Juventus must quickly dust themselves off from Wednesday’s gut-wrenching defeat in the Supercoppa Italiana as they return to Serie A action on Saturday by hosting Udinese.
A depleted Bianconeri held off Scudetto holders and current league leaders Inter Milan admirably until the 120th minute where a moment of indecision from Alex Sandro allowed Alexis Sanchez to pounce.
Massimiliano Allegri was quick to move on from the defeat, with an imperative Serie A encounter upcoming. Juve are currently three points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta in the table, with La Dea also boasting a game in hand over the Old Lady. They must stay within touching distance.
Saturday’s opponents, Udinese, came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the reverse fixture on Matchday 1. That was Cristiano Ronaldo’s last appearance for Juventus as he departed for Manchester United just days later.
There’s a new man in the Zebrette dugout as the club parted ways with Luca Gotti before the winter break. Gabriele Cioffi is now in charge, although he’s had to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak at the start of his tenure. They were in no position to take on Atalanta last weekend, but they were forced to fulfil the fixture after their game against Fiorentina was postponed.
Their situation is understood to still be pretty dire ahead of Saturday’s trip to Turin, but the game is expected to go ahead as planned.
Here’s our preview of Juventus’ game against Udinese on Matchday 22 of the 2021/22 Serie A season.
How to Watch Juventus vs Udinese
When is kick-off? Saturday 15 January
What time is kick-off? 19:45 (BST)
Where is it played? Allianz Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport 1 (UK), Paramount+
Referee? Antonio Giua
VAR? Daniele Chiffi
Juventus Team News
Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs de Ligt are expected to return to the XI after the pair each served their one-game suspensions. Danilo has been welcomed back to the fold, although he’s unlikely to start on Saturday as Allegri attempts to ease him back in following a lengthy injury lay-off.
Paulo Dybala should start after only making the bench last time out, while Weston McKennie is likely to earn a rest after playing every minute of Juve’s three outings to start 2022.
Federico Chiesa is out indefinitely, with Aaron Ramsey yet to recover from COVID-19.
Udinese Team News
Udinese have been hit by a COVID-19 crisis at the start of 2022 and they were forced to play last weekend against Atalanta despite eight players testing positive for the virus. Seven academy players were named on the bench in that 6-2 defeat and it remains to be seen how many first-teamers will return for Saturday’s trip to Turin.
Rodrigo Becao is suspended, while Udinese recently sold Samir to Watford, leaving them short in defence for this one.
On the injury front, Roberto Pereyra is expected to miss out thanks to a shoulder injury.
Juventus vs Udinese Predicted Lineups
Juventus: Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, Pellegrini; Kulusevski, Locatelli, Bentancur, Bernardeschi; Dybala, Morata.
Udinese: Padelli; Nuytinck, Di Maio, Perez; Udogie, Arslan, Walace, Molina; Pussetto, Deulofeu; Beto.
Juventus’ Recent Form
Inter Milan 2-1 (AET) Juventus (12/01) – Supercoppa Italiana
AS Roma 3-4 Juventus (09/01) – Serie A
Juventus 1-1 Napoli (06/01) – Serie A
Juventus 2-0 Cagliari (21/12) – Serie A
Bologna 0-2 Juventus (18/12) – Serie A
Udinese’s Recent Form
Udinese 2-6 Atalanta (09/01) – Serie A
Cagliari 0-4 Udinese (18/12) – Serie A
Udinese 4-0 Crotone (14/12) – Coppa Italia
Udinese 1-1 AC Milan (11/12) – Serie A
Empoli 3-1 Udinese (06/12) – Serie A
Under Luca Gotti, Udinese were pesky opposition for some of Serie A’s best. They were well-drilled in their 5-3-2 low block and following the arrival of Beto, they now boast an outlet that persistently causes problems in transition.
The striker’s threat is one Juve must be wary of on Saturday. He’s scored eight times in Serie A this season.
While Udinese have had early success under Cioffi – forgetting last week’s shambles – they remain a relatively unknown quantity under new management. Although, I expect the visitors to deploy a typical Gotti game plan on Sunday. Despite their availability woes, they certainly have the capacity to frustrate a Juventus side that struggles against deep-lying defences.
This one will be a slog for the Bianconeri, but one moment of magic will be enough to get them over the line.
Predicition: Juventus 1-0 Udinese