Just one point separates the two teams as crisis club Juventus welcome familiar foes Monza to the Allianz Stadium for Sunday’s Serie A fixture.
Juventus are in turmoil ahead of the game against AC Monza. The hosts have endured a largely tumultuous campaign, with issues on and off the pitch. The news of a 15-point deduction as a byproduct of an investigation into their historic transfer dealings has shaken them, leading to hefty bans for club executives and fueling speculation that key players may leave if the Bianconeri fail to finish in the top four.
As a consequence, Juventus now sit 11th in the Serie A table at the moment with 23 points from 19 matches. The former Serie A and UEFA Champions League winners are 11 points above the relegation zone and 23 points behind leaders Napoli. The Old Lady are not going to win the Serie A title this season and face an uphill task to climb up the ladder and finish in the top four.
Juventus are 14 points adrift of Inter Milan, who are currently fourth in the standings and occupy the final UEFA Champions League berth. Although Massimiliano Allegri’s side may still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League this season, it is easier said than done.
Things have also been wild on the pitch lately, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men suffering a morale-damaging 5-1 defeat at high-flying Serie A leaders Napoli and drawing 3-3 with Atalanta in what was a reactionary performance from the Bianconeri in the wake of recent off-field happenings. After all, players had nothing to do with false accounting but had to pay the price with docked points.
On the other hand, Monza shared spoils with Sassuolo last weekend, as they sit one point behind Juventus. After boasting a tally of just one point in the opening six league matches under former boss Giovanni Stroppa, the newly-promoted Monza have seen an eye-catching uptick in their form under the management of former Juventus midfielder Raffaele Palladino.
The 38-year-old manager has seen his side pick up 21 points in his 13 Serie A games in charge, and they are on course to retain their top-flight status for another season. The visitors are 13th in the league table with 22 points, and a win here against the odds would see them leapfrog their esteemed hosts.
These two sides met in the reverse fixture back in September. Monza pulled off a big scalp thanks to Christian Gytkjaer, who scored in the 74th minute. The Biancorossi controlled the game from start to finish, won the possession battle with 61%, and took 17 shots in total, seven more than the Bianconeri. Playing against 10 men for more than half of the game helped their cause.
Juventus took revenge in the Round of 16 of the Coppa Italia by beating Monza 2-1. Ahead of their latest meeting at the Allianz Stadium, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
— JuventusFC 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@juventusfcen) January 27, 2023
In a rare piece of positive news for boss Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus’ treatment room appears to be clearing up with the news that Dusan Vlahovic, Paul Pogba, and Mattia De Sciglio will all be included in Sunday’s match squad after returning to full training in recent days.
As a result, Allegri has an almost fully fit squad to pick from. But Leonardo Bonucci is still on the sidelines, with Federico Chiesa also missing out against Monza this weekend due to a calf injury.
Allegri deployed a 3-5-1-1 formation against Atalanta but may revert to a more balanced 3-4-3 setup, with USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie set to leave the Bianconeri for Premier League outfit Leeds United in a reported €35 million deal. Fortunately, with promising midfielders like Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti emerging from the youth ranks, Allegri has more than enough insurance to deal with McKennie’s departure.
Wojciech Szczesny will continue to start in goal for Juventus behind a three-man defence of Danilo, Gleison Bremer, and Alex Sandro. Fagioli will occupy the right-sided midfielder role in the absence of McKennie, whereas Filip Kostic will remain the bombarding presence on the left flank as he looks to deliver a few menacing crosses into the opposition box.
Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot will get the nod in the engine room, with Paul Pogba and Miretti potential options to feature off the bench. Federico Chiesa missed a major half of 2022 because of his ACL injury before finally returning to play football in November.
Since then, Chiesa has been working his way back into form and is slowly finding his rhythm. He could have been a real difference-maker for the Bianconeri when in full swing. But Moise Kean will fill his void on Sunday. Angel Di Maria has looked lively for Juventus in recent games and will continue to man the right flank.
Arkadiusz Milik should lead the line for Juventus ahead of Dusan Vlahovic against Monza on Sunday. English talent Samuel Iling-Junior might only feature from the bench during the game.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Milik, Kean
Raffaele Palladino will have a full pack of players to select from this week. He may make several changes to the starting eleven against Sassuolo. The coach was evidently disappointed with his starting lineup, making three substitutions at half-time, with Marlon Santos and Andrea Petagna being replaced by Pablo Mari and Dany Mota, respectively. Both subs may take to the field from start against Juventus.
Monza will line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Michele Di Gregorio taking up his customary spot in goal. He will be protected by a three-man defence of Marlon Santos, Mari, and Armando Izzo, flanked by the wing-back duo of Samuele Birindelli and Carlos Augusto.
— AC Monza (@ACMonza) January 27, 2023
Jose Machin and Matteo Pessina will slot in as conventional midfielders in the double-pivot, with the latter offering positional versatility, the ability to break the lines, and late runs into the penalty area to score goals.
Gianluca Caprari is the first name that comes to mind when discussing the visitors’ danger man. The Hellas Verona loanee has scored his team’s last three Serie A goals and will be chomping at bits to maintain his purple patch. Patrick Ciurria, who has six goal contributions to his name, will support the veteran, with Mota spearheading the attack ahead of Pentagna.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Di Gregorio; Marlon, Mari, Izzo; Birindelli, Pessina, Machin, Augusto; Ciurria, Caprari; Mota
- Juventus are undefeated in nine of their last 10 Serie A matches.
- Monza have only lost one of their last six games — a 2-1 Coppa Italia defeat at this venue last week.
- Juventus have picked up 24 points at home in Serie A this season, with only league leaders Napoli (25) having collected more on home turf.
- The visitors are without a clean sheet in their last eight games across competitions.
- Juventus have the second-best defensive record in the Italian top flight this season, conceding just 15 goals in the first half of the campaign.
Player To Watch
Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria has had a difficult few months at the start of the season. But he has been in fine form since returning from his successful World Cup triumph with Argentina in Qatar. And the veteran attacker has provided three goal contributions in his last two Serie A appearances for Juventus.
The 34-year-old finished Juventus’s 3-3 draw with Atalanta with a goal and an assist. And he is one of the very few players for the Bianconeri who have the ability to carve open the Monza backline on Sunday.
Juventus 2-1 Monza
Monza are set to give Juventus a run for their money, based on their remarkable 2-2 draw against Inter Milan at the start of 2023 and their recent run of results. They will attempt to inflict an upset here.
But after avoiding defeat in their last five league games following a draw with Sassuolo, they may struggle on Sunday given their poor record in away fixtures. For that reason, the Hard Tackle backs the hosts to prevail in front of their home crowd and come away with all three points.