Juventus will look to close the gap to the top four in Serie A when they travel to the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara to take on Bologna on Saturday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus have rediscovered some semblance of form in recent weeks. The defeats to Chelsea and Atalanta have been followed with a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

The Bianconeri will look to extend the run to five games when they take on Bologna on Saturday. A win will help keep the faint hopes they have of still making next season’s UEFA Champions League alive. However, a loss will see Bologna move to with a point of the Old Lady.

Juventus have looked a pale shadow of their old selves this season. While they have eked out results, they have been far from convincing. Some of their wins had more to do with individual brilliance than any tactical nous shown by the manager or the team.

While Juventus go into the game in good form, the same cannot be said of Bologna., The latter have suffered back to back losses to Fiorentina and Torino in Serie A recently. Buoyed on by a home crowd this weekend, it remains to be seen if they can silence the Bianconeri on the night.

Allegri’s side have an excellent record against Bologna and will hope to keep the run going this time as well. It promises to be an interesting match between two sides who are closer to each other in quality and performances this season than one might think.

The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Bologna

Bologna go into the game with just one player injured. Jerdy Schouten will miss out as Sinisa Mihajlovic prepares his side for the game. I Rossoblu are currently tenth in the table and can climb to within a point of Juve, should they win on the night. The home side will also be boosted by the return of Nicolas Dominguez from suspension. The midfielder is expected to go straight into the playing XI.

Lukasz Skorupski is the automatic starter in goal with Adama Soumaoro, Gary Medel, and Arthur Theate ahead of him in a three-person defence. Mattias Svanberg, who is a transfer target for Tottenham, and Dominguez will be tasked with holding the fort in midfield. The better they do, the more the chances of Lorenzo De Silvestri and Aaron Hickey wreaking havoc from the flanks.

Roberto Soriano and Musa Barrow will be tasked with crafting chances for Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian striker can be a handful on his day and cause the Juventus defence problems. Barrow, in particular, has excelled in a free role and has looked good of late. How well Juventus shackle him could determine how the Bologna attack can trouble the visitors on the night.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1)Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; De Silvestri, Dominguez, Svanberg, Hickey; Soriano, Barrow; Arnautovic.

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Juventus

Unlike Bologna, Juventus have several injuries to contend with. With Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala out injured, Allegri will need to rally his other troops to step up and make themselves counted.

With Dejan Kulusevski also not at full fitness, the onus will fall on Federico Bernardeschi to make the difference on the wings. Given that the Italian is off form, he will need to step up. The same goes for Alvaro Morata, who has flattered to deceive all season. With Dybala out, the onus is on him to lead the line. Whether he too rises to the challenge remains to be seen.

Juventus will also be without Danilo and Georginio Chiellini. That means the visitors will be four first-team players on the night. Man for man, however, they have options to call upon. Whether those players will rise to the occasion and take their opportunity is the question.

Wojciech Szczesny is a sure starter in goal, with Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt forming the centre-back pairing ahead of him. Luca Pellegrini looks set to start at left-back, with Juan Cuadrado occupying the other flank.

The midfield will have both solidity and dynamism thanks to Manuel Locatelli, Rodrigo Bentancur and Weston McKennie. How well the trio performs on the night could determine how the attack thrives. Should they go missing, the frontline could effectively get cut off. Alvaro Morata looks set to lead the line, with Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean occupying the flanks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3)Szczesny; Pellegrini, de Ligt, Bonucci, Cuadrado; McKennie, Locatelli, Bentancur; Bernanrdeschi, Morata, Kean

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Key Stats

  • Juventus have won their last ten matches against Bologna.
  • Bologna have lost the most matches in Serie A to Juventus (77).
  • Bologna’s last home win against Juventus was in 1998.
  • Juventus have scored just 23 goals in Serie A this season. Bologna have scored 24 themselves.
  • Juventus have scored at least two goals in 10 of their last 11 matches against Bologna in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Juan Cuadrado

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The Colombian is likely to be Juventus’s biggest offensive threat on the flanks. Their options are somewhat limited, with Federico Chiesa out and Dejan Kulusevski not fully fit. A lot can be salvaged if Cuadrado turns up the heat on the night.

With three goals in 20 matches, the 33-year-old has been one of Juventus’s best performers this season. With an out of form Moise Kean ahead of him on the wing, the onus to create openings and run into channels could fall onto Cuadrado. An excellent set-piece taker and crosser, he could fashion the chances that could make the difference on the night.

Prediction

Bologna 1-1 Juventus

Given Bologna’s poor run of form of late, the match should have been a straightforward win for Juventus. However, injuries to key players have levelled the playing field to a large extent. Juventus have struggled to get into their groove all season, and it is difficult to imagine them doing so sans their best players. That is why, The Hard Tackle predicts this one to end in a 1-1 stalemate.

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