After imposing a slender advantage in the first leg of the two-legged Europa League quarter-final tie against Sporting, Juventus will aim to gain momentum in their upward stride in the Serie A when they face Sassuolo away from home today.
Despite getting a 15-point reduction, manager Max Allegri has steered his Juventus side well to fight for the European spots which earlier seemed like a far-fetched idea for this season. Currently at 44 points and sitting 7th-placed in the league standings, the Bianconeri will have to grind hard and record desirable results at the business end of the season in order to land Europa League qualification for next season, though the chances of featuring in the Champions League are still alive.
The Turin-based side’s winning run of 4 league games came to an end in their last match against second-place Lazio as the encounter finished in a 2-1 defeat for the visitors. Midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic opened the scoring in the 38th minute and Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot soon equalised the scores before the break. Allegri’s men couldn’t make good use of the momentum they created just before half-time and instead, the Biancocelesti restored their one-goal lead through Mattia Zacagni which later won them the match.
Meanwhile, today’s hosts, Sassuolo have driven far clear of relegation fears as they now sit in 13th place, being clear of 14 points from 18th-placed Verona.
The Emilians have an enduring record against Juventus as they have lost 14 times out of the 19 they faced since getting promoted to the top division.
Since losing to league leaders Napoli in February, the Neroverdi mustered up an unbeaten run (W4, D1) which included a resilient 4-3 victory against Roma. However, their run came to an end in their last match against relegation-battling Verona made an emphatic comeback to seal the three points.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
L D W W W
W L D W W
Manager Allegri might be looking to rest goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after he felt trouble in breathing and chest pain during their Europa League match. Mattia Perin is set to deputize him.
Paul Pogba is expected to start from the bench after playing a part against Sporting.
Dusan Vlahovic is predicted to replace Arkadiusz Milik upfront after the latter started in their last match.
As for Sassuolo, star man Domenico Berardi may start from the bench and Nedim Bajrami is set to replace him.
Midfielder Davide Frattesi will certainly look to impress Juventus today as the visitors remain a firm candidate to land his signature this summer. Maxime Lopez and Matheus Henrique will also be featuring in the midfield.
Sassuolo (4-3-3): Consigli; Toljan, Erlic, Ferrari, Rogerio; Frattesi, Lopez, Henrique; Bajrami, Pinamonti, Lauriente
Juventus (3-5-2): Perin; Danilo, Bremer, Gatti; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Kean, Vlahovic
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN