Juventus will look to return to winning ways in Serie A when they lock horns with local rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole on Saturday evening.
Reigning Serie A champions Juventus will be hoping to get their campaign back on track when they face off against neighbours Torino in matchweek 29 at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino this weekend.
Juventus’ title defence has fallen apart under new manager Andrea Pirlo as they sit third in the Serie A table, ten points off of leaders Inter Milan. The Bianconeri suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to minnows, Benevento, in their last league game and Pirlo will be hoping that his team is able to produce a strong reaction and get back to winning ways, with the likes of AS Roma and Atalanta close behind.
Torino have had a disappointing campaign as well, as they find themselves in the relegation battle. Indeed, Davide Nicola’s side are currently 17th in the standings, just one point clear of Cagliari in 18th. Il Toro have won just one of their last four matches in Serie A, with their latest fixture ending in a 1-0 defeat to Sampdoria. However, given Juve’s struggles, they will hope to make the most of it this weekend.
The reverse fixture, played out in December last year, saw Juventus make a late comeback to win 2-1 with goals coming from Weston McKennie and Leonardo Bonucci after Nicolas Nkoulou had given Torino an early lead. Ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Torino are set to be without the services of Lyanco and Wilfried Singo for the derby while Nicolas Nkoulou is also a major doubt with an injury problem. Other than that, manager Davide Nicola has no major problems as he gears up for one of his toughest assignments since becoming the club’s manager back in January.
Having set his team up in a 3-5-2 formation in the last couple of matches, Nicola will make a slight tweak on Saturday, dropping one central midfielder to accommodate Simone Verdi in the attacking midfield role, thus essentially changing the setup to more of a 3-4-1-2.
Verdi will play just in behind the two central strikers in Andrea Belotti and Antonio Sanabria and look to feed the two with chances while getting into goalscoring positions himself. Cristian Ansaldi and Nicola Murru should be the two wing-backs with the onus of providing width and hitting crosses into the box on the duo.
Tomas Rincon and Rolando Mandragora will hold down the fort in the middle of the park, providing a screen to the three-man defensive unit of Armando Izzo, Gleison Bremer and Alessandro Buongiorno. Salvatore Sirigu will be the man between the sticks for the home team.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Sirigu; Izzo, Bremer, Buongiorno; Ansaldi, Rincon, Mandragora, Murru; Verdi; Sanabria, Belotti
Juventus have a myriad of roster issues heading into Saturday’s game as key defender Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral have tested positive for coronavirus and will miss out. In addition to that, Paulo Dybala, Weston McKennie and Arthur Melo have been suspended by the club for breaching national COVID-19 protocols.
Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also misses out due to suspension. There is some good news, though, as Alex Sandro is fit and available for selection while Giorgio Chiellini is also fully fit after having picked up an injury while on international duty with Italy. The duo is likely to occupy two of the four slots in the Juventus backline against Torino.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 2, 2021
As for the remaining two slots, Juan Cuadrado should slot in at right-back while Matthijs de Ligt lines up as Chiellini’s partner at the centre. The former will look to bomb forward on the right flank at every possible occasion whereas Sandro, on the opposite flank, will tuck in close to the two centre-backs during attacking phases.
The defence will be further shielded by Rodrigo Bentancur in the middle of the park, although Danilo is an option for the manager, with the Brazilian having played in midfield on a few occasions of late. Adrien Rabiot, meanwhile, is a certain starter in the second central midfield slot.
Federico Chiesa, who has been one of the few positives for Juventus this term, should get the nod on the left flank while Aaron Ramsey slots in on the right side of the midfield. However, the ex-Arsenal man will drift into central areas more often than not and look to link up with the two centre-forwards in Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Chiellini, Sandro; Ramsey, Bentacur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo
- Juventus have won 10 of their last 11 away matches against Torino in Serie A – including the last five. They have kept eight clean sheets during this run.
- Torino have won just one of their last 29 Serie A matches against Juventus (D6 L22).
- Juventus have found the back of the net in each of their last 19 Serie A fixtures against Torino.
- Torino striker Andrea Belotti has scored three goals in 13 matches against Juventus in Serie A. Among the 23 sides he has faced more than twice in the top-flight, the Bianconeri are the only opponent against which he has never won (D2 L11).
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just one of his 72 direct free-kick attempts for Juventus in all competitions. That goal came against Torino in July 2020.
Player to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo has 35 goal contributions in 34 games for Juventus this season 🤯
36 years old and still going strong 🐐 pic.twitter.com/Eq3KuVT1DJ
— Everything Cristiano (@EverythingCR7_) April 1, 2021
Ronaldo, despite Juventus’ struggles domestically and in Europe, has had another solid season on a personal level, having scored 23 goals in Serie A and is the leading goalscorer currently in Serie A. But, with Romelu Lukaku bearing down on him, the 36-year-old will be hoping to extend his lead at the top with a goalscoring display this weekend.
There have been plenty of questions raised over Juventus’s decision to sign him as well as his future at the club. The Portuguese maverick, though, will be aiming to let his game do the talking by leading the team to a victory and keeping their hopes of a title win, however faint, alive.
Torino 1-2 Juventus
Torino have given a decent account of themselves in the past couple of matches despite losing to Sampdoria last time out. And they will make life difficult for their local rivals, who seem to be going through a rough patch. However, following the defeat to Benevento, Cristiano Ronaldo as well as the entire team will be fired up to get things right.
And given the quality that they have, with the likes of Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa supporting Ronaldo, the Bianconeri should be good for a narrow win in the Derby della Mole this Saturday.