Juventus v Lyon
Champions League – Wednesday, 2nd November – 19:45 GMT – Juventus Stadium
It made a welcome change to get a little luck in the Champions League last time out. We didn’t play anywhere close to our best, endured some horrible officiating, an unecessary sending off for Mario Lemina didn’t help matters….but thankfully Juan Cuadrado was on hand to change the game, leaving us sitting pretty atop Group H.
Our form both before and after the victory in France left some cause for concern. The win over Udinese was a scrappy and squalid affair – Low on quality, the match was eventually decided by some individual magic from Paulo Dybala. Our visit to Milan might have been the worst I’ve seen Juve play in a considerable amount of time. There was little in the way of midfield creativity, the strikers looked isolated, our defence was slow to react and on the few occasions we tried to threaten, Milan were more than equal to us.
Fast forward two weeks and things are looking markedly better – A demolition of Sampdoria was a perfect reaction, especially as we invited pressure and still managed a comfortable 4-1 win. Last weekends victory over Napoli was all the more significant as it represented our toughest league match to date. Despite a slow and cautious first half, the team exploded into life in the final 45 mins and sealed a deserved win with Gonzalo Higuain netting the winner, his 8th goal in all competitions so far. It’s strong and positive form to take into a match that could have a significant impact on our progression in the Champions League.
Max Allegri confirmed part of his starting XI earlier today and warned the team against complacency.
“It will be a difficult match, as on Saturday Lyon played a good game on their travels,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Tomorrow qualification is in our hands and after that we can think about first place. Let’s do one thing at a time. The most important thing is getting a positive result, knowing it won’t be easy.
“Marchisio will play tomorrow. He rested against Napoli at the weekend for the most part. He brings experience, is specific to that midfield role and has improved a great deal over the last two years. Sami Khedira is fine and will also play, while all the defenders are available.
“We are just at the start of the season, so it’s normal that we can do better. We need to be competitive in all areas by March, but before then let’s not forget we haven’t qualified yet. We won at Lyon, but it was only 0-0 with Sevilla.
“Tomorrow we mustn’t ruin what we’ve built so far in this group. Danger is around every corner.”
With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini both missing, the starting XI writes itself – Gigi Buffon in goal while Medhi Benatia joins Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. In midfield, it’ll be Khedira, Marchisio and Miralem Pjanic while Alex Sandro and Dani Alves play on the flanks and Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic up front.
3-5-2: Buffon; Barzgli, Bonucci, Benatia; Alves, Khedira, Marchisio, Pjanic, Sandro; Mandzukic, Higuain.
Pjaca (fibula), Mandragora (foot), Dybala (thigh), Chiellini (thigh)
4-4-2: Lopes; Rafael, Mamana, Diakhaby, Morel; Ghezzal, Gonalons, Tolisso, Cornet; Lacazette, Fekir