Juventus conclude their 2021/22 Champions League group stage campaign as they host Swedish outfit Malmo on Wednesday evening.
The Bianconeri’s chances of topping the group are slim after they fell to a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Matchday 5. Thus, Massimiliano Allegri is expected to make several changes from the side that beat Genoa 2-0 in Serie A on Sunday night amid a busy schedule to close out the calendar year.
Juventus’ predicted XI vs Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday evening
Youngsters and outcasts are poised to be given chances to impress in the Champions League this week in a starting XI that will intrigue plenty.
Here’s our predicted XI for Malmo’s visit to the Allianz Stadium as Juventus aim to end the group stage on a high.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Mattia Perin (GK) – “Tomorrow, Mattia Perin will play in goal” – Allegri. I think that speaks for itself.
Koni De Winter (RB) – Young De Winter made his senior debut off the bench in the drubbing at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 5. The full-back’s yet to make a Serie A appearance this term but he could start in the Champions League on Wednesday. Mattia De Sciglio isn’t fit enough to start, while Dejan Kulusevski’s absence should thrust Juan Cuadrado into a more advanced position.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – Rugani’s sole start of the campaign was unexpected as he replaced Giorgio Chiellini after the Italian pulled up with an injury in the warm-up. His subsequent steady performance may have re-assured Allegri that he can rely upon his fourth-choice centre-back a little more than he initially believed. Thus, Rugani could start against Malmo with Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt rested for Saturday.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – The skipper watched on from the bench as Chiellini and De Ligt helped Juve to a pair of clean sheets in their most recent two Serie A outings. Bonucci, however, is certain to start against Malmo with Allegri already hinting that the veteran defender will make his XI.
Alex Sandro (LB) – Sunday night’s win over Genoa proved the difference between Luca Pellegrini and Alex Sandro as both were given 45 minutes of game time. I expect the left-backs to share starts in Juve’s next two games with the Brazilian starting on Wednesday and Pellegrini on Saturday away at Venezia.
Arthur Melo (CM) – Manuel Locatelli and Rodrigo Bentancur were brilliant in Juventus’ last two outings and the pair are likely to be rested on Wednesday ahead of Venezia this weekend. With Weston McKennie out, Arthur Melo is poised to make just his second start of the season and first in the Champions League.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – The Frenchman partnered Massimiliano Allegri in the pre-match press conference which is an indication that he’ll be starting on Wednesday. Since the manager’s switch to the 4-2-3-1, Rabiot has come off the bench to play in the midfield pivot. He should get an opportunity to impress from the outset in this one.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – As we noted, Kulusevski’s absence leaves Allegri with limited options to play down the right. Matias Soule is ineligible with Federico Chiesa out injured. Cuadrado, who was deployed on the wing before Danilo’s injury, is the most feasible option for the manager on Wednesday. Although, I expect him to play a different role to Kulusevski in the 4-2-3-1.
Paulo Dybala (AM) – Despite his excellent form, Allegri said Dybala “needs to play tomorrow”, stating that Juve’s chief creator doesn’t need a rest. Juventini will hope the Argentine takes control of Wednesday’s bout, although he might find things a little tricky considering Allegri’s personnel changes.
Federico Bernardeschi (LM) – Bernardeschi has been subtly excellent in Juve’s recent two victories and Allegri is getting the best out of him in the 4-2-3-1. He’s had the freedom to express himself from a flexible function and Rabiot’s start in the pivot means Bernardeschi is a shoo-in to keep his place in the XI off the left flank.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – The Spaniard may well have been replaced by Moise Kean for this one but the Italian’s ankle injury has ruled him out of the contest. Thus, Morata should retain his place in the XI with Kaio Jorge hopefully earning more than single-digit minutes off the bench.