It is safe to say Juventus FC were not off to the most convincing start to the 2019 Serie A campaign, despite being in second place in the Serie A standings. Even after a poor 0-0 draw at ACF Fiorentina a few weeks ago and looking somewhat shaky in defence thus far, Juve may now be coming into their form. After back to back victories against Hellas Verona FC and Brescia Calcio, it looks like things may be starting to turn around for the Bianconeri.
SPAL who are currently sitting in 19th place in the table, are coming off another rather one-sided defeat, this time losing 3-1 to US Lecce. This loss moved SPAL into the relegation zone, and if they plan on staying in Serie A next term, they must start putting some results together. Unfortunately for them, their Saturday afternoon task against Juve will surely not be any easier.
SPAL coach Leonardo Semplici will be hoping his team can put in a much better effort than they have been thus far this season, in hopes of picking up some points and avoiding relegation.
On the other side of the coaching battle, Juve coach Maurizio Sarri will be hoping his team can continue to improve after some not so great games this season. Juventus looked much better in their previous game against Brescia even though they only won the game 2-1. Whether Sarri decides to stick to his 4-3-3 formation or possibly go back to the 4-3-1-2 formation, one thing is for sure, this team has plenty of talent to pull out a favourable result.
Juventus (4-3-3): Wojciech Szczesny; Juan Cuadrado, Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs de Ligt, Blaise Matuidi; Emre Can, Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur; Federico Bernardeschi, Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo
SPAL (3-5-2): Etrit Berisha; Nenad Tomovic, Thiago Cionek, Francesco Vicari; Arkadiusz Reca, Alessandro Murgia, Simone Missiroli, Jasmin Kurtic, Gabriel Strefezza; Andrea Petagna, Federico Di Francesco
Juve have been hit hard and early by the injury bug this season. They will be without goalkeeper Mattia Perin, captain Giorgio Chiellini, right-back Mattia De Sciglio, Danilo, wingers Marko Pjaca and Douglas Costa for Saturday's clash.
It also seems like left-back Alex Sandro will be missing Saturday's matchup due to the tragic death of his father. Sandro flew back to Brazil on Thursday to be with his family.
SPAL have a few injuries of their own to deal with, as they look to be without midfielders Marco D'Alessandro and Mohamed Fares.
Who to watch
There is plenty of talented players to watch on this Juventus team and obviously Cristiano Ronaldo is one of them. But aside from him, Paulo Dybala has been electric in his last couple outings, proving to Sarri that he can still play and make a difference when he is given the opportunity. Another player to keep an eye on would be young midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who did not have the best season last year but is starting to rebound. His poise and calmness when on the ball is truly something not all players can possess.
Juve will also be hoping Federico Bernardeschi finds his form soon, as the Italian shows flashes of brilliance but is still at times wasteful and inconsistent.
From SPAL look to their frontman Andrea Petagna who has two goals and one assist in fives games so far this season. Also, young midfielder Alessandro Murgia has been consistent in the SPAL midfield and has even picked up an assist along the way. Lastly, the pacy and creative Federico Di Francesco is another talent to keep an eye on. The attacker also has two goals in fives games for SPAL.
SPAL will need another near perfect performance in this one, however, it is not impossible as Juventus have looked very suspect defensively. Also, with a lot of players absent from the Juventus lineup, SPAL could exploit some of the replacements coming in. If SPAL are able to play similarly like they did against SS Lazio when they came out on top of a surprising 2-1 victory, they may be able to steal a result.
With that said, if Juve play to their potential and continue to improve under coach Sarri, they should be able to come out of this one with a favorable result. With the way Internazionle have perfectly started the season, Juve will need to continue to collect wins to stay on pace with Inter if they want a chance at the scudetto again this season.
The Saturday clash takes place at 2:00 p.m (GMT+1) at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.