Hellas Verona welcome a Juventus side who will be looking to get back to winning ways following their midweek defeat at home to Sassuolo.
Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus will aim to get their season back on track when they travel to Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Saturday to take on Hellas Verona.
The Bianconeri endured a difficult start to the season but have steadied the ship in recent weeks. Their run of six wins in all competitions came to an end last weekend against Inter Milan. Matters got worse midweek when an injury-time winner by Maxime Lopez condemned them to a defeat against Sassuolo at home.
This has left the Old Lady floundering in the seventh spot in Serie A. Allegri’s side is currently 13 points behind table-toppers Napoli and already appear to be out of the title race. Unless matters improve dramatically, they could also find themselves out of the running for a top-four finish.
Verona, meanwhile, are just three points off Juve in the tenth spot and could catch up with their illustrious opponents with a win. While Juventus have shown better form in the past few weeks, their performances have often lacked that edge. Allegri will need to do something fast lest they miss out on Champions League qualification.
Juventus had lost only one of their previous 16 Serie A matches against their opponents and are, on paper, the better team. They have, however, failed to click as a unit and appear to lack imagination on the pitch. Any more dropped points this weekend will only increase the pressure on Allegri going into November.
The match represents a potential banana skin for Juventus. Verona are currently unbeaten against Juventus in their last three meetings, securing a win and two draws. It could prove to be an interesting game. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both the teams could line up and what tactics they may employ on the night.
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Verona are coming on the back of a 1-1 draw against Udinese that took them into the top half of the Serie A standings. Igor Tudor’s side have lost just one of their last five league games and could cause Juventus some problems.
The home side could be without left-back Gianluca Frabotta (on loan from Juventus), who is nursing an injury. Nicolo Casale missed the draw against Udinese with a muscle issue and it remains to be seen if he will be passed fit. Tudor is expected to have an otherwise fully fit squad at his disposal.
Verona are expected to line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation that can cause Juventus some trouble. Lorenzo Montipo will start in goal behind a back three of Giangiacomo Magnani, Koray Gunter and Pawel Dawidowicz.
The midfield duo of Miguel Veloso and Adrien Tameze will be expected to secure the reins in midfield, permitting Darko Lazovic and Marco Faraoni to bomb forward from the wing-back positions. Their performance on the night could prove crucial given the narrow shape of the Verona attack.
Antonin Barak and Gianluca Caprari look set to start behind the striker Giovanni Simeone. How the two attacking midfielders negotiate playing between the Juventus lines could prove pivotal to them unlocking the Bianconeri defence.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Dawidowicz, Gunter, Magnani; Faraoni, Tameze, Veloso, Lazovic; Caprari, Barak; Simeone
Allegri has a number of injury concerns on his mind as he goes into the must-win game. Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean are both suffering from injuries. Mattia de Sciglio, Aaron Ramsey and Federico Chiesa are also ruled out, handing Allegi major concerns in key areas of the pitch. It does offer an opportunity for the likes of Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie to show off what they can do.
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The Juventus backline basically picks itself. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal behind Leandro Bonucci and Mathijs de Ligt at centre-back. With Juventus missing both Bernardeschi and Chiesa, Juan Cuadrado could start on the right-wing with Danilo behind him.
Alex Sandro and Dejan Kulusevski will be deployed on the other flank as Allegri will look to make use of his squad depth. Manuel Locatelli who has flattered to impress in his last few outings could make way for Arthur in midfield. The onus to win the midfield battle will fall on him and Rodrigo Bentancur.
Alvaro Morata will also be looking to impress following a poor run of form and will partner Paulo Dybala upfront. The former is likely to spearhead the attack while the latter will dovetail into midfield to carry the ball forward.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Arthur, Kulusevski; Morata, Dybala
- Juventus have failed to defeat Hellas Verona in their last three games, drawing two and losing one in the process.
- Verona have won their last three games in Serie A and can draw level on points with Juventus with a win.
- Both teams have faced off 21 times so far. Juventus have won 13 of them while Verona has won just thrice.
- Juventus have found it difficult to score goals this season. They have scored just 14 in the league this season. Meanwhile, Verona have scored 22.
- Paulo Dybala is Juventus’s top scorer with four goals this season. Giovanni Simeone has scored four goals in one match against Lazio alone.
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The Colombian international usually starts at the right-back slot but will need to be moved up front thanks to the absence of both Chiesa and Bernardeschi. While Kulusevksi is capable of moments of magic, the young Swede lacks consistency. The onus to provide an outlet from the flank will thus fall on Cuadrado. A very experienced player, the 33-year-old has the smarts to cause Verona problems.
Dybala could very well drop back into midfield to help Juventus’ attack but the onus to lead the frontline will fall on Morata. The Spaniard should have no shortage of crosses to aim for should Cuadrado get going on the night.
Hellas Verona 1-1 Juventus
The game could very well extend Juventus’ winless streak to three. The Turin giants have a formidable side but have shown a lack of imagination in attack this season. With the likes of Chiesa out, their brightest spark of the campaign has been snuffed out before the match has already begun.
The onus to deliver the sucker punch will fall on Dybala and Cuadrado and could prove too much for them to handle. Verona are open defensively and do have the knack for conceding goals. But, whether Juventus can take advantage of it, remains to be seen. The Hard Tackle predicts this one to end in a scored draw.
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