Juventus will be hoping to make quick work of a struggling Torino side when La Granata visit the Allianz Stadium in a Serie A matchup on Saturday.
Juventus have had a worrisome start to life under new manager Andrea Pirlo. The Italian legend has taken over the reins from Maurizio Sarri and has struggled to be at the top of things, with his inexperience in management visible on a few occasions.
The defending Serie A champions are already six points behind current leaders AC Milan and while there are still 29 games left to go, Pirlo will be looking to close the gap as much as possible before the festive break.
Torino have had their own share of troubles starting the 2020/21 Serie A campaign. Just a single win to show for their efforts in 9 league outings so far, their only win has come against Genoa, who are a spot below Torino, at 19th on the table.
Currently underperforming massively, Marco Giampaolo would hope for a reversal of fortunes in this packed festive schedule that does see a lot of teams drop points.
Torino’s last match away at Juventus in Serie A was an unpleasant one, with the home side running away with the three points with a 4-1 scoreline. With two teams on opposite sides of the Serie A spectrum but also underperforming as per their respective expectations, let us now take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Alvaro Morata will be serving the first of his two-match suspension for his red card last week. Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral are all still a while away before returning from their respective injuries.
Pirlo has deployed a 4-4-2 setup mostly so far, especially with the likes of Demiral and Chiellini sidelined. Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci will be the central defensive partners, with Danilo on the left. Juan Cuadrado is likely to handle the right side, with the Colombian having eased into his defensive duties.
Dejan Kulusevski has been a breath of fresh air and should start on the right, with the enterprising and industrious Federico Chiesa on the left. Arthur Melo and Adrien Rabiot will continue to be the midfield partnership of choice for Juventus on Saturday as the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Rodrigo Bentancur have been restricted to cameos in Serie A under Pirlo.
In the absence of Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala should be assured a start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese just completed 750 career goals in midweek and will be gunning to add to his 8 goals so far in the 2020/21 season.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Danilo; Kulusevski, Arthur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Ronaldo, Dybala
Giampaolo prefers the three at the back philosophy and is likely to instruct his side to set up in a 3-5-2 shape. Daniele Baselli, Sasa Lukic and Mergim Vojvoda are all sidelined for the match against Juventus. Armando Izzo, Lyanco and Bremer are slowly building steady chemistry at the back and should start in central defence.
The wing-back slots should be occupied by Wilfried Singo and Ricardo Rodriguez, with the duo likely to fall deep to form a 5-man defensive setup whenever Juventus have possession. Soualiho Meite and Tomas Rincon will be responsible for keeping the shape of the midfield and the Juventus stars cramped for space in their buildups.
The creative impetus will fall upon Karol Linetty. Although deployed as the third midfielder, Linetty is likely to be given the freedom to roam free in order to create chances for the forward line.
Torino boast of an explosive attacking line that has produced the goods despite struggling to get points under their belt. Andrea Belotti and Simone Zaza should be up to the task once again.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sirigu; Izzo, Lyanco, Bremer; Singo, Meite, Rincon, Linetty, Rodriguez; Zaza, Belotti
1. Juventus have conceded just one goal total in the 4 home Serie A matches they have played this season.
2. Torino’s only Serie A win in the 2020/21 campaign has come in an away 2-1 result at Genoa.
3. Torino have failed to score in just two of their 9 Serie A matches so far this season.
4. Juventus have drawn 5 games in the 2020/21 Serie A campaign already, equalling the number of draws they had in the entire 2019/20 league season.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo has 8 goals in just 5 Serie A appearances this season but is second to Zlatan Ibrahimovic (10) in the top-scorers list.
Player to Watch
Juventus have not been as defensively covert as their previous campaigns view them to be. The defending Serie A champions, though, have only conceded 7 goals in Serie A this season so far in 9 matches. Despite the odds and the results, Torino have had one man firing at all cylinders – Andrea Belotti.
Third in the top-scorers list in the 2020/21 Serie A campaign right now with 7 goals to his name, Belotti will be the man carrying Torino’s hopes of snatching a point or causing an upset in Turin on Saturday. The Italian international would also love to bring out his A-game against an elite club like Juventus in an attempt to get a move that will be the next step up in his club career.
Expect Torino to try and feed Belotti the balls whenever they can. Whether Belotti can do something from it will be the key to Torino’s fortunes on Saturday.
Juventus 2-1 Torino
Cristiano Ronaldo is always dangerous after hitting a landmark and he will be hungry to cross Pele’s record tally soon after reaching 750 career goals. The fact that teams above Juventus are not dropping any points makes a win on Saturday even more important for Pirlo and co.
Torino will try and absorb the pressure and Belotti could be relied upon to get at least one goal for the away side. However, Juventus have just too much quality in their squad and we could see them snatch away all three points with a late charge.
We expect Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrea Belotti to be key figures in this matchup and right now, the Portuguese seems likely to edge it when it comes to scoring opportune goals. A late 2-1 win for the hosts is our choice.