Atalanta will visit Turin hoping to inflict more problems on Juventus, who have been docked 15 points for questionable financial dealings.

Since the Calciopoli, this is the worst time for Juventus supporters, as their club embroils themselves in yet another controversy ahead of the game against Atalanta. During the World Cup, their board resigned after reports and investigations over some questionable dealings.

Reports of an Italian prosecutor demanding a nine-point docking emerged in the media, but the FIGC (Italian FA) decided on a 15-point deduction in the final verdict. It’s a massive blow for Juventus and their plans this season. They remain in their original third spot on the table, and effectively they might languish in 11th as things stand.

The ruling trumps every other problem with the club, and on the pitch, they have been good until last week. Massimiliano Allegri took the team to the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium to get closer to league leaders Napoli. Instead, they were handed a thrashing by Luciano Spalletti’s men. They desperately need to lift the mood at home, and they could do that with a good win over visiting Atalanta.

Gian Piero Gasperini will sense this may be the perfect time to play Juventus amid all the ongoing problems on and off the pitch. Their record against the Bianconeri is nothing special, and that, too, needs massive repair work if they want to challenge up top consistently.

From once being a fluid side, and scoring goals regularly, Atalanta have struggled in that aspect in the last 12 months. Yet, they may have found some rhythm in the previous few games, particularly against Salernitana, smashing eight past their opponents.

The FIGC ruling against Juventus will also impact Atalanta’s chances to finish in the top four. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men sit in sixth place, level on points with fifth and seventh-placed Lazio and Roma, respectively. They have to start a brilliant run between now and May and hope their rivals have a bad patch somewhere down the line.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Massimiliano Allegri will come into this clash with some notable absentees in the squad. Leonardo Bonucci remains on the sidelines, while Kaio Jorge is also missing. In addition, despite returning to mild training, the likes of Paul Pogba, Dusan Vlahovic, and Juan Cuadrado will need to improve their fitness to feature in this clash.

Adrien Rabiot is reportedly absent, and Mattia De Sciglio has also not returned to first-team training. On the positive side, Federico Chiesa, who started against Napoli, his first Serie A start in 369 days, rediscovered his scoring boots and was instrumental against Monza in midweek.

Allegri is expected to bring some of his first-team regulars who earned some rest. Those include Gleison Bremer, Manuel Locatelli and Wojciech Szczesny. Meanwhile, Arkadiusz Milik could replace Moise Kean up front and become the perfect option in place of the absent Vlahovic.

Fabio Miretti will likely take Rabiot’s place in midfield, with Filip Kostic featuring as the left wing-back supporting him. On the other flank, Weston McKennie should continue in Cuadrado’s absence, with Nicolo Fagioli in the midfield role beside the American.

Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; McKennie, Fagioli, Locatelli, Miretti, Kostic; Di Maria; Milik

Atalanta

Gian Piero Gasperini does not have any fresh injury concerns with his squad. But there are still some notable absentees yet to return. Forward Duvan Zapata will continue to miss the action with a groin problem, while Davide Zappacosta is still sidelined with a thigh issue.

Joakim Maehle and Matteo Ruggeri are front runners for the left wing-back spot. The latter might get the nod, while Hans Hateboer could play on the right flank. Atalanta will miss key midfielder Teun Koopmeiners through suspension, and Ederson will take his place in the lineup alongside Marten de Roon.

Juan Musso will keep his place in goal, with the back three of Rafael Toloi, Jose Luis Palomino, and the in-demand Giorgio Scalvini. Up front, Ademola Lookman could become only the fourth Atalanta player to reach double figures for goals after 19 games. Rasmus Hojlund will lead the line, with Jeremie Boga featuring on the left side of the attack.

Probable lineup (3-4-3): Musso; Toloi, Palomino, Scalvini; Hateboer, De Roon, Ederson, Ruggeri; Lookman, Hojlund, Boga

Key Stats

  • Juventus are undefeated in 33 of their last 36 matches against Atalanta in all competitions.
  • Juventus suffered their first league defeat with five goals conceded in over 20 years when they lost to Napoli.
  • Juventus are yet to lose at home in Serie A this season, but Atalanta have the second-best away record in the division this term.
  • Atalanta have scored at least two goals in their last four matches in Serie A.
  • Atalanta have conceded at least two goals in five of their last six matches in Serie A.

Player to Watch

Angel Di Maria

Embed from Getty Images

The Argentine World Cup winner has returned to Turin in good form and should be one of the key players for Massimiliano Allegri between now and the end of the season. He also got a consolation strike against Napoli. But the game against Atalanta is where he ultimately needs to come to the fore for Juventus.

Amid the darkness surrounding Juventus with the FIGC ruling, they desperately need players to inspire them on the field. Moreover, if they are indeed docked 15 points, the Bianconeri will have to find a way to win all games from here on. And an experienced star like Di Maria could have his say.

Prediction

Juventus 2-1 Atalanta

The Bianconeri come into this clash at the back of a heavy defeat against Napoli. But that should not deter Juventus from the challenge posed by Atalanta. The visitors have not had any success at the Allianz Stadium in recent years, and that could remain the case on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri has the players and system to keep Gian Piero Gasperini’s men at bay and secure three points, which are more valuable than before. Atalanta will still pose a threat, but they need to have the experience against a giant like Juventus.

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