Juventus look to rejuvenate their title challenge as they face Spezia at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday.

Juventus took a huge blow in their title defence last weekend as they struggled to beat Hellas Verona, with the Turin club suffering from a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.

Juventus are currently third in the league, ten points behind leaders Inter Milan, with a game in hand. Both Milan clubs’ victory in the last game week would make the Bianconeri feel like they missed out on three important points on Saturday.

Andrea Pirlo’s men must go on a winning run in order to keep their title challenge active and they will look to make amends against Spezia in their upcoming home game on Tuesday.

Spezia have been underwhelming after their huge victory over AC Milan. The Liguria based club lost 3-0 in Florence and rescued a point on Saturday after a 2-2 draw against Parma, thanks to a second-half brace from striker Emmanuel Gyasi.

Vincenzo Italiano’s men are currently 14th in the league, seven points clear of the drop zone. Spezia have been known as the giant-killers this season, as they have been a tough team to beat for the top Serie A clubs.

However, Juventus had no difficulty in beating Spezia 1-4 in the reverse fixture and will look for a similar result this time as well. Ahead of this game, let us take a look at both teams

Team News and Tactics

Juventus

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Andrea Pirlo will continue to be without his regular defensive players Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Juan Cuadrado. Paulo Dybala has been a long-term absentee with his recurring ligament issue and has flown to Barcelona to visit a specialist.

Alvaro Morata might miss out on this game as he’s still suffering from the effects of an intestinal illness. Pirlo is likely to switch to back four for this game with Danilo’s availability after he served a one-game suspension against Verona. He will replace Federico Bernardeschi.

Wojciech Szczesny will retain his place between the sticks. Danilo will return to his right-back position and he will be supported by Merih Demiral, Matthijs De Ligt and Alex Sandro in defence.

Rodrigo Bentancur will form the midfield partnership alongside Welshman Aaron Ramsey, with Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie being the wide players. Despite the lack of goals, Dejan Kulusevski is expected to partner Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

Pirlo will switch from a 3-5-2 formation last weekend to his favoured 4-4-2 system in this game. This system provides the team with a lot fluidity in attack, with Weston McKennie drifting in from left midfield allowing Sandro space on the left side to press forward. Ramsey’s box-to-box abilities have been a key factor for the Bianconeri and his link-up with Chiesa and Ronaldo will be vital.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Demiral, De Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, Bentancur, Ramsey, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo

Spezia

Vincenzo Italiano will be elated with the return of his top scorer M’bala Nzola, after being out for more than a month due to injury. His presence will be a key factor for Spezia in avoiding relegation this term. Italiano, however, will be without Riccardo Marchizza, Federico Mattiello and Juan Ramos for this fixture.

Ivan Provedel will play in goal, with Luca Vignali, Claudio Terzi, Martin Erlic and Simone Bastoni forming the back four. Tommaso Pobega will be in contention to replace Nahuel Estevez and partner Matteo Ricci and captain Giulio Maggiore in the three-man midfield.

Upfront, Nzola will replace Kevin Agudelo. He will be joined by Emmanuel Gyasi and Ricardo Saponara as they spearhead Spezia’s attack against Juventus.

Vincenzo Italiano plays a 4-3-3 formation, usually setting the team up for a counter-attack with runners from midfield and utilizing the pace they have upfront. Nzola will be a key man for Spezia and Italiano will count on his leading goalscorer to derive a positive result against the Turin giants.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Provedel; Vignali, Terzi, Erlic, Bastoni; Pobega, Ricci, Maggiore; Gyasi, Nzola, Saponara

Key Stats

  • Juventus and Spezia have faced each other only once in Serie A, with the Bianconeri winning that game 4-1.
  • Spezia have won only two of their last five away games in the league. (P5 W2 L2 D1)
  • Juventus have won all of their last five home games. (P5 W5 L0)
  • Spezia’s M’bala Nzola has 9 goals and 1 assist to his name in only 14 league games this season.
  • Juventus have won only one of their last five games in all competitions after having won each of their previous six.

Player to Watch

Federico Chiesa

After a slow start to life at Juventus, Federico Chiesa has come into his own in recent outings. He has played multiple roles for the team, sometimes even as the right wing-back in a 3-5-2 early on in the season.

His versatility has made him a permanent fixture in Andrea Pirlo’s lineup. Although he usually plays on the right-wing, he uses his pace and skill to find his way into the opposition box time after time and create goalscoring opportunities for his attackers or rather take a shot himself.

With 6 goals and assists apiece in Serie A, Chiesa is one of the most standout players for the Bianconeri this season and Pirlo will rely on his creativity to provide a strong result against Spezia on Tuesday.

Prediction

Juventus 3-1 Spezia

Spezia have not been in the best of form in recent weeks, however, their ability to turn up against the big teams in Serie A could be crucial, as Vincenzo Italiano’s men will look to cause an upset on Tuesday against Juventus.

With their title challenge currently going off track after a string of disappointing results, Andrea Pirlo’s men will look to find their winning form back again with a win against Spezia. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 victory for the Bianconeri given the quality that they possess and their recent form at home.

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