Juventus vs Cagliari: The Bianconeri host tricky Cagliari
Cristiano Ronaldo scores a phenomenal header against Sampdoria in Juventus' last Serie A match (Getty Images/Marco Canoniero)

The teams 

Currently second in the Serie A table, Juventus FC will be looking to collect another victory in hopes of taking back top spot in Serie A from rivals Internazionale. Although both teams are tied with 42 points Inter are atop of the table as their goal differential is much better than Juventus', even though Juventus has the better head to head record thus far this season. The Bianconeri host Cagliari Calcio whom have had an incredible season thus far, which has put them in sixth place with 29 points. Not bad for a team that sold their best young player Nicolo Barella in the summer.     

It is fair to say Juve have not looked themselves this season under their new coach Maurizio Sarri and things must change for the better if they hope of being a threat in UEFA Champions League or reclaiming their Serie A title. In their most recent Serie A match, Juventus narrowly defeated UC Sampdoria 2-1, but a few days later they fell to SS Lazio 3-1 in the Supercoppa Italiana. It is clear consistency has been a real struggle for Juventus so far this season.        

On the other side of the pitch, Cagliari coach Rolando Maran has his squad playing some of their best football of their careers and if they can continue to do so, they will continue to shock many teams this year, potentially leading them to a UEFA Europa League spot. In Cagliari's most recent Serie A match they fell to a very tough 2-1 defeat to 14th place Udinese Calcio, it would be safe to say Rolando Maran's men will be looking to get back to winning ways against Juventus.  ​​​​​​​  

Though, both teams will prove to be tough opponents for each other. Struggling for consistency throughout the season, the Bianconeri will be hoping to find it after the winter break on Monday afternoon. However, if Juve are unable to play up to the quality we know they possess, they could very well come out of this fixture extremely disappointed and stuck in second place. 

Potential lineups 

Juventus (4-3-3): Wojciech Szczesny; Juan Cuadrado, Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic, Adrien Rabiot; Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala

Cagliari (4-3-1-2): Robin Olsen; Paolo Farago, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Ragnar Klavan, Luca Pellegrini; Marko Rog, Christian Oliva, Nahitan Nandez; Radja Nainggolan; Joao Pedro, Giovanni Simeone

Injuries and Suspensions 

​​​​​​​The reigning Serie A champions have dealt with quite a few injuries thus far and they will continue into Monday's matchup. Juve look to be without their injured captain Giorgio Chiellini and midfielder Sami Khedira. Rodrigo Bentancur will also miss the match due to accumulation of yellow cards leading to a one match suspension. 

Cagliari have a few key injuries and suspensions themselves. The likes of Alessio CragnoLuca Ceppitelli​​​​​​​Fabrizio Cacciatore and ​​​​​​​Leonardo Pavoletti all look set to miss the match due to various injuries. Also, veteran centre-back ​​​​​​​Fabio Pisacane is unavailable for the match due to a one match suspension.    

Players to watch​​​​​​​

From Juventus, keep an eye on their new superstar Paulo Dybala. Without question Dybala has been Juventus' best player this season collecting 5 goals, 3 assists in Serie A. Not only has his goal contributions be key but his overall play has been dominant and has really aided Juventus when their overall play was not very positive. Juve will surely be hoping that star Cristiano Ronaldo also finds his World-class form once again, as that has been largely missed this season.

Rolando Maran and Cagliari seem to have rejuvenated midfielder Radja Nainggolan since he rejoined the club in the summer from Inter. It seems Nainggolan is playing this season to prove to everyone he still has what it takes to be a top player in this league. In his 14 Serie A appearances this term, Nainggolan has collected 4 goals and 4 assists, not to mention a few of his goals were fantastic strikes. Look for Nainggolan to be the setup man for Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone going forward, but do not be surprised if Radja has a go himself from time to time. He is surely not done showing Inter what he can still do. 

Match details 

Monday's clash between these two will take place at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m (GMT+1), when both teams will battle it out in hopes of achieving victory to stay at the top end of the Serie A table.          

   

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