Malmo V Juventus
Champions League – Game 5 [26th November 2014] – Swedbank Stadion
Juventus roll into a critical Champions League game with great form. Still, this really is a must win. The next game, against Atletico Madrid will be as well. Due to the slow start, Juventus really left all the work for qualification to the last three games. The last fixture, versus Olympiakos, is probably going to go down as a turning point for Juve’s season, as it was when Allegri unleashed his re-designed Juventus and ditched the 3-5-2. Since that victory, the 7-0 and 3-0 victories against Parma and Lazio, respectively, has lent credence to these tactical changes.
The one bad piece of news is that once again Juventus are missing a fair share of players to injury. In addition to the usual injured suspects of Andrea Barzagli and Simone Pepe – though Pepe seems to be VERY close to a return, which is really impressive – Patrice Evra, Kwadwo Asamoah, and Angelo Ogbonna are all out of this match with injuries. This means that Simone Padoin will likely start at left back by default.
Elsewhere in the back line, Padoin will be joined by Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, and of course Gianluigi Buffon will be in the net. Padoin fared well versus Parma in this role, but the Malmo game will be a bit more of a challenge it seems, if only for the stakes of the match.
Luckily, Allegri has a fully fit midfield. So, expect to see the usual first choice guys: Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, and Claudio Marchisio. Pogba scored a brace on Sunday, hopefully there is more Pogba magic left in the tank for this match. Oh, who am I kidding? There is definitely still Pogba magic left in the tank.
Of course, Roberto Pereyra is available though he is unlikely to start. Still, I expect him to see time as a substitute. He’s one of our better non-first team players – though he certainly strats often – and by the nature of the position at least one of our midfielders will be tired after a while.
Finally, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente are projected to start as strikers. It’s possible that Alvaro Morata is preferred over Llorente, but Max has consistently started Llorente over Morata, even if he later brings on Morata. Llorente’s form has improved since his poor start to the season, but he’s still not as dominant as he was for much of last season.
4-3-1-2 : Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Padoin; Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal; Marchisio; Tevez, Llorente
Andrea Barzagli, Martin Caceres and Kwadwo Asamoah
Patrice Evra and Angelo Ogbonna in the squad – Both returning from injury
Malmo are a tricky side. This is true of 99% of teams in the Champions League, barring huge disparities between the given leagues of two Champions League teams. Malmo are not pushovers, even in the previous match when they lost they still put up a respectable fight. And unlike Juve, they really don’t have any injuries.
In fact, the only Malmo player who may miss the match is Johan Hammar, a 20 year old defender. Hammar has played in three Champions League games, but he’s hardly the backbone of Malmo’s side.
No, if anyone is the backbone of Malmo it is Markus Rosenberg. Rosenberg has scored all two of their Champions League goals, versus Olympiakos, but he is their dangerman. Atletico Madrid managed to shut him down, and Juve did as well in the first match. Still, a momentary lapse in defending is all a player like Rosenberg needs.
Malmo’s recent form is pretty good, but they did suffer a rare league loss to Aatvidberg a few weeks ago, and they needed extra time to beat Halmia more recently in a Cup match. Though, they did recover from that with a 4-0 win in their last league game. So, their form certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not as hot as they would like it heading into a match versus Juventus.
Additionally, there have been some issues with the pitch in Sweden, and UEFA has been monitoring the situation attempting to help Malmo ready the pitch for the match. Preperations have been made, but we will all be fearing a (TRIGGER WARNING) repeat of the Galatasary match from last year.
4-4-2 Olsen; Ricardinho, Johansson, Helander, Tinnerholm; Forsberg, Adu, Halsti, Eriksson; Rosenberg, Thelin