Juventus will be aiming to keep their chances in the Serie A title race alive when they lock horns with Benevento at home this weekend.
Reigning Serie A champions will be hoping to keep up the pace with league leaders Inter Milan when they face off against Benevento at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday in Matchweek 28.
Following their disappointing exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of FC Porto last weekend, Juventus produced a strong reaction, beating Cagliari 3-1. However, Andrea Pirlo’s side are ten points behind leaders Inter Milan and one below AC Milan in second and will be aiming to cut down that gap with a win this weekend.
Benevento, meanwhile, are without a win in their last eleven fixtures, and head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Fiorentina in their previous outing. As a result, Filippo Inzaghi’s side are just 16th in the table, just four points above the drop zone and need to start collecting points to move in the opposite direction.
The reverse fixture played in November last year ended in a 1-1 draw with Alvaro Morata’s goal getting cancelled out by Gaetano Letizia. And ahead of their latest contest on Sunday afternoon, The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Juventus will once again be without the services of Paulo Dybala, who has been linked with a move to the Premier League. Apart from the Argentine, the Serie A champions will also have to make do without Aaron Ramsey, Merih Demiral and Alex Sandro. In addition, Juan Cuadrado misses out due to a suspension.
Andrea Pirlo will set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation which will transition to a situational 3-5-2. The Juventus manager hinted that veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will start between the sticks on Sunday afternoon. Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt are the obvious picks in the centre-back slots.
With no Cuadrado and Sandro, Danilo and Federico Bernardeschi should take up the full-back slots on the right and left sides respectively. During the attacking phases, we will see Bernardeschi push forward and add numbers upfield, with Danilo tucking in alongside the two centre-backs, effectively operating as an additional central defender.
Adrien Rabiot should start in the middle of the park alongside summer signing Arthur Melo, who will likely essay the deep-lying playmaker role while the former provides the legs in the engine room.
Federico Chiesa is an undisputed starter out on the left flank from where he will look to create chances for his attacking partners. On the opposite wing, Dejan Kulusevski will feature as confirmed by Pirlo in his pre-match presser. Another player who will be starting as confirmed by the manager is Alvaro Morata, who will have Cristiano Ronaldo as his partner at the top.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Bernardeschi; Kulusevski, Arthur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo
Pasquale Schiattarella and Kamil Glik are both suspended for the trip to Turin while the likes of Iago Falque, Fabio Depaoli and Gaetano Letizia, who scored in the reverse fixture miss out with injuries for Benevento on Sunday afternoon.
Filippo Inzaghi will set his team up in his preferred 3-5-2 formation against the reigning champions with Lorenzo Montipo manning the goal.
Alessandro Tuia, Luca Caldirola and Federico Barba will be the three centre-backs trying to keep the trident of Ronaldo, Morata and Chiesa quiet. Andres Tello and Riccardo Improta ought to be the two wing-backs on the right and left sides, respectively. Both are likely to play deeper than usual to try and deprive the home team any space to exploit.
Nicolas Viola and Artur Ionita will provide further security to the defence from the centre of the park while Perparim Hetemaj will be charged with providing the forward thrust when Benevento do break forward with the ball. Gianluca Lapadula and Adolfo Gaich will be the two centre-forwards who will look to make life difficult for the Juventus defenders.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Montipo; Tuia, Caldirola, Barba; Tello, Hetemaj, Viola, Ionita, Improta; Lapadula, Gaich
- Juventus have won their last seven home matches in Serie A, doing so with at least a two-goal margin every time.
- Benevento have failed to win their previous eleven matches in Serie A (D5 L6).
- Juventus currently have 55 points from 26 Serie A games. In the 21st century, they have gone on to win the title just twice after having collected 55 points or lesser at this stage of a season.
- In each of their previous three meetings in Serie A, both Juventus and Benevento have managed to find the back of the net.
- No newly-promoted team has managed to remain unbeaten in a single season against Juventus since Sampdoria did it 2012/13.
Player to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the active player with:
– Most goals scored
– Most hattricks scored
– Most freekick goals scored
– Most penalties scored
– Most weak foot goals scored
– Most headers scored pic.twitter.com/Ya6TbBzKnn
— TeamCRonaldo. (@TeamCRonaldo) March 20, 2021
After coming in for a lot of criticism following Juventus’ exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Porto, Ronaldo answered the critics in style as he banged in a hat-trick against Cagliari, leading the Bianconeri to a 3-1 victory.
With those goals, he now has 95 strikes for Juventus in just 122 appearances – just three shy of Paulo Dybala’s tally of 98 goals in 244 games, who is the 14th highest on the list of the club’s all-time leading goalscorers. Given the ominous signs he showed against Cagliari, expect the Portuguese maverick to do some more damage on Sunday.
Juventus 3-0 Benevento
Benevento are coming into the game without a win in their previous eleven and were hammered bu Fiorentina last time out. So, it is unlikely that they will stand a chance against the mighty Juventus, who bounced back strongly from their Champions League debacle. Expect Cristiano Ronaldo to be among the goals as the Bianconeri cruise to a straightforward win to move into the second place.