Matthijs de Ligt vs Dusan Vlahovic
The nature of modern football means that it’s very rare to see bona fide one-v-one match-ups. However, we expect to see one on Saturday between Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt and Fiorentina sharp-shooter Dusan Vlahovic.
De Ligt has been in and out of the starting XI this season but is expected to retain his place in the team on Saturday following his measured performance against Zenit. Vlahovic, meanwhile, is a shoo-in after bagging the second Serie A hat-trick of his career against Spezia last time out. The Serbian has struck eight times this season and sits second in the Serie A scoring charts.
Given Vlahovic’s profile, this is a battle tailor-made for the abrasive De Ligt. In Juve’s 1-0 victory away to Zenit, the Dutchman marked Russian behemoth Artem Dzyuba out of the contest. While Vlahovic is much more mobile than Dzyuba, the Serbian is of the target-man ilk. He’s Fiorentina’s focal point.
This is such an intriguing battle between two of Europe’s most promising talents and if Vlahovic is to have success against De Ligt, he must take the Dutchman as far away from the penalty area as he can. Drop deep between the lines and run the channels. Don’t make it easy for De Ligt, who will dominate the Serb if he’s too static.
Vlahovic, though, will be desperate to impress his potential future employers in this one.