Juventus will make a rare trip to Venice on Saturday as they go in search of a third straight win in Serie A.
As Massimiliano Allegri noted in his pre-match press conference, Giorgio Chiellini is the only member of the Juventus squad to have played at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo for the Bianconeri. The boss believes it will be a “complicated game” for his side, although the visitors will surely be confident following the events that unfolded on Wednesday.
While a rotated XI flattered to deceive in the victory over Malmo, there were signs of Allegri’s Juventus finding their magic formula in the recent domestic triumphs over Salernitana and Genoa.
A win on Saturday will continue on the momentum built since the Atalanta defeat, and here’s the starting XI we expect the boss to pick for the trip to Venice.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – Szczesny got through as much work on Wednesday as he had in his previous two Serie A outings, and he didn’t even play! The Polish international has had a comfortable run between the sticks and will return to action this weekend after Mattia Perin was gifted his Champions League debut on Wednesday.
Mattia De Sciglio (RB) – De Sciglio was eased back into the fold in the week as he made a 20-minute appearance off the bench. The boss loves him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the versatile Italian make the starting XI in Venice.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – De Ligt missed Wednesday’s clash but will surely return for Venezia. The Dutchman barely put a foot wrong in his last two appearances.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – While both Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani were stout against an albeit woeful Malmo outfit, we expect Allegri to continue with the centre-back pairing that has helped Juve to back-to-back domestic clean sheets. The manager spoke about Chiellini’s experience of Venice in the build-up and it’d be a surprise to see him absent from the XI.
Luca Pellegrini (LB) – The Italian full-back is growing on Allegri, that’s for sure. In his pre-match presser, the manager said: “Pellegrini has improved a lot and has many merits: he wanted to stay here, he is still improving and can still grow, he is an excellent alternative to Alex Sandro.” Seeing as the Brazilian got the start on Wednesday, Pellegrini should return for Saturday.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – Locatelli earned a much-deserved rest following a string of controlling performances. He’s imperative to Juventus and there’s no doubt he’ll return to the XI on Saturday.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – Bentancur, however, wasn’t quite so lucky as he started for the third successive game against Malmo. But, once again, he proved mightily effective as Allegri shuffled him around throughout. The Uruguayan’s work out of possession is super impressive and he deserves to keep his run in the side going.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – De Sciglio’s return should allow Cuadrado to operate higher upfield with the manager’s options limited in this part of the field. The Colombian played out on the right after coming on as a substitute in the week and produced a lively cameo appearance.
Paulo Dybala (AM) – There was a minor scare regarding Dybala on Wednesday after he was brought off at half-time due to an illness. However, the manager confirmed that the Argentine is “fine” and “ready to play” on Saturday. La Joya will start.
Federico Bernardeschi (LM) – We are loving the Federico Bernardeschi we’ve seen over the past two weeks. The Italian’s assist for Moise Kean in the week was one of the finest you’ll see all season, and his upturn in form has coincided with Allegri’s switch to a 4-2-3-1. He’s given plenty of freedom from his role in the left half-space and he’ll be looking for his fourth assist in as many games against Venezia.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – Morata didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during his 45-minute showing against Malmo. Nonetheless, we expect Allegri to deploy the Spaniard from the outset on Saturday. While Moise Kean scored in the week, he still has some way to go before he can be considered first-choice. For now, he’s merely healthy competition for the topsy-turvy Morata.