Juventus travel to Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi to face Hellas Verona this Saturday, as they look to keep their title hopes alive for this season.
Hellas were held to a 2-2 draw against Genoa last weekend. The Gialloblu looked to be heading for their second win in a row courtesy of goals from Ivan Ilic and Davide Faraoni but were undone by a stoppage-time equalizer by Milan Badelj. Verona have not been in the best of form in recent games, with just one win in their last four league outings.
Ivan Juric’s men, however, have won their last three home games and will look to add to that tally when they host reigning champions Juventus at the Stadio MarcÁntonio Bentegodi on Saturday. Currently ninth in the league, Juric will want to inspire his troops to target the Europa League qualification for next season.
After a disappointing Champions League performance in a 2-1 loss against FC Porto, Juventus bounced back with a rather easy 3-0 victory over bottom-placed Crotone, thanks to an inspiring performance from their star man Cristiano Ronaldo.
La Vecchia Signora have an opportunity to reduce the gap to second-place AC Milan to just one point this weekend. The Bianconeri have an outside chance in this title race and will look to close their eight-point gap to league leaders Inter Milan with a win on Saturday.
It was a 1-1 stalemate between the two teams in the reverse fixture at the Allianz Stadium. Ahead of this game, let us take a look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Ivan Juric will be boosted by the return of key man Federico Dimarco, after serving his one-game suspension against Genoa. The Gialloblu will remain without several key players, with Nikola Kalinic, Ebrima Colley, Marco Benassi, Eddie Salcedo, Federico Ceccherini and Pawel Dawidowicz, all being sidelined due to injury.
Davide Faraoni and Adrian Tameze look doubtful for this fixture after picking up knocks in the last game.
Marco Silvestri should start in goal, with Giangiacomo Magnani, Koray Gunter and Matteo Lovato forming the back three. Federico Dimarco will return to the lineup as the left wing-back with Darko Lazovic switching to the right.
In central midfield, Miguel Veloso is expected to replace Tameze and play alongside Ivan Ilic. Up front Mattia Zaccagni and Antonin Barak will partner Kevin Lasagna to form Verona’s attack.
Ivan Juric resorts to a 3-4-2-1 formation with wing-backs Lazovic and Dimarco have a pivotal role in initiating the attacks. Zaccagni’s creativity up front has been a crucial factor for the home side and his link-up with Barak and Lasagna will be vital on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Magnani, Gunter, Lovato; Lazovic, Veloso, Ilic, Dimarco; Barak, Lasagna, Zaccagni
Andrea Pirlo faces a tricky team selection issue with his regular right-backs being unavailable for this clash, after Danilo picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against crotone. Also, the Italian will be without the services of Paulo Dybala, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Juan Cuadrado and Arthur Melo, as they continue to recuperate from their injuries.
➖2️⃣ to #VeronaJuve
Preparations for Saturday's match continues 🏃♂️⚽️#ForzaJuve
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) February 25, 2021
Wojciech Szczesny will replace veteran Gianluigi Buffon in goal. Radu Dragusin will take Danilo’s position at right-back, with Merih Demiral, Matthijs de Ligt and Alex Sandro retaining their places in the Juventus backline from the Crotone fixture.
Rodrigo Bentancur and Aaron Ramsey will form the two-man central midfield with Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie featuring as the two wide players. Dejan Kulusevski will partner Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.
Pirlo employs a fluid 4-4-2 system with Aaron Ramsey playing as the box-to-box midfielder. Weston McKennie moves into a more central role during the game with Sandro occupying more of the left flank to provide crosses. Chiesa will add his creative flair on the right side of the attack and his link-up with Kulusevski and Ronaldo will be a key factor for the Turin giants.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Dragusin, Demiral, De Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, Bentancur, Ramsey, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo
- The Bianconeri have not lost a single game this season in which Cristiano Ronaldo has scored.
- Hellas Verona and Juventus have faced each other 11 times in the league with the Turin giants winning 6 of those encounters (P11 W6 D3 L2).
- Mattia Zaccagni is Verona’s top performer with 5 goals and 7 assists in the league.
- Juventus have lost two of their last three away games in the league.
- The Gialloblu have a 100% win record in their last three home games in Serie A.
Player to Watch
14 seasons. 25 goals. Year in. Year out. Cristiano Ronaldo like clockwork and still going ⌚ pic.twitter.com/WQkI3m1bxR
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 23, 2021
With a brace against Crotone last weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo showed everyone why he should still be considered the best player in the world. With 18 goals in just 19 games, the Portuguese international is the leading goalscorer in Serie A and is well on his way to win the Capocannoniere this year.
Even at the age of 36, he’s been able to put on world-class displays week in week out for the Bianconeri. Juventus are yet to lose a game this season when Ronaldo scores and look to be a more formidable unit with his presence in the starting eleven. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be the biggest threat for the Verona defenders on Saturday night.
Hellas Verona 1-2 Juventus
Hellas are unbeaten in their last two games against the Bianconeri and will hope to make it three games in a row. Mattia Zaccagni’s performance will be crucial on the night and the Gialloblu will expect him to deliver against the Turin giants.
Juventus have been in patchy form in recent weeks and will look to go on a winning run to keep their title hopes alive. Andrea Pirlo’s men were unlucky not to win in the reverse fixture and will look to make amends for it in this game. And following their impressive performance against Crotone earlier this week, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for La Vecchia Signora.