Juventus will look to end their disappointing campaign on a high when they take on SS Lazio in their final home game of the season.
Juventus have endured a difficult season that will see them finish without a trophy for the first time since 2010/11. Massimiliano Allegri has led the Bianconeri to much glory, but the first season of his second spell in Turin has been underwhelming.
The Italian giants had an opportunity to add some gloss to the campaign when they took on Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia final earlier this week. Despite turning around a 1-0 deficit, Juventus failed to keep the Nerazzurri at bay, losing 4-2 in extra time.
With the fourth spot also in the bag, there is little for Juventus to play. With fatigue also a factor it remains to be seen what they showcase against Lazio. The visitors are far from assured of a fifth-place finish and have more to play for on the night.
Lazio will be keen to keep domestic rivals AS Roma from the coveted fifth spot that guarantees UEFA Europa League qualification. Finishing any lower will see them settle for a spot in the UEFA Conference League or even miss out on Europe altogether.
Despite their poor record against Juventus in this fixture, Lazio can feel reasonably optimistic going into the game. The Bianconeri are far from the force they once were and have displayed signs of uncertainty when pushed. Taking the game to the home side could prove to be the best bet for Lazio on the night.
The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
This passion, seen one last time, at the Allianz 💪🤍🖤
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 14, 2022
Massimiliano Allegri welcomed back Manuel Locatelli and Luca Pellegrini against Inter Milan and will have them available once again against Lazio. Full-back Mattia de Sciglio is also back in contention, having served his suspension for the cup final.
Weston McKennie continues to recover but is yet some way off featuring in a game. He will be on the sidelines alongside star winger Federico Chiesa who is out for the season. To further add to Juventus’s woes, the trio of Arthur, Danilo, and Denis Zakaria will also miss out thanks to injuries. Having seen his side play two hours earlier in the week, Allegri will need to make a few changes.
The Italian is likely to deploy a 4-4-2 that can be readjusted if and when required. Wojciech Szczesny will return to the starting lineup after making way for Mattia Perin against Inter. De Sciglio will also return to the playing XI at right-back in the absence of Danilo.
Giorgio Chiellini and Leandro Bonucci will rekindle their legendary partnership one last time in Turin while Luca Pellegrini could replace Alex Sandro at left-back. Chiellini has already revealed that he will be leaving the club this summer. He will be keen to do so after keeping a clean sheet in his final home game in Bianconeri colours.
Fabio Miretti has impressed when given an opportunity and should return to the fold against Lazio. He will be partnered with Manuel Locatelli in the middle of the pitch. Paulo Dybala was one of Juventus’s better players in the Coppa Italia and is yet another name set for a move away this summer. He is likely to start in his last game in front of home supporters for Juventus. Federico Bernardeschi could be preferred over Cuadrado on the right flank.
Dusan Vlahovic is a shoo-in upfront, while Alvara Morata could be handed an opportunity to impress from the left flank. Whether Allegri’s men will give their fans something to cheer for and the likes of Chiellini and Dybala a worthy goodbye remains to be seen.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Pellegrini, Chiellini, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Morata, Miretti, Locatelli, Bernardeschi; Dybala, Vlahovic
Maurizio Sarri’s side will be aware that a win against Juventus will guarantee them a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League. Securing it this Monday will give them enough freedom to approach the final game of the season with nothing on the line. Juventus are tired, lack an identifiable identity and have nothing to play for. And Lazio can make life harder for the hosts if they take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Sarri has a near fully-fit squad to choose from. The only concern is star striker Ciro Immobile, who is suffering from an ankle issue and is facing a race against time to be fit.
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) May 15, 2022
Furthermore, the quartet of Luiz Felipe, Adam Marusic, Patric and Immobile could all be suspended for Lazio’s final game of the season if they pick up a yellow card at the Allianz Stadium. If anything, this gives the visitors another reason to go all out and secure all three points on the night.
Lazio look set to turn out in their trademark 4-3-3 on the night. Thomas Strakosha will start in goal behind a back four of Manuel Lazzari, Patric, Francesco Acerbi and Adam Marusic.
Danilo Cataldi will start as the defensive lynchpin in midfield, giving Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic the freedom to push forward. The latter, in particular, poses a major threat to the Juventus defence. Felipe Anderson and Mattia Zaccagni will start up front alongside Pedro who could step in for Immobile.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Strakosha; Lazzari, Patric, Acerbi, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Luis Alberto; Anderson, Zaccagni, Pedro
- Juventus have defeated Lazio in 84 games so far, 15 more than any other opponent in their history.
- Massimiliano Allegri has led Juventus to 11 wins over Lazio in his last 12 games against them.
- The last time both sides drew at the Allianz Stadium was in 2012.
- Juventus have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six Serie A games. This is their worst such run since Allegri took over from Andrea Pirlo last summer.
- A win for Lazio will make it three away victories in a row for the first time since December 2020.
Player To Watch
End of An Era 💔
— Madhur (@im_madhur) May 15, 2022
The Argentine has scored nine times in 15 appearances against Lazio and has a knack for tormenting the Italian capital club. It will come as a surprise if he does not resume normal service on Monday night.
Dybala is also set to become a free agent this summer, meaning unless an agreement can be reached, this will be his final game for Juventus at the Allianz Stadium. Having made a name for himself in Turin, he should be motivated to leave a solid final impression.
With the clinical Dusan Vlahovic ahead of him, Dybala has a partner-in-crime who can cause problems to the Lazio defence. As long as he is at the top of his game, the Juventus ace should have a big role to play whether it be in creating or scoring goals.
Juventus 1-2 Lazio
Despite their recent dominance over Lazio, Juventus are not the force they once were and have nothing to play for but pride. Lazio have a Europa League spot to contend with and also go into the match on the back of two consecutive away wins.
Add to it Juventus’s fatigue from playing Inter in the Coppa Italia final, and the game against Lazio could prove to be a banana skin. The Bianconeri have been caught off guard several times this season and could round it off with another home loss this Monday.