Juventus will be hoping to make it two wins in two when they face off against Genoa at the Allianz Stadium this weekend in the 2020/21 Serie A.

Reigning champions Juventus will be aiming to keep up the pace with second-placed AC Milan when they lock horns with Genoa at home in Matchweek 30 of 2020/21 Serie A on Sunday afternoon.

The defence of their league title is pretty much over for Juventus as they sit twelve points behind leaders Inter Milan. But, with the likes of Atalanta and Napoli breathing down their necks, the Bianconeri cannot afford any more slip-ups. And having bounced back to winning ways against Napoli earlier in the week after two games without a victory, they will be hoping to build on it this Sunday.

Genoa, meanwhile, find themselves in the mid-table muddle. Currently 13th, Davide Ballardini’s side are ten points clear of the drop zone and just four below tenth-placed Sampdoria. A push for a top half finish seems doubtful, though, given as they have won just one of their last eight games, most recently playing out a 1-1 draw against ten-man Fiorentina.

The reverse fixture saw Juventus beat Genoa 3-1 courtesy of a Paulo Dybala goal and two late penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at proceedings.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Good news across the board for Andrea Pirlo heading into the game as there are no injury-related absentees. However, Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi, who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are quarantining.

Pirlo is expected to make a few changes to the side that beat Napoli in midweek, starting from goal, where Wojciech Szczesny is set to replace club legend Gianluigi Buffon.

There could be one change in defence, with Juan Cuadrado moving back to the right-back slot after starting in an advanced position last time out. Danilo should move out to left-back to accommodate him. Matthijs de Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini are certain starters at the heart of the Bianconeri defence.

Dejan Kulusevski, who has recently been linked to Manchester United, could be in line for a start on the right flank for Juventus while Federico Chiesa should feature out on the left wing. The duo will be the main supply line of chances with their crosses from the wide areas. Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot should hold the fort in the middle of the park for the reigning champions.

Paulo Dybala was brilliant against Napoli, but Pirlo has confirmed that the Argentine is not yet ready to start. Instead, Alvaro Morata should once again get the nod alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Juventus’ two-pronged strike-force.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Chiellini, Danilo; Kulusevski, Bentancur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo

Genoa

Genoa are set to be without key midfielder Kevin Strootman, who is out with a suspension, while Luca Pellegrini and Lennart Czyborra miss out due to injuries. Davide Ballardini will set up his team in a 3-5-2 formation, looking to defend deep and deny any spaces for Juventus to work with.

In goal, Mattia Perin could be in for a busy outing and will need all the protection he can get from the three-man defensive unit of Andrea Masiello, Ivan Radovanovic and Domenico Criscito. Davide Biraschi and Davide Zappacosta should be the two wing-backs, who will largely stay deep and support the centre-backs but look to break on the counter.

Miha Zajc, Milan Badelj and Nicolo Rovella should be the three central midfielders who will largely sit behind the ball and look to screen their backline. Valon Behrami is another option that manager Ballardini could consider, although Zajc could be preferred as he would offer a bit more in the attacking sense.

Mattia Destro, who is Genoa’s top scorer with 10 goals this term, should get the nod at the top alongside Gianluca Scamacca, although veteran striker Goran Pandev is also a viable option for the manager.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Perin; Masiello, Radovanovic, Criscito; Biraschi, Zajc, Badelj, Rovella, Zappacosta; Destro, Scamacca

Key Stats

  • Juventus are unbeaten in 35 of their last 38 home matches in Serie A.
  • Juventus are undefeated in their last 16 home matches against Genoa in all competitions.
  • Genoa have drawn 11 matches in Serie A this season. Only Torino (12) have managed more. Il Grifone have seen five of their last eight games end in stalemates.
  • Juventus have conceded at least one goal in each of their last five league games. The last time they went on a longer run without a clean sheet was under Maurizio Sarri (July 2020).
  • Domenico Criscito, if he features on Sunday, will be making his 250th appearance for Genoa across all competitions.

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

Even though the possibility of him starting on Sunday were dismissed by Andrea Pirlo, all eyes will be on Paulo Dybala if and when he comes on the field. It has been a difficult season thus far for the Argentine, what with not being a regular under the new manager to suffering an injury earlier this year that sidelined him for three months.

Not to mention all the speculation surrounding his future as he enters the final year of his contract. However, against Napoli, Dybala showed that he can put all the setbacks behind to become a key player for Juventus in the run-in, scoring a second half goal. He will want to build on it against Genoa and re-establish himself as one of the Bianconeri’s top players.

The fact that he boasts of a fine record against Genoa only bodes well for him and Juventus. Indeed, Dybala has scored seven league goals against the Grifone, only managing more against Udinese (8).

Prediction

Juventus 2-0 Genoa

Juventus got back to winning ways in their last game, getting the better of a top-four rival in Napoli and will be itching to build upon that and recover their mojo. Genoa, meanwhile, have struggled to pick up victories this term and are unlikely to pose much of an attacking threat on the afternoon given that they boast the joint second-worst attacking record in Serie A this term (31 goals scored).

While the visitors will make things difficult at the back, Juventus, with their quality of players, should be able to find a way through. Thus, The Hard Tackle predicts Andrea Pirlo & co. to register a 2-0 win, closing the gap to second-placed AC Milan to one point.

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