Juventus are back in action at the Allianz Stadium as they take on Spezia in Serie A on Sunday evening.
The Bianconeri have played on the road in three different competitions over the past two weeks. First, they drew 1-1 with Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie before committing daylight robbery in Florence on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia after they’d beaten Empoli 3-2 in the league to continue their unbeaten run.
Juve haven’t tasted defeat in Serie A since November and Atalanta’s poor February means they’re in a great position to snatch a top-four spot come the end of the season. The recent woes of both Milan sides, meanwhile, has some optimistically claiming that Allegri’s plucky Bianconeri are outsiders in the Scudetto race.
A victory is paramount for the Old Lady on Sunday against a Spezia side who have lost their last three following a resurgent January. Thiago Motta, who was closed to getting sacked at the end of 2021, has been brought back to reality over the past couple of weeks with Spezia sliding back into the relegation dogfight.
The Aquilotti currently sit 16th in the table, just four points ahead of Venezia, who occupy the final relegation spot. The Venetians also boast a game in hand.
Juventus vs Spezia Serie A preview
Here’s our preview of Sunday’s Serie A clash between Juventus and Spezia.
How to Watch Juventus vs Spezia
When is kick-off? Sunday 6 March
What time is kick-off? 17:00 (BST)
Where is it played? Allianz Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport 2 (UK), Paramount+ (US)
Referee? Francesco Fourneau
Juventus Team News
Leonardo Bonucci was added to the injury list in the week with a calf injury, but Daniele Rugani returned to training on Friday and is in contention to partner Matthijs de Ligt on Sunday.
Federico Bernardeschi and Paulo Dybala have also returned to the training pitch and both are expected to make Allegri’s matchday squad. Neither are likely to start, however.
Denis Zakaria and Weston McKennie’s injuries leave Juve short in midfield, with Alex Sandro, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Chiesa and Kaio Jorge all sidelined.
Spezia Team News
The visitors will be without Jakub Kiwior, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the Serie A season in the dramatic defeat against AS Roma last weekend. Kelvin Amian Adou was sent off in last weekend’s bout, so he’ll be suspended as well.
Motta does have Raj Manaj returning from suspension, however, and the forward could replace M’Bala Nzola in Sunday’s starting XI.
Aimar Shea is out with a hip injury.
Juventus vs Spezia Predicted Lineups
Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Rugani, De Ligt, Pellegrini; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Arthur, Rabiot; Morata, Vlahovic.
Spezia: Provedel; Ferrer, Erlic, Nikolaou, Reca; Sala, Maggiore, Bastoni; Verde, Manaj, Gyasi.
Juventus’ Recent Form
Fiorentina 0-1 Juventus (02/03) – Coppa Italia
Empoli 2-3 Juventus (26/02) – Serie A
Villarreal 1-1 Juventus (22/02) – Champions League
Juventus 1-1 Torino (18/02) – Serie A
Atalanta 1-1 Juventus (13/02) – Serie A
Spezia’s Recent Form
Spezia 0-1 AS Roma (27/02) – Serie A
Bologna 2-1 Spezia (21/02) – Serie A
Spezia 1-2 Fiorentina (14/02) – Serie A
Salernitana 2-2 Spezia (07/02) – Serie A
Spezia 1-0 Sampdoria (23/01) – Serie A
Despite their recent slump, Spezia are proving to be tough to beat. The visitors will attempt to contain Juve on Sunday, which could spell problems for the Bianconeri. Allegri’s side struggle to break down deep-lying defences at the best of times, and their woes in this regard are exacerbated in Dybala’s absence.
Thus, the key for the hosts will be sustaining pressure and dissolving the will of what will likely be a dogged Spezia outfit. Dusan Vlahovic drew a blank in on his return to Florence but the Serb’s already proved for the Old Lady that he only needs one sniff of goal to make the difference.
I think Juve continue their unbeaten run on Sunday, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them grind their way to another three points. Remember, they were reliant on the magic of Federico Chiesa to bail them out in the reverse fixture.
Prediction: Juventus 1-0 Spezia