Juventus will be hoping to close down the gap to league leaders AC Milan when they lock horns against Sampdoria in Matchday 20 of the 2020/21 Serie A this weekend.
Juventus will be aiming to make it four wins in four games across all competitions when they travel to Stadio Luigi Ferraris to take on Sampdoria on Saturday evening in the Serie A.
Following their disappointing defeat to Inter Milan, Juventus have bounced back strongly beating Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana final which was followed by victories against Bologna and SPAL in the league and Coppa Italia respectively. And, Andrea Pirlo will be hoping that his team, who are fourth in the table, will cut down the gap to leaders AC Milan to four points with a win.
Sampdoria, on the other hand, find themselves in the midtable, stationed in the tenth place, after winning three of their last four league games (L1) that includes a victory over Inter Milan. The Blucerchiati defeated Parma 2-0 in their most recent fixture and Claudio Ranieri will be aiming to mastermind another upset win and take his side closer to the top six.
The reverse fixture played at the Allianz Stadium in September last year saw Juventus win 3-0 with goals coming from Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ahead of their latest meeting on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Claudio Ranieri will have to contend with the absences of Manolo Gabbiadini and Alex Ferrari when the champions come visiting this weekend. Apart from the duo, the Sampdoria manager has no injury or suspension concerns and should be able to field his strongest lineup on Saturday.
The home team will line up in a 4-4-2 formation set up to defend deep and break on the counter. Emil Audero will man the goal for the Blucerchiati, with protection coming from the backline of Bartosz Bereszynski, Maya Yoshida, Omar Colley and Tommaso Augello, who will all look to stay compact and not give any space to the Juve attackers.
Albin Ekdal ought to start in the middle of the park, partnered by Morten Thorsby. The duo will look to sit behind the ball and shield the defence. The wide midfield slots are likely to be filled by Antonio Candreva and Mikkel Damsgaard, who will be the main outlets for Sampdoria when they try to catch Juventus out on the break.
The wide duo will act as the supply chain of chances for the two-pronged attacking unit of Keita Balde Diao and captain Fabio Quagliarella, although Gaston Ramirez is also an option at the manager’s disposal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Thornsby, Ekdal, Damsgaard; Quagliarella, Keita Balde
Juventus will once again be without the services of the injured Paulo Dybala while Dejan Kulusevski, who starred in the cup win against SPAL earlier this week, is suspended for the contest. Having rung in the changes for the cup tie, Andrea Pirlo is expected to recall his heavy-hitters to the lineup on Saturday evening.
Wojciech Szczesny will return to man the goal for the reigning Serie A champions while Matthijs de Ligt should make his first Serie A start since recovering from coronavirus, partnering Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of the Juventus defence.
Juan Cuadrado and Danilo will be the two full-backs on the right and left sides respectively. The latter will play closer to the two centre-backs, while the former pushes forward regularly, giving it a feel of a three-man defensive unit during the attacking phases.
Arthur Melo and Rodrigo Bentancur should occupy the central midfield slots for Barcelona after being rested in midweek. Weston McKennie should return on the right, with the USMNT international likely to veer infield more often than not, to leave space open for Cuadrado to maraud forward.
Federico Chiesa, who impressed after coming on from the bench against SPAL, ought to get the nod on the left flank, from where he will look to fashion chances for the attackers. Cristiano Ronaldo should line up at the top alongside Alvaro Morata, who was on the target in the cup tie earlier in the week.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Danilo; McKennie, Arthur, Bentancur, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo
- Juventus have won their last two Serie A matches against Sampdoria without conceding a single goal. The last time they won three in a row in the league against the Blucerchiati without letting in a goal was way back in 1977.
- Sampdoria have scored at least two goals in their last four home matches in the Serie A.
- Juventus have netted at least two goals in six of their last seven matches against Sampdoria in all competitions.
- Sampdoria and Juventus have not drawn any of their last eight Serie A matches played in Liguria, with the home side winning three and visitors coming out on top five times. The last draw was played out in 2011.
- Juventus have won their last three matches in all competitions and have managed to keep a clean sheet in each of those encounters.
Player to Watch
The Portuguese maverick has been in the news for the wrong reason of late, as he is set to be investigated by authorities over a potential breach of coronavirus regulations after he travelled to celebrate his partner’s birthday. Amid the controversy, Ronaldo will be aiming to keep his focus and deliver on the field for Juventus.
So far this term, Ronaldo has already plundered 20 goals and 3 assists from 21 matches in all competitions, with his tally of 15 strikes in the Serie A being the highest so far this term. Fresh after a rest, having been left out of the matchday squad for the cup game, the 35-year-old will be gunning to get back on the field.
Sampdoria 0-2 Juventus
Sampdoria have been in a good moment of late. Having pulled off a shock win over Inter Milan earlier this month, Claudio Ranieri’s men will certainly back themselves to spring a surprise again, this time against Juventus.
However, the reigning champions have bounced back strongly from their defeat to Inter, and have been impressive in their last three matches. Solid in defence and penetrative going forward, Andrea Pirlo’s men are hitting their strides and given the quality that they possess, they should be able to see off the home team and bag a win this weekend.