Two more games to survive, Juventini. The November international break will come around in no time.
Following consecutive defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona in Serie A, the Bianconeri are set to host Zenit in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Even though Juve haven’t had much luck with results in the domestic league so far this season, Massimiliano Allegri’s men have been perfect under the European floodlights, winning their opening three matches in Group H. They’re top of the group at the halfway stage and just one victory away from confirming their place in the knockout stages.
On the back of an abysmal week, Allegri has already put his team into a week-long training retreat, and the match against the Russian side will be their first test. In their first meeting a fortnight ago, the Bianconeri salvaged a 1-0 triumph.
On paper, Juventus possess more strength in their ranks than Zenit. But considering their recent form, Sergei Semak will be looking forward to making amends for the mistakes they committed last time in their own backyard.
3 Juventus players who deserve to be dropped against Zenit
Juventus were dismal in their last game against Hellas Verona. The gaffes made by Juventus players were so severe that it made Allegri, when sitting on the substitutes bench, laugh at one point. It’s believed that the outcome of that dull display will come to haunt some players ahead of their upcoming Champions League clash.
Here are three names who deserve to be dropped from the starting XI against Zenit.
3. Alvaro Morata
You don’t need an opponent to hurt you if your own players are doing that job — Massimiliano Allegri might not have thought that this day would come. One of the most reliable goalscorers for the Bianconeri last season, Alvaro Morata has experienced a nightmarish start to his domestic campaign in Italy.
The Spaniard has found the net just twice in Serie A and once in Europe this season. He hasn’t got on the scoresheet since he rounded off a swift counter-attack against AC Milan in mid-September, although he did miss some time thanks to a hamstring injury.
His form is a concern and, according to the data from FBref, Morata has accumulated an overall npxG [non-penalty expected goals] of 1.7 from ten appearances, meaning he is not getting himself in optimal positions to score.
Nevertheless, his poor production alone isn’t why he should be dropped.
The way Morata has led the frontline for Juventus recently has been shocking. Against Hellas Verona, the Bianconeri striker got dominated and bullied by his counterparts, while his relationship with Paulo Dybala is yet to reach a stage of harmony. A rest for him in midweek might excite his dormant energy.
In his place, Kaio Jorge could start, given Moise Kean is still injured and unavailable for the game against Zenit. Federico Bernardeschi returned from his injury against Verona. In what would be an alternative for the Italian gaffer, he could fancy fielding Bernardeschi as a false nine.