Juventus will be aiming to keep up the pace with leaders Inter Milan when they take on bottom feeders Crotone in Matchweek 23 of the 2020/21 Serie A.
Reigning Italian champions Juventus will be in action on Monday night in Serie A as they play hosts to relegation battlers Crotone in Matchweek 23, with an aim of closing the gap to the top.
With the two teams from Milan setting the pace in the race for the title, Juventus find themselves playing catch-up with their rivals. Andrea Pirlo’s side are currently fourth in the table, 11 points off of leaders Inter Milan, although they do have a couple of games in hand. The Bianconeri have failed to win all of their last three games in all competitions, most recently losing to FC Porto in the Champions League.
Crotone, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the table and look set for a drop back to the second division come the end of the season. Indeed, Giovanni Stroppa’s men have collected just 12 points from 22 games and are eight points from safety, following a run of seven losses in eight games (W1), including defeats in their last four matches, the latest one coming at the hands of Sassuolo.
The reverse fixture played in October last year saw Crotone pull off a shock 1-1 draw against a ten-man Juventus side with Federico Chiesa getting sent off. And, ahead of their latest meeting on Monday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Juventus have been hit with a fresh injury problem as Giorgio Chiellini is ruled out after coming off with a calf issue against FC Porto. Fellow defender Leonardo Bonucci also remains unavailable as do Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala and Arthur Melo. In addition, Adrien Rabiot is suspended for the contest, complicating matters for Andrea Pirlo.
Wojciech Szczesny could be taken out of the limelight following a disappointing display against FC Porto. In his place, seasoned campaigner Gianluigi Buffon ought to start in goal. With both Bonucci and Chiellini out, Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral become certain starters at the heart of the Juventus defence.
Danilo and Alex Sandro ought to be the two full-backs, although the former will tuck in alongside the three centre-backs more often than not while the latter pushes forward to support the attack.
Rodrigo Bentancur, who was woeful in the Champions League clash, is likely to start given the lack of options at the manager’s disposal. He will be tasked with breaking up play and initiating sharp transitions from midfield. He is likely to be partnered by Aaron Ramsey, who will look to provide more of a box-to-box presence.
Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie will be the two wide players, although the USMNT international will drift in centrally and leave the flank open for Sandro to charge forward. The former, however, will be key to create chances for the strike partnership of Dejan Kulusevski and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Alvaro Morata likely to be an option from the bench again.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Buffon; Danilo, Demiral, de Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, Ramsey, Bentancur, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo
Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa will be without the serves of Ahmad Benali for the trip to Turin while Giuseppe Cuomo also remains an absentee while Koffi Djidji isn’t part of the travelling party either. The visitors are expected to set up in a 4-3-1-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Alex Cordaz, against the reigning champions
Luca Marrone and Vladimir Golemic ought to shield the goalkeeper as the two centre-halves flanked by Andrea Rispoli and Arkadiusz Reca, both of whom are expected to stay compact at the back and deprive the hosts of any space to work with, in the attacking third.
Jacopo Petriccione will sit deep in midfield and provide further protection to the backline, with support coming from Nicolo Zanellato while Milos Vulic ought to complete the three-man central midfield unit.
The creative onus will fall on the shoulders of Junior Messias, who will look to operate in the hole behind the two forwards, who should be Adam Ounas and Samuel Di Carmine, with Simy also an option that manager Stroppa might consider.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Cordaz; Rispoli, Marrone, Golemic, Reca; Zanellato, Petriccione, Vulic; Messias; Ounas, Di Carmine
- Juventus are unbeaten in their last five Serie A matches against Crotone, although they have drawn the last two fixtures.
- Crotone have lost their last five away matches in Serie A and have conceded at least two goals in each of those contests.
- Juventus have won with at least a two-goal margin in their last four home matches in Serie A.
- Crotone have lost their last four Serie A matches. They have lost five in a row in the competition just twice – in October 2016 and February 2017.
- Juventus have failed to win four of their last seven Serie A matches against newly-promoted sides (D3 L1).
Player to Watch
Federico Chiesa's season so far:
3 Penalties won
17 Goals involvement
— Forza Juventus (@ForzaJuveEN) February 18, 2021
Having arrived from Fiorentina in the summer, Chiesa has quickly established himself as a key member of Andrea Pirlo’s setup. Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, the Italian international has been one of the few bright sparks in attack for Juventus in the current campaign.
So far this term, Chiesa has produced an impressive return of nine goals and seven assists from 30 games across all competitions, including the crucial away goal against FC Porto in the Champions League.
His ability to drive at the defenders with the ball, create chances and score will be crucial for Juventus especially with the likes of Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata not at their best in recent weeks. An important clash awaits the 23-year-old Chiesa.
Juventus 1-0 Crotone
Juventus have failed to win three games in a row now, losing their last two. However, in Crotone, they will be facing a team that cannot win to save their lives at the moment. Indeed, the bottom feeders have lost four in a row now and have been poor on the road. So, despite Juventus’ problems, they should be able to prevail on Monday night.