Massimiliano Allegri is set to rotate his Juventus side for Wednesday’s Serie A clash against Sassuolo.
It’s a game the Juventus boss has described as a must-win following Sunday night’s Derby d’Italia draw, and he’s set to welcome back several big names to his starting XI after springing a surprise or two with his team selection at the weekend.
Allegri is expected to return to his favoured 4-4-2 for this one after utilising a 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 with little success in Juve’s last two outings. Here’s the personnel we expect him to select to take on the Neroverdi.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Mattia Perin (GK) – Wojciech Szczesny has enjoyed a complete turnaround between the sticks following a woeful start to the campaign, and he’s expected to earn a rest here. Allegri confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Perin will start his second game of the season on Wednesday. His first start came in the 3-2 triumph over Sampdoria.
Danilo (RB) – Danilo was at his unspectacular but functional and versatile best against Inter. Allegri’s set to rotate his defence, but the Brazilian should retain his place in the XI. Juve need some continuity in the backline, and Danilo’s a reliable presence.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – Remarkably, de Ligt isn’t a regular for Allegri, but I suppose that’s a testament to the timeless brilliance of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who were once again sturdy in the Derby d’Italia. Nevertheless, the Juve boss confirmed Dutchman will start on Wednesday.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – De Ligt’s partner isn’t expected to be one of the veterans, however, and there’s talk in the Italian media that Rugani could make his first start of the season. Nervous, Juventini?
Mattia De Sciglio (LB) – Alex Sandro returned to his conservative worst in the Derby d’Italia and his poor display came at the worst possible time. De Sciglio was unfortunate not to start at the weekend, but he’ll surely come in for the Brazilian on Wednesday hoping to continue his rich vein of form.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – Cuadrado’s unclear role on Sunday contributed to a shoddy performance bereft of any thrust or assertion. The Colombian’s form has dipped either side of the international break, but he should start on Wednesday. Hopefully, his role is simplified and he returns to a more traditional wide midfielder function in the 4-4-2.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – Locatelli struggled somewhat in Sunday’s derby, but he isn’t expected to lose his place for Juve’s clash against his former club. Only Wojciech Szczesny, Danilo and Leonardo Bonucci have notched more Serie A minutes than Locatelli (603) this season. He could have a new midfield partner on Wednesday…
Arthur Melo (CM) – This is the midfield partnership Juventini have all been waiting for. In his pre-match presser, Allegri appreciated the similarities between Arthur and Locatelli but also stated that the pair could play together in the pivot. According to Romeo Agresti (via @ForzaJuventus), the two were tried as a midfield tandem in training on Tuesday. Thus, Arthur looks set to make his first competitive start of the season.
Federico Chiesa (LM) – Chiesa’s much-needed rest surprisingly came against Inter Milan, although Allegri cited tactical reasons for Dejan Kulusevski’s inclusion in his XI over the Italian. The recently turned 24 was bright off the bench and will be determined to impress in this one. Hopefully, we see him deployed out wide.
Paulo Dybala (CF) – Dybala’s cameo on Sunday night depicted his importance to Allegri and this Juventus side as he equalised from the spot. The Argentine’s fully recovered from the thigh strain he sustained last month and will be desperate to make up for lost time – starting on Wednesday.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – Kaio Jorge is well-liked by the Juve boss and he’s been flirting with the prospect of starting the young Brazilian against the Neroverdi. However, I expect him to continue with Morata despite his recent struggles. The Spaniard could do with a productive outing on Wednesday, and he should get plenty of opportunities in transition against the expansive Sassuolo.