Juventus are being dragged to the absolute limit in the Serie A title race this season, with Inter only being two points behind them. One mistake could cost them an edge in the title race and things will get more difficult when they face Parma on Sunday night. The visitors are having their best season in years, with a thunderous front-line capable of upsetting anybody in the league. Maurizio Sarri’s side must be wary of their threat but continuing playing the dominant style in order to keep their top spot well secured.
Story Behind The Game
The Bianconeri have taken some time adapting to Sarriball, but have been in inspired form after the turn of the year. With thumping wins over Cagliari, Udinese and at Rome, they’ve set up the momentum needed to go all the way into winning the title.
Parma haven’t been as fortunate in 2020, suffering some demotivating losses against Atalanta and AS Roma, not looking as good as they did in the first half of the season. That being said, they still have the firepower to run rings around defences.
Juventus have an unbeaten record against the visitors since they were promoted into the Serie A, but they were held to an astonishing 3-3 draw the last time these two met at the Juventus Stadium last season.
At this point, however, there are no let-ups for the defending champions. They just cannot afford to drop points against sides inferior to them and must keep on winning in order to create even more pressure for those behind them. Another formidable win is necessary for Sarri’s side to get more confidence and some breathing room at the top.
Parma might not have started the year well, but they have the reputation of popping up surprise results. If they manage to get anything out from the defending champions fortress, it’ll be a huge momentum-builder for Roberto D’Aversa’s side and give them the confidence to rediscover their old form.
The Old Lady’s injury list piled up when defender Merih Demiral was ruled out for the season after suffering a Crucial Ligament Rupture against Roma. Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Mattia De Sciglio are all ruled out, but Cristiano Ronaldo should be back after missing the last game.
Parma have a few injury troubles of their own, with influential winger Gervinho being ruled out for the game. Alberto Grassi and Yan Karamoh have also been ruled out.
Juventus XI: Szczesny, Cuadrado, De Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro, Pjanic, Rabiot, Matuidi, Ramsey, Dybala, Ronaldo
Parma XI: Seppe, Darmian, Iacoponi, Alves, Gagliolo, Hernani, Kucka, Scozzarella, Kulusevski, Kurtic, Inglese
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Bruno Alves
The battle of the Portuguese will commence at the Juventus Stadium on Sunday. Cristiano Ronaldo has seemingly hit a Ballon d’Or form once again. With seven goals in his last give games, the Portuguese captain is delivering big time for the Bianconeri. Bruno Alves might be past his prime, but he’ll want to prove that an old dog still has tricks in him. He’ll want to limit his fellow compatriot to having a quiet game, hence greatly reducing Juventus’ attacking intensity and giving Parma a chance to sneak a win.
Dejan Kulusevski vs Alex Sandro
Dejan Kulusevski signed for Juventus recently in the winter transfer window, but being loaned back to Parma means he’ll be ready to cause harm against his employers on Sunday. The Swede has a lot of tricks in his arsenal and is having a dream season, inspiring his side by creating chances, scoring goals and being a menace in attack. Alex Sandro has the job of dealing with him and must prove his defensive traits to keep him quiet. Kulusevski’s a lively customer, so the Brazilian must retain utmost concentration to keep his future team-mate from running riot at the Juventus Stadium.
What The Managers Said
Maurizio Sarri is well aware of how dangerous a side Parma are this season and expressed how his side must respect their opponents on Sunday.
He said, "Parma are doing well in the table, they are only one point away from Europe. On Thursday in the Coppa Italia, they practically rested all but two starts, so they will be in good condition. They are a resilient team that knows how to regroup and to counter well.”
"They have done very well on the road and we will have to be careful not to play into their hands. They have no weaknesses, even on a defensive level Parma are solid, having physical players like Kucka and Kurtic who give a great physicality and substance to the midfield. They have excellent attackers like Inglese, Kulusevski and Gervinho."
His opposition manager Roberto D’Aversa spoke about his talisman Kulusevski and gave him some valuable advice now that the spotlight is strictly on him after moving to Juventus.
He explained, “Kulusevski has to work even harder now, as people no longer see him as this promising newcomer promoted from the Atalanta youth team. I would advise him not to try over-doing it, to attempt something spectacular every time. He should continue with the attitude he’s had so far, which is to really enjoy his football.”