Juventus take on bottom of the table Salernitana on Sunday in desperate need to bounce back from their third-straight Champions League elimination in the first knockout round.
The Bianconeri were eventually embarrassed by Unai Emery’s savvy Villarreal in the week as they fell to a 3-0 second leg defeat in Turin.
Fortunately, a kind Serie A fixture presents itself this weekend and Max Allegri could welcome back Paulo Dybala for his full return on Sunday following a month out.
The manager’s options are thin in midfield, and Juve’s result in the week – where very few players impressed – means it’s difficult to predict the starting XI for Salernitana’s visit.
Juventus’ predicted XI vs Salernitana
Nevertheless, here’s what we think Allegri will go for.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Mattia Perin (GK) – Szczesny is poised to earn a rest on Sunday which means Perin will earn a rare start. The Italian’s been assured so far this season.
Danilo (RB) – There are reports of the multi-faceted Danilo potentially playing in midfield on Sunday. Andrea Pirlo tried this last season and while the Brazilian coped pretty well, I don’t think Allegri will go through with it despite Juve being short in midfield.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – It wasn’t De Ligt’s finest hour in the closing stages of yet another continental embarrassment, but he’ll almost certainly retain his place in Allegri’s team.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Allegri understandably stuck with Daniele Rugani on Wednesday, but his clumsy penalty giveaway was costly and it’ll likely thrust him to the backbenches for the foreseeable future. Chiellini will surely return to the starting XI on Sunday.
Luca Pellegrini (LB) – Mattia De Sciglio was arguably Juve’s most impressive performer against Villarreal, but I think Allegri will rotate at left-back once again. Pellegrini impressed against Salernitana in the reverse fixture and his dynamism will aid Juve’s attacking effort
Federico Bernardeschi (RM) – Suspension ruled Bernardeschi out against Sampdoria and after only making the bench on Wednesday, he should start in this one. Juan Cuadrado has played a ton in recent weeks and the Italian deserves a shot at trying to rediscover his December form.
Arthur Melo (CM) – Arthur was criticised heavily for his cautious showing in Wednesday’s defeat. The Brazilian epitomised Juve’s fearful possession play in the second half and he’ll likely face up against a low block on Sunday. He must circulate possession quicker and attempt to pick a lock or two with line-splitting passes.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – Rabiot sauntered through another UCL embarrassment in the week but Manuel Locatelli’s positive COVID test means he’ll retain his place in the starting XI. Weston McKennie and Denis Zakaria are both sidelined due to injuries.
Moise Kean (LM) – Kean impressed against Sampdoria last Saturday and I think he’ll replace Alvaro Morata in the team for this one. However, his role might be a little different. Without the ball, he’ll sit on the left side of the midfield line. But, with the ball, he’ll advance to function as a multi-faceted inside forward.
Paulo Dybala (ST) – A training ground dispute with manager Allegri certainly isn’t ideal, but I think La Joya will make his full return to the starting XI after a month out. Dybala made a late appearance in the defeat to Villarreal.
Dusan Vlahovic (ST) – Vlahovic hasn’t scored in seven of the ten games he’s played for Juventus since joining the club. However, on Sunday, he has a chance to add to his tally – and some – against the league’s poorest defence. Juventus must get him involved.