An exuberant Juventus make the short trip across Turin to Torino for the maiden Derby della Mole of the 2021/22 campaign.
It’s a rivalry the Old Lady have dominated historically, although the Granata came close to toppling Andrea Pirlo’s Bianconeri last season. Cristiano Ronaldo’s late goal salvaged a 2-2 draw for the visitors.
Nevertheless, while Juventus will be confident of securing yet another victory in the derby this weekend following their triumph over the European champions in midweek, Torino also head into the bout optimistic. They’re unbeaten in their last four and are currently above Juve in the Serie A table on goal difference. Both sides have grabbed eight points from their opening six games.
Juve’s slow start to the domestic campaign has placed greater emphasis on all their league fixtures for the rest of the season. They can’t afford to drop many more points if they’re to reclaim the Scudetto next May.
Thus, despite their hectic September and gruelling battle in the week, Massimiliano Allegri can ill-afford to rotate his side too heavily for Saturday’s derby, with Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata still out.
Here’s the starting XI we think the Juventus boss will pick for the Derby della Mole.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – After Mattia Perin earned a rare start against Sampdoria on Matchday 6, Szczesny returned to the starting XI against Chelsea and commanded his box amid a crossing barrage from the Blues. Allegri has already confirmed he’ll start on Saturday.
Danilo (RB) – The Brazilian was brilliant in midweek and will surely retain his place for the derby. This isn’t the game to rotate, and I expect Danilo to continue at right-back this weekend.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – The Dutchman has been imperious since returning to the starting XI against Spezia. After scoring the winner in that imperative triumph, de Ligt produced a measured display against Sampdoria before starring alongside Leonardo Bonucci on Wednesday. The young defender’s starting to come into his own.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Bonucci’s streak in the starting XI is expected to come to an end this weekend after Allegri confirmed that Chiellini will start Saturday’s derby. The veteran recovered from illness to make a substitute appearance against Chelsea and is expected to partner de Ligt in this one. Allegri won’t want to burn Bonucci out.
Alex Sandro (LB) – Alex Sandro is slowly becoming an indispensable member of the XI. In the build-up to Saturday’s clash, Allegri labelled the Brazilian a “great player”. He’s been so reliable this term, and his run in the starting line-up is expected to continue on Matchday 7 in Serie A.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – Cuadrado held crucial tactical importance against Chelsea, and he might be expected to fulfil a similar function on Saturday with Torino utilising a similar 3-4-2-1 system to the Blues. Cristian Ansaldi could be his assignment should the Argentine be deemed fit.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – The Italian has single-handedly transformed the Bianconeri’s midfield into a competent unit. He’s slowly evolving into the complete midfielder, and Juventus will need him on Saturday as they face up against Ivan Juric’s high press.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – I don’t think Allegri will want to disrupt the relationship Bentancur and Locatelli have established by dropping the Uruguayan for this one. Thus, Bentancur should retain his place. Although, Arthur Melo is back!
Federico Bernardeschi (LM) – Bernardeschi deserves a start after his influential showing against Chelsea from a markedly fluid forward function. This time, he could be deployed out on the left, where he’ll be tasked with drifting infield to serve as a reference point between the lines. The onus will be on Alex Sandro to create a source of width down this flank. Considering the profiles of the potential front two, Bernardeschi’s role will be crucial. He’s the linker between defence and attack.
Moise Kean (ST) – The young Italian surprisingly didn’t start in midweek but should return to the XI on Saturday. Kean scored on his first Serie A start this season and the Bianconeri will be leaning on him to produce in the absence of Alvaro Morata.
Federico Chiesa (ST) – The dynamic of this front line worries me. Both players are incredibly direct forwards who love to stretch the pitch. The pair must establish a harmonious relationship swiftly. Nevertheless, Chiesa’s a must-start on Saturday following his majestic showing in Juve’s 1-0 victory over the European champions. I suspect Juve will be relying heavily on the counter-attack once more, and they’ll need their primary outlet, Chiesa, to shine.