After playing out a frustrating draw in the Europa League, Serie A action returns for Juventus as they face Spezia today at the Stadio Alberto Picco.
Since their defeat to Monza at the end of January, Juventus have mustered a winning run of three consecutive matches until they disappointed against Nantes in a lacklustre Europa League match this past Friday.
Striker Dusan Vlahovic continued his top form at the front as he opened the scoring against the French side. A lightning counter-attack from the visitors, however, levelled the scores in the 60th minute through Ludovic Blas. There was madness in added time as Juventus were ruled out a penalty controversially and the game ended left to be decided in France.
The Bianconeri still remains defensively formidable as they conceded only 17 times throughout the season, only league leaders Napoli have conceded (15) less than them.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri will aim to win this encounter eloquently as they need themselves to be back into winning ways and continue their climb in the top-half of the table.
Meanwhile, Spezia approach this match on the back of a winless run of 5 consecutive games.
Three straight defeats and a draw in their most recent outing have rendered them slip further down in the table as Spezia now sit in 17th place, only two points away from the relegation zone.
Spezia suffered heartbreak in their last league match against Empoli as they squandered a two-goal lead. Daniele Verde’s first-half brace gave the Aquilotti a swift lead. However, Empoli reinvigorated in the 71st minute as a goal from Nicolo Cambiaghi halved the visitor’s lead. The equaliser came in added time from Emanuel Vignato as Spezia failed to cement their survival hopes.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions
D L L L L W
D W W W L
Massimiliano Allegri will miss defender Gleison Bremer for this match through a suspension. Mattia Perin remains out with an illness. Arkadiusz Milik, Fabio Miretti and Paul Pogba are out for this match with long-term injuries.
Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro return to the side while Daniel Rugani may deputize for Bremer. Federico Chiesa is not going to feature, as the Italian is not in the squad with Allegri having one eye at the away tie against Nantes.
As for Spezia, they have a long list of absentees with Simone Bastoni, Szymon Zurkowski, Jacopo Sala and Jeroen Zoet including themselves.
Viktor Kovalenko and M’bala Nzola are partially match fit and could get some minutes today.
Spezia (3-5-2): Dragowski; Amian, Caldara, Nikolaou; Holm, Bourabia, Ampadu, Agudelo, Reca; Gyasi, Shomurodov
Juventus (3-4-3): Szczesny; Danilo, Rugani, Bonucci; De Sciglio, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic, Kean
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN