Juventus vs Bologna Preview and Prediction Serie Tim A 2017
Competition: Italian Serie A 2016-17
Date: Sunday, 8th January, 19:45 GMT
Stadium: Juventus Stadium (Torino).
It’s an angry Juventus against travel-sick Bologna, as Max Allegri has to shake off Supercoppa disappointment and start 2017 on a high.
Such are the demands at Juventus that, despite being four points clear at the top of Serie A with a game in hand and safely through to the last 16 of the Champions League in top spot, they come in to this game hungry and angry after their Super Cup defeat to Milan in Doha.
There was great disappointment inside the Turin club, not just due to the shootout failure against the Rossoneri, but also the error-littered performance they turned in on the day. Coach Allegri was visibly furious pitchside after the match, gesticulating passionately and criticising the display while talking with directors Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici.
The hard reality for Bologna, however, is that this rage is likely to mean there is an extra edge to the five-in-a-row Champions this weekend.
The Emilia-Romagna outfit are having an underwhelming season so far, sitting in 15th place with only six points taken away from home, three of which were gained last time out against bottom side Pescara. On the plus side, Roberto Donadoni’s men can point to the fact that they are 10 points clear of the relegation zone and are unbeaten in their last two Serie A ties with two clean sheets along the way, albeit they failed to score themselves against the fourth-bottom Empoli prior to their win in Pescara. The Veltri will be hoping their last two results are a springboard to a run which will propel them nearer the top 10. On paper it looks a very big ask, however, as Juventus have a perfect 27 points from nine home League games.
Juventus are likely to line up for this one in a 4-3-1-2 formation with Miralem Pjanic deployed in the trequartista role. While Allegri has stated he will not hesitate to use a trident attack of Pablo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain in the second half of the season, Sunday’s contest should see Dybala partnered with Pipita. The Old Lady’s new signing from Genoa, Venezuelan international midfielder Tomas Rincon, could be thrown in for his debut from the start. Allegri has no suspensions to hinder his selection, but will be without the injured trio Leonardo Bonucci, Dani Alves and Alex Sandro.
Bologna are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 with a likely front line of Luca Rizzo, Mattia Destro and Ladislav Krejci hoping to catch Juventus on the break. Donadoni will no doubt prepare his side to suffer long spells without the ball in this match and he will need both his front players and midfield three to sacrifice themselves to give sufficient protection to his defence. The Rossoblu have no suspensions, but will be without the injured Umar Sadiq and Simone Verdi, who is still several weeks off a return.
To sum up, it would take a brave man to bet on Bologna here. The Turin giants have made the Juventus stadium a fortress and, against a side who struggle on their travels, the champions will feel victory is an obligation. It will take a season-best performance from Donadoni’s boys to upset the odds on Sunday evening.
Keep an eye on: Pablo Dybala (Juventus) – The young Argentine has yet to hit the heights of last season, but the Bianconeri will be delighted he is fit again, as his combination of pace, technique and intelligence could be vital at the business end of the campaign. Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are both said to covet the gifted marksman.
Form guide: Juventus (W W W L W) Bologna (W D L L W)
Last season: Juventus 3-1 Bologna
Stat fact: Bologna have not beaten the Old Lady at home or away since a 2-0 triumph in Turin in February 2011, losing five and drawing three.
Top tip: Juventus to win to nil
Juventus (probable): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Evra; Khedira, Marchisio, Rincon; Pjanic; Dybala, Higuain
Prediction: under 2.5 Win JUVE