Juventus will be keen to keep up their top-four push when they take on minnows Hellas Verona on Saturday.
Juventus will be keen to continue their upward trend in Serie A when they take on minnows Hellas Verona at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
The Italian giants have been far from their best this season and have struggled to make an impact in the title race and in Europe. The task was not made any easier when the Bianconeri were deducted 15 points by the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) for artificially inflating transfer fees to falsely boost capital gains.
The fact that they are still seventh, a mere seven points off the top four speaks volumes of their ability and also throws shade at the teams ahead of them in the table. A Scudetto push is out of the question. But having won four of their last five games, Massimiliano Allegri’s men are primed to assault the top four spots.
The Bianconeri enjoyed a gritty win over Inter Milan before the international break and will have their tails up against Verona. I Gialloblu have the second least effective attack in Serie A and are currently in the 18th spot.
Relegation is a real possibility for the visitors, who have never won away in Turin in their 31 meetings in the city so far. It will take a herculean effort for Verona to make history and bring down a Juventus side that continues to remain defiant in the face of adversity.
Verona are five points away from safety, and another loss could more or less prove to be a death sentence. Marco Zaffaroni will need points on the board and has little to gain from sitting back. Given the gulf in quality and form between both teams, it will be interesting to see what approach he takes. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
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Nossos sérvios maravilhosos 🇷🇸✨pic.twitter.com/NoXmBLC54g
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcpt) March 31, 2023
Massimiliano Allegri’s men have shown real fight in recent weeks, and this will hold them in good stead heading into the final weeks of the season. There is no guarantee that Juventus’s reduced points will be restored following an appeal, and it is in their best interests to secure a top-four finish regardless.
Winning the UEFA Europa League is also another way in which the Bianconeri can secure UEFA Champions League qualification. While it is not the top table of European football, the competition is far from a foregone conclusion in the Turin side’s favour.
Allegri will hope that the international break has not disturbed his side’s rhythm and they can continue their good run of form. Verona is a good opponent in favour, and Juventus will be keen to continue their 31-game unbeaten run against the I Gialloblu at home.
One player who will not make the matchday squad is French midfielder Paul Pogba whose second coming to Turin has been criminal if not underwhelming. Leonardo Bonucci is also unlikely to feature, while Adrien Rabiot and Leandro Paredes are both suspended for the game.
It is not all bad news as Fabio Miretti and Federico Chiesa are both expected to make the cut. More so, Nicolo Fagioli and Filip Kostic appear to have brushed off knocks, with Alex Sandro also returning to contention. Arkadiusz Milik is also set to end his two-month hiatus thanks to an injury.
A 3-5-2 formation appears to be the best foot forward on the night. Wojciech Szczesny should start in goal behind a back three of Danilo, Gleison Bremer and Alex Sandro. Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic will be deployed as the wing-backs and will be responsible for providing the width on the night.
The duo will have the primary task of driving forward and pumping in crosses for Dusan Vlahovic to make use of. The central midfield is likely to be an all-Italian affair, with Manuel Locatelli, Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti all starting.
Angel Di Maria will partner with Dusan Vlahovic upfront and will present the biggest threat to Verona’s leaky defence. The former in particular will drop deeper and perform the role of a number 10 should the Juventus midfield get bogged down.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Fagioli, Miretti, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic
Marco Zaffaroni’s men could not have asked for a tougher challenge following the international break. Travelling for a venue that has been historically poor for them does not inspire confidence, and given their precarious position in the table, much is being asked of the Verona squad.
The task is not any easier with the trio of Thomas Hendry, Filip Djuric and Ajdin Hrustic all out injured. Darko Lazovic and Simone Verdi are both nursing knocks, and it remains to be seen if they will be cleared to take part in the match. Isak Hien is expected to return to the squad and replace Diego Coppola in the starting XI. The latter is a player on Juventus’s radar, and the Bianconeri will be sure to keep an eye on him should he feature.
The visitors look likely to adopt a 3-4-2-1 system that is expected to play deep when not in possession. The aim is likely to be to shut down passing lanes and isolate Dusan Vlahovic upfront. This is especially doable if Filip Kostic and Juan Cuadrado are starved of space, forcing Angel Di Maria to drop deeper into the midfield.
Lorenzo Montipo should start in goal behind the centre-back trio of Paweł Dawidowicz, Isak Hien, and Giangiacomo Magnani. Davide Faraoni and Josh Doig will start wide and will have the unenviable task of keeping Cuardaro and Kostic quiet.
📝 Ecco i 2️⃣2️⃣ convocati di mister #Zaffaroni per #JuveVerona 🟡🔵#HVFC #SerieATIM #DaiVerona pic.twitter.com/E6NDoct57C
— Hellas Verona FC (@HellasVeronaFC) March 31, 2023
Ondrej Duda and Adrien Tameze will be tasked with shielding the defence and cutting off passing lanes for Di Maria and Vlahovic. Cyril Ngonge and Kevin Lasagna will be tasked with kickstarting counters and also dropping back into central midfield to form a diamond and nullify Juventus’s extra man advantage in central midfield.
Adolfo Gaich should lead the line and will be keen to make the most of any openings. Danilo and Sandro both have errors in them, and the Verona star will do well to adopt a direct approach.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Dawidowicz, Hien, Magnani; Faraoni,Tameze, Duda, Doig; Lasagna, Ngonge, Gaich
- A win on Saturday will give Juventus their first league double over Hellas Verona since the 2017/18 season.
- Keeping a clean sheet will see Juventus keep three consecutive shutouts against Hella Verona for the first time in Serie A history.
- Juventus have played 31 times at home against Hellas Verona in the league as of yet. The Bianconeri are yet to lose a single match, making it their longest unbeaten run at home against a top-flight side in Serie A.
- Only Napoli have scored more points than Juventus among Serie A teams over the last 20 matchdays.
- Juventus have kept 16 clean sheets in the league this season. They have achieved this feat just once after 27 games played, back in 2017/18 in Massimilano Allegri’s first term as manager.
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Filip Kostic from the left wing = cheat code 🔥pic.twitter.com/PDSrYzhkQ0
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) March 20, 2023
The Serb has been one of the positives in Juventus’s inconsistent season and even scored the winner against Inter Milan before the international break. With three goals and 12 assists in 40 games across all competitions, he is Juventus’s most impact player on the wing and will be expected to once again provide ammo for Vlahovic on the night.
Kostic returned from international duty with a knock but is thankfully now fit for Massimiliano Allegri to use. Having him on the field to take free kicks adds another dimension to the Juventus attack on the night.
Juventus 2-0 Hellas Verona
Given not just the history of the fixture but also form and the gulf in quality between both teams, it is difficult to see anything other than a Juventus win on the night. Verona will fight, but the Bianconeri should race home to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
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