Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 26 – Second Half

Brescia: Ales Mateju will miss this round due to yellow-card accumulation, as, by letter of the law, all suspensions in Serie A are served in the next match. Ernesto Torregrossa, Romulo have recovered from the small injuries that had sidelined them recently and will play against Sassuolo. Andrea Cistana hurt his ankle in practice, Sandro Tonali has a sore quad and they will both be sidelined. 

Fiorentina: Dalbert is disqualified, while Franck Ribery returned to full training following his massive ankle sprain, but he will need some time to get his conditioning up.

Genoa: Stefano Sturaro is trying to shake off some muscle fatigue and he is questionable, like Marko Pajac, who has spent time on the shelf with a sore tibia. Paolo Ghiglione (thigh) is progressing but this week is likely too early. Continue reading

Champions League: Lyon vs Juventus Preview

Champions League resumes on Wednesday, so Juventus will be back in the competition where they had the most success in so far, as they cruised during the group stage. If it was not for a late two-goal comeback by Atletico Madrid back in the first game, they would have prevailed in each of the six matches in the group stage.

Finishing in first position allowed them to land a fairly cosy match-up with Lyon in the round of 16, an opponent they have familiarity with, since they have faced them four times in recent years, winning in three occasions. The French club is also not having a particular great season as they are in 7th position in Ligue 1 and do not boast a particularly good record at home. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 24 vs Brescia

Even if the score was not too one-sided, Juventus controlled the Brescia game from start to finish, taking care of business in a favourable match-up.

Giorgio Chiellini (5 points): nothing too interesting to report from the performance of the defenders, as they were challenged just once or twice by a very timid and resigned opponent. As a matter of fact, Daniele Rugani and Leonardo Bonucci had their highlights on the other box and the young centre-back was denied a goal only by a sensational save. Danilo and Alex Sandro took advantage of the narrow formation of the adversaries to motor down the flanks more than usual and a decent amount of success while doing that. The best news was the return on the pitch of the grizzled captain, who takes home a token spot while he begins to gear up for the battles that are ahead. Continue reading

Sarri talks tactics and Chiellini before Verona match

Coach Maurizio Sarri held the usual pre-game presser on Friday to set the stage for the tilt against Verona and was particularly brief in front of journalists: “I think it is very clear what their level is, they are a very dangerous team and they have gone undefeated for few matches in a row. The Wednesday’s fixture with Lazio is further proof of that. We made it very clear to our players too, but insisting on that would mean underestimating their intelligence. Milan Juric is a great coach.” Continue reading

Sarri assesses few players in pre-game presser

Maurizio Sarri began the presser before the Cagliari tilt by detailing what they did during the break: “We worked on several mistakes we made. We focused on ourselves before studying the Sardinians late in the week. We need to improve our mentality, because in most game we made more error there than tactical or technical ones.”

On Matthijs De Ligt: “He had a complicate period because of a shoulder and adductor issues. He played a lot, he is super young, while Merih Demiral was in optimal shape, so we were in position to rest him. De Ligt is improving, we will see tomorrow.” Continue reading

Award night results and Paratici’s words

Today was awards’ night both both on the European stage and in Italy: Cristiano Ronaldo came in third as far as the Balloon d’Or was concerned, while Matthijs De Ligt was 15th and won the Kopa trophy as best U-21. Domestically, Cristiano Ronaldo was elected the Serie A’s MVP for last season and, like Miralem Pjanic, Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo was voted into the team of the year.

Juventus’ chief football officer Fabio Paratici weighed in on the current affairs during the soiree: “In previous seasons, we have been even in fourth position at this point of the year and then we managed to come back. We are only in December, we are doing well and collected a lot of points, while Inter have done super well.” Continue reading

Juventus extend Bonucci’s contract till 2024

Juventus announced today to have reached an agreement with Leonardo Bonucci to tack on one more year to the current deal of the defender, which will now last until 2024. He has been the only Bianconero to feature in every minute of every game so far and also coach Maurizio Sarri recently praised him and underlined his importance in the defensive plans. The official site indicates that, since joining in 2010, he has racked up the most appearances of any player in the club, 375, 35 more than any other teammate, despite moving to Milan for one season. Continue reading

Buffon weighs in on PSG exit, his future, Italy, Inter and De Ligt

Gianluigi Buffon touched on few topics in his TV appearance in the program Tiki Taka: “In the last few years, there is always some controversy if a top team does not win. Sometimes tying has to be accepted, we played a great game against Lecce. We accustomed everybody to strong results, so there is some chatter where we are not successful.” Continue reading

Sarri hints at some changes in presser before Lecce clash

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was back in front of the journos for another pre-game presser ahead of Saturday’s game against Lecce: “We do not have many available players right now, we were in 19 plus three goalies the other day. We will make some changes compared to how they came off from the previous match.”

On Mattia De Sciglio: “He has been practicing with the group for two or three days. He has been out since late August and he needs some time to be competitive physically. He has healed clinically.” Continue reading

It’s Time for the New Signings

With Juventus taking on Hellas Verona tomorrow, it’s as good a time as any for Maurizio Sarri to rotate his eleven and give the bianconeri’s new arrivals some much-needed playing time.

As the Italian champions debuted with a tough schedule that saw them take on Napoli, Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in succession, the former Chelsea tactician opted not to ruffle any feathers and stick with Juventus veterans such as Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi among others.

Now with Juventus taking on Hellas Verona, Brescia and SPAL in the coming weeks, Sarri would be wise to rest his starters and look to integrate the new signings. While Matuidi and Khedira haven’t had bad starts to the season by any stretch, they are limited and are currently holding back ‘Sarriball’ from being in full flow.

New arrivals Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot are far more suited to free-flowing football and will benefit from increased playing time in the coming games.

Uruguayan international Rodrigo Bentancur is also expected to feature and has looked impressive in brief cameos thus far. Outside of a revamped midfield, hard-nosed defender Merih Demiral is rumoured to start alongside Leonardo Bonucci.

The Turkish international has patiently waited in the wings and appears more than ready to seize the opportunity. With Giorgio Chiellini out for the foreseeable future, Demiral’s aggression is an asset this Juventus defence desperately craves – as highlighted by their most recent collapse against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Reports also suggest that Gonzalo Higuain will make way out of the lineup for Paulo Dybala. After a summer linking la Joya away from the club, the former Palermo man opted to stay, rejecting a move to Manchester United. Now with Sarri looking to rotate, it’s time for Dybala to prove himself and demonstrate he has what it takes to play as an outright number nine in the former Napoli tactician’s system.

At Napoli, Dries Mertens played this role to perfection and has a similar skill-set to the Argentine. While the Belgian is arguably a better finisher than Dybala, there’s no reason the Juventus forward can’t get into similar positions as Mertens. While the 25-year-old will be eager to play in more important games, proving himself against Hellas Verona will be a good start after an indifferent season under Allegri. Factor in Higuain’s good form, and it’s clear Dybala has to have a good performance against the newly-promoted side to keep up with his compatriot.

As the season unfolds and Juventus get more comfortable with their new boss, expect to see more and more signs of Sarriball in Turin. Introducing the likes of Dybala, Rabiot and Ramsey – players who are more technical than their direct competitors in their position – will only help in this respect.

As a result, the following weeks are of paramount importance to Sarri and co. Not for the table, but for his playing philosophy. If Juventus wish to play free-flowing football in their coach’s image, the time to buy in is now. On Sarri’s end, it’s time to use Juventus’ deep roster and look for alternatives to the current starters. Starting, of course, with the game against Hellas Verona.

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