juventus 2-1 Lazio

Both teams are coming into the game on the back of some disappointing results and will be keen on bouncing back strongly. However, Lazio will have to make do without the services of Luis Alberto, the man who makes them tick, which could hold them back in the attacking half of the pitch.

Juventus, meanwhile, have been poor at the back of late, but their attack has been in good touch. Given the form Cristiano Ronaldo has been in, they should fancy themselves to find the back of the net without much of a problem. The return of Leonardo Bonucci should help solidify things at the back to an extent, which is why The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the league leaders.

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