Juventus v Young Boys
Champions League, Group Stage – Game 2 – Tuesday, 2nd October – 17:55 GMT – Juventus Stadium
Juve marched to a six point lead at the weekend, overcoming Napoli with relative ease, despite going a goal down within the opening ten minutes. The period following Napoli’s opener was some of the best football Juventus have played in some time: Direct and quick, using the width of the pitch and captialising on the pace that the team clearly has. It was a good turnaround and the result lays down something of a marker to the rest of the league, underlining the fact that despite Napoli perhaps being the closest to Juve in terms of a title contender, they are still some way off the Bianconeri. The Milan and Rome sides will need to hit form in a big way to close the gap and for now, the lead gives us a nice bit of breathing space at the top. If we continue this rich vein of form while starting to find the right approach on the pitch, it’s entirely plausible that the lead could be unassailable within a few months, giving Juve a chance to focus their attentions more exclusively on Europe.
Off the pitch, things seem all the more unsettled of late. Beppe Marotta has announced his departure from the club and it seems very clear that this was a decision that came from on high, as rumblings of discontent between Andrea Agnelli and San Beppe continue to fill the Italian papers. There was a suggestion that Fabio Paratici might follow him out the door, and while the President was quick to rule this out, nothing is certain for now. Cristiano Ronaldo has been the subject of press attention over the course of the last few days, and while it’s too early to delve into this in any great detail, the investigation carried out by Der Spiegel is pretty conclusive and damning. It would be entirely remiss of me to delve too deeply into this without know the facts, however the lack of coverage in the mainstream press is concerning.
I can’t help but feel there’s a quite deliberate change in the way the club are conducting business of late. Their approach seems all the more ruthless, more business orientated, more clinical with no room for sentiment. Perhaps this is what it takes to mix with the big boys of Europe and it’s entirely possible that this is one factor that led to a split between Beppe and the club. For now, there’s plenty of speculation as there inevitably is when discussing calcio and Serie A, but no real answers to the questions that some fans are asking. In the background, the ultra’s continue their protest against the hike in ticket prices and some parts of the crowd hurled racist abuse at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as well as aiming anti-Neapolitan chants at the visiting fans. There’s a suggestion that it may have been intentional in an effort to get a ban to partially close the Curva for upcoming matches.
Ronaldo’s suspension may mean a slight tweak to the formation and Allegri gave a hint on how Juve may lineup tomorrow evening in his pre-game presser:
“Khedira won’t play from the start, but he’ll be part of the squad. The plan was to take him to Udine, so if he could play half an hour tomorrow that would be positive. There are still two games before the end of this mini-cycle and I’d like to have everyone available.
“Chiellini won’t play, Cancelo needs to recover and Barzagli will play because the old man is always good.
“I have some doubts in midfield, whether we’ll play with two midfielders, two deeper, or three in the middle.
“Up-front I always have two, Mandzukic and Dybala. Kean is also fine, as is Bernardeschi.
“He [Bernardeschi] could play on the wing, as a mezzala, or as a trequartista. It’s also possible he won’t play.
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s suspension? He needed to catch his breath, so it’s all good.
“Marotta? It’s still fresh, when a human and professional relationship ends it’s normal to feel sorry. There’s a moment of adjustment, but there’s a match to be won tomorrow because we can’t throw away what we did in Spain.”
Based on the Mister’s words, it seems inevitable that Szczesny will start in goal with Juan Cuadrado possibly playing at right-back, Leonardo Bonucci and old-man Barzagli in the centre-back positions and Alex Sandro on the left. It’s hard to drop Blaise Matuidi right now so he’ll probably start along with Rodrigo Bentancur and Emre Can in the midfield. Federico Bernardeschi will probably get the nod with Mario Mandukic and Paulo Dybala perhaps in a more convention ‘9’ and ’10’ up top and Berna drifting around behind them.
4-3-3: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Barzagli, Bonucci, Sandro; Bentancur, Can, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Mandzukic
Spinazzola (knee), De Sciglio (thigh), Khedira (thigh), Costa (thigh)
4-4-2: Ballmoos; Mbabu, Bergen, Camara, Benito; Fassnacht, Sanogo, Aebischer, Sulejmani; Hoarau, Assale
Teixeira, Lotomba, Wüthrich, Sow
Juventus Performance Statistics