After being hammered in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, Juventus will be hoping to return to winning ways when they take on Atalanta in Serie A.

Juventus will be aiming to pick up their third straight win in the 2021/22 Serie A when they welcome top-four contenders Atalanta to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening.

After a torrid start to the season, Juventus find themselves pretty much out of the title race, as they currently sit eighth in the table, eleven points off of leaders Napoli. However, back-to-back wins over Fiorentina and Lazio have allowed them to close down to within just four points of the top four, with a win on Saturday likely to help further eat into that gap.

However, morale will be low after the 4-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Chelsea in midweek, and Atalanta will not make it any easier for Massimiliano Allegri’s side. La Dea are currently fourth in the standings, four points clear of Juventus but seven shy of the league leaders. With the likes of AS Roma, Lazio and Juve closing in on them, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men will be aiming to keep their noses in front.

Atalanta are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run across all competitions, with their latest Serie A encounter ending in a 5-2 win over Spezia that was followed by a 3-3 draw against BSC Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League. They will be intent on continuing this run when they visit Turin this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Juventus have been greeted with some good news heading into the game as Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi have recovered from their injuries and are available for selection. Massimiliano Allegri also confirmed that Mattia De Sciglio is also closing in a comeback, although the Atalanta clash comes too soon for him.

However, Aaron Ramsey and Danilo remain sidelined with injuries, while Dejan Kulusevski is also a doubt for the contest due to a toothache. Allegri also reaffirmed that Juventus would be sticking with a four-man defence despite the midweek result. Wojciech Szczesny, who was one of the few positives from that game, will continue in goal, hoping to keep a clean sheet.

Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro are pretty much nailed on for the full-back slots, with the former likely to be given the licence to push forward and provide width while attacking. Despite Chiellini’s availability, he might not be rushed back on Saturday, meaning Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt continue at the heart of the Bianconeri defence.

Arthur Melo could be in line for a start to provide some creative essence from the middle of the park for Juventus. He is likely to come in at the expense of Rodrigo Bentancur, while Manuel Locatelli will be tasked with holding down the fort in the centre. Federico Chiesa, meanwhile, ought to slot in on the left flank from where he will present a major attacking threat, with Weston McKennie starting on the right.

Up top, Allegri pretty much confirmed in his pre-match presser that Paulo Dybala would be starting for Juve against Atalanta. The Argentine will have a free-roaming role as he tries to pull the strings in the final third in search of fashioning goalscoring opportunities for himself and strike-partner Alvaro Morata.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; McKennie, Arthur, Locatelli, Chiesa; Dybala, Morata

Atalanta

Atalanta have welcomed Hans Hateboer back into the squad for their trip to Turin, but fellow wing-back Robin Gosens does not make the cut even though he is close to a full recovery. Apart from the German, Matteo Lovato also misses out, but Davide Zappacosta is part of the roster, having shaken off his ankle issue.

Juan Musso will man the goal as usual for La Dea, with Gian Piero Gasperini setting up the team in a 3-4-1-2 setup in front of him. Rafael Toloi, Jose Luis Palomino and ex-Juventus star Merih Demiral will form the three-man defensive unit for the visitors, with Davide Zappacosta and Joakim Maehle taking up the wing-back slots on the right and left sides, respectively.

Marten de Roon is a certain starter in the middle of the park, while Remo Freuler is likely to get the nod as his partner ahead of Teun Koopmeiners. The duo will look to press and harry their opposite numbers to force turnovers before setting their attacking teammates off on their way.

Mario Pasalic, who has been in good nick of late, ought to get the nod as the lone attacking midfielder for La Dea. He will provide support to the duo of Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic in the final third of the pitch.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Musso; Toloi, Demiral, Palomino; Zappacosta, de Roon, Freuler, Maehle; Pasalic; Ilicic, Zapata

Key Stats

  • Juventus have won only two of their last nine Serie A games against Atalanta (D6 L1).
  • Atalanta have collected 16 points from a possible 18 on the road in Serie A this season.
  • Juventus are undefeated in their last 22 meetings against Atalanta at home across all competitions.
  • Atalanta have scored at least two goals in eight of their last nine Serie A matches.
  • Juventus have lost two of their first six home games of the ongoing season for the first time since 1980/81.

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

Embed from Getty Images

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit in the summer, the spotlight was again back on Paulo Dybala in Turin, as he was tipped to regain the status of Numero Uno at the club. And things began well for the Argentine this season, as he has produced a return of six goals and four assists from 12 games in all competitions.

However, injuries have come to haunt the 28-year-old of late, limiting his time on the pitch, which in turn, has affected the form of the team. With Dybala set to return to the starting XI for the game against Atalanta, he will be expected to step up and deliver for the home team as they look to close down the gap to the Champions League qualifying spots.

Prediction

Juventus 2-2 Atalanta

Atalanta are a team that attacks with full intent and scores goals freely – they currently have the third-highest goal tally for the season in Serie A. They have scored two or more goals in each of their last six games across all competitions and have what it takes to hurt a Juventus defence that has been wobbly at best.

At the same time, the Bianconeri have also been struggling for goals, with a lack of creative element in the final third hurting them badly. But with Dybala set to return to the lineup, coupled with the presence of Federico Chiesa, they might be able to muster more of a threat going forward. The Hard Tackle is predicting this one to end in an entertaining, 2-2 draw.

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