Juventus are in desperate need of a bounce-back performance and result when they visit an in-form Hellas Verona on Saturday evening.
The Bianconeri’s 2-1 defeat to Sassuolo in the week opened up a 13 point gap between the Old Lady and Serie A’s current leaders, Napoli and AC Milan. Thus, every game for the foreseeable future is a must-win.
Massimiliano Allegri has been dealt a blow in the build-up to Saturday’s game with Federico Chiesa ruled out due to fatigue. Aaron Ramsey, Moise Kean and Mattia De Sciglio will also be absent, although Federico Bernardeschi has returned to the squad after missing Wednesday’s loss with a shoulder injury.
Allegri’s set to ring the changes from the most recent starting XI, and here’s the team he could opt for against Verona.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – Mattia Perin earned a rare start in the week but Juve’s reserve keeper could do little to prevent Davide Frattesi and Maxime Lopez from sinking the Old Lady. Szczesny was merely rested last time out and he’s certain to start on Saturday.
Danilo (RB) – Danilo was arguably Juventus’ best performer against Sassuolo and who knows, perhaps Lopez doesn’t find himself in so much space if the Brazilian’s still on the field protecting the transition. He’ll retain his place for the trip to Verona, surely.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – De Ligt didn’t cover himself in glory for both of Sassuolo’s goals on Matchday 10. He was beaten by Frattesi for the first and his failure to shut down Domenico Berardi in the build-up to Lopez’s last-gasp winner proved fatal. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dutchman return to the bench, but Leonardo Bonucci is due a rest and Daniele Rugani clearly isn’t trusted.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Chiellini didn’t see the field in midweek but will return to the team on Saturday, as per Romeo Agresti. He’ll match up against the robust and in-form Giovanni Simeone in this one.
Alex Sandro (LB) – The Brazilian has brought back his conservative worst since returning from the international break. Alex Sandro was poor against Sassuolo after replacing the injured Mattia De Sciglio early on. However, he’ll likely start on Saturday with Luca Pellegrini currently not being considered by Allegri. He must rediscover his impressive early-season form.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – Federico Chiesa’s absence will likely thrust Cuadrado back into the team in a right-midfield position. There’s hope in some quarters that Allegri will return the Colombian to a right-back role soon, but that won’t be happening this weekend. Against a low block, Juventus will turn to Cuadrado and his wicked crossing ability.
Arthur Melo (CM) – Finally, it might be time for Arthur to start. After enjoying several cameos since returning from a lengthy spell out, it appears that Allegri’s finally ready to deploy the Brazilian from the outset. The former Barcelona metronome will perform Manuel Locatelli’s role in the pivot – a function Arthur may be more suited to than the all-action Italian. Let’s see how he fares.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – Partnering Arthur is Bentancur. Despite struggling in his last two outings and Weston McKennie scoring his first goal of the season against Sassuolo, the Uruguayan is poised to return to the starting XI on Saturday. According to Agresti, Allegri tested the Arthur/Bentancur pivot in training on Friday.
Adrien Rabiot (LM) – Juventini are growing restless with Rabiot and his hybrid function. The Frenchman’s role is an important one, but he’s failed to produce from an attacking perspective so far this season. Despite getting hooked at half-time on Wednesday, the signs are pointing towards Rabiot earning yet another start in this role against Verona.
Paulo Dybala (CF) – Once again, La Joya was Juventus’ shining light in attack in a stale collective performance. With Allegri so reliant on individualism as a means to create chances, the pressure is constantly on the free-spirited Argentine to deliver. A stellar performance is needed from Dybala on Saturday.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – There had been some talk of Kaio Jorge making his first Serie A start on Saturday following his bright performance off the bench against the Neroverdi. However, Agresti understands that Allegri’s going to stick with an out of sorts Morata for Saturday’s game. The Spaniard desperately needs a productive performance.