Massimiliano Allegri will have no Paulo Dybala as his Juventus side visit Bologna on Saturday. The Bianconeri saw their momentum stifled by Venezia last weekend as they succumbed to a deflating 1-1 draw.
That result leaves them in seventh ahead of Saturday’s clash with tenth-placed Bologna. The hosts head into this one having suffered back-to-back defeats in Serie A, but they could cut the gap between themselves and Juve to one point should they claim victory this weekend.
Allegri will be looking to oversee a pair of victories to conclude 2021, although he’s still without Danilo, Federico Chiesa and Aaron Ramsey for this one. Manuel Locatelli and Mattia De Sciglio are both doubts as well.
Here’s the Juventus team we think the Bianconeri boss will pick for Saturday’s visit to Bologna.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – Szczesny was worked for the first time in a while last time out, but he wasn’t able to keep a clean sheet. The Poland international will start between the sticks on Saturday.
Mattia De Sciglio (RB) – De Sciglio is a slight doubt for the weekend’s bout but we expect him to start. The Italian made his full return from a hamstring injury away at Venezia last weekend.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – Allegri confirmed that Giorgio Chiellini is unlikely to make this trip meaning Bonucci is a shoo-in to retain his place in the starting XI. The veteran Italian has been Allegri’s most used defender in Serie A this season, racking up 1,170 minutes.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – The Dutchman isn’t too far behind Bonucci with 1,113 minutes in Serie A and his importance to Juventus is starting to become clear. Unless the manager pulls a rabbit out of the hat and gives Daniele Rugani a rare opportunity, De Ligt will start alongside Bonucci. His duel with Marko Arnautovic will be an intriguing watch.
Luca Pellegrini (LB) – Pellegrini has impressed since his emergence into the XI and we hope he retains his place in Allegri’s team. The manager is certainly starting to grow fond of the dynamic Italian, but he’s still an admirer of declining veteran Alex Sandro. Thus, should Pellegrini start on Saturday, the Brazilian will likely start next Tuesday against Cagliari (and vice versa).
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – Manuel Locatelli’s condition is up in the air, so we’ve gone for a rare Locatelli-less pivot on Saturday. However, the Italian should make the trip and be an option off the bench for Allegri. In his place, Bentancur comes back into the side after harshly being dropped last weekend. The Uruguayan had performed pretty well with and especially without the ball in his previous three appearances.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – With Arthur Melo outcasted and Ramsey injured, Rabiot will surely retain his place in the XI. Should he partner Bentancur, the Frenchman will bear the brunt of the build-up and ball-progression responsibilities.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – Hopefully, De Sciglio is fit because Allegri revealed that Dejan Kulusevski will not be able to play a full 90 minutes. Ideally, Cuadrado will start on the right-hand side of midfield with the boss having the luxury to bring Kulusevski off the bench. The Colombian needs a bounce-back performance following his showing in Venice. Matias Soule is an alternative.
Weston McKennie (AM) – Allegri confirmed that Paulo Dybala will not be risked on Saturday but there’s hope he’ll earn some minutes against Cagliari. Nevertheless, Dybala’s absence opens up an opportunity to deploy McKennie in a more advanced position should the boss utilise the 4-2-3-1. The American is returning from a knee injury and probably won’t be able to last the full 90, but Allegri might be forced to start him considering his lack of options. McKennie will interpret this function completely differently to Dybala, but I think it could work.
Federico Bernardeschi (LM) – There are very few, if any, in the Juventus squad that could perform Bernardeschi’s function in the 4-2-3-1. Rabiot is the next best thing and we’ve seen how that’s unfolded this term. The Italian’s a shoo-in and will likely be Juve’s chief creator on Saturday.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – Allegri has three options at his disposal for Saturday, and he could pick two of them if he goes 4-4-2 (please, no). However, in the 4-2-3-1, there’s only one spot available up top. Each option isn’t ideal, but Morata did score last weekend amid an admirably selfless display. The Spaniard should play on Saturday with Moise Kean and Kaio Jorge earning more minutes against Cagliari.