Juventus remain desperate for positive results to improve on their standing in Serie A as they host Fiorentina in a crunch clash.

Juventus might have left their domestic difficulties behind during midweek to record a comprehensive victory over Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League. After qualifying for the next round in the continental competition, Massimiliano Allegri must now focus on improving his team’s form in Serie A, where they languish in the 9th spot.

Napoli and Milan have taken the mantle to set the tone this term, as they have already opened up an incredible 16-point gap over Juventus. The Old Lady’s immediate target would be to close the gap on Roma and Atalanta, who sit in 4th and 5th respectively, as finishing in the top four will surely be the main item on Allegri’s agenda.

Juventus haven’t won in the league since trumping Roma 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium on 18th October. Since then, they have drawn against Inter Milan and recorded back-to-back defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona. They now host Fiorentina, who sit three points ahead of them, and Juventus have to beat them by more than three goals to get ahead of them in the rankings.

Fiorentina have had a bright start despite losing some of their games to the top sides in the league. Their defeat to Lazio was their latest such instance, but they have shown character when meeting teams considered below their level.

Spezia were dismantled 3-0 in their latest fixture last weekend, courtesy of a Dusan Vlahovic hattrick, which kept them three points ahead of Juventus. Last season, in this fixture, Fiorentina emerged victorious 3-0 and will be dreaming of emulating such a result again.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Compared to a few weeks back, Allegri will be relieved to see his injury list trimmed down to just two certain absentees. Moise Kean and Mattia De Sciglio are the only confirmed players to be ruled out of this clash. Otherwise, the manager has a near full-strength squad to choose from for the Fiorentina clash.

Federico Chiesa has returned from a muscular problem that has troubled him all season. The Italy international might slot in straight away in the side, after having enjoyed a goalscoring comeback in midweek. Matthijs de Ligt also returned to full fitness after a few niggling issues recently, and the Dutchman is expected to start.

He will partner with Giorgio Chiellini in central defence. Aaron Ramsey is also back in contention after returning to full training following muscular issues. The Welshman is not expected to start just yet, with Allegri most likely to stick with the midfield pairing of Weston McKennie and Manuel Locatelli, who were superb in midweek.

Allegri is expected to retain his effective 4-4-2 system, with Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi providing the width in attack. The front-two of Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala seems to be gelling together well in recent weeks, and the pair will continue to start.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Chiellini, Sandro; Chiesa, McKennie, Locatelli, Bernardeschi; Morata, Dybala

Fiorentina

Vincenzo Italiano does have a few issues to contend with and could make changes to his playing XI. Goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski is sidelined with a hamstring problem, which will allow Pietro Terracciano to deputise and start against Juventus.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Gonzalez remains out after a Covid-19 infection as he isolates himself for the next few days. His absence will allow Italiano to play Jose Callejon to provide width from the right side. Last matchday’s hattrick hero, Dusan Vlahovic, will lead the line without a doubt, with support from Riccardo Saponara.

Fiorentina will keep their shape in a 4-3-3 with Nikola Milenkovic and Matija Nastasic holding fort in central defence. Alvaro Odriozola and Cristiano Biraghi will give them impetus charging up and down from full-back positions.

Arsenal loanee Lucas Torreira will take his place in the holding midfield position to keep his Juventus counterparts in check. Giacomo Bonaventura and Gaetano Castrovilli will partner the Uruguayan in central midfield.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Terracciano; Odriozola, Milenkovic, Nastasic, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Castrovilli; Callejon, Vlahovic, Saponara

Key Stats

  • Juventus have never lost two games in a row at home to Fiorentina for the past 82 times they have played in Turin.
  • This season, Fiorentina have lost six and won five in their eleven top-flight fixtures, making them one of the most unpredictable teams in the division.
  • There have been 2.5 goals scored in Fiorentina’s last three away games.
  • Juventus are winless in their last three Serie A games, losing their previous two.
  • Juventus have seen over 2.5 goals in seven of their last eight home matches against Fiorentina in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

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With Vlahovic taking the field after an impressive few weeks in purple, there will be plenty of eyes on the Fiorentina hitman. However, fans will need to keep a close watch on a certain Paulo Dybala, who is slowly getting back to his very best. The Argentine finally looks settled after a difficult period at Juventus.

Ten goal contributions in as many games this season across competitions is a reflection of his rising form. Dybala’s brace against Zenit in midweek will have boosted his confidence and polished his scoring boots for the contest against Fiorentina at the weekend. He certainly has put himself under the spotlight, and the pressure will be on the Argentine to perform positively and decisively for Juventus in this game.

Prediction

Juventus 2-2 Fiorentina

Even as the Old Lady tries desperately to rise up the Serie A ladder, Fiorentina are likely to stand tall and protect their advantage over their bitter rivals. That does not imply Viola will simply hold out for a draw; in fact, they will try their utmost to get three points as they did last season in Turin.

It’s difficult to predict a result between Juventus, who are desperate for a win, and Fiorentina, who has someone like Vlahovic, getting into a scoring rhythm. We are expecting plenty of goals from this clash, with a scoreline of 2-2 the likely outcome.

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