The Serie A is back, and we delve into some of the most exciting matches of this weekend. On Saturday, last year’s Scudetto winners Juventus will be hosting Eusebio Di Francesco’s Cagliari at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
Andrea Pirlo’s men are yet to click into the highest gear and are currently placed 5th in the league standings. On the other hand, Cagliari have had a fairly reasonable start for their standards, with Di Francesco’s side currently sitting in 11th place but only 4 points behind the Champions League places.
The Cult of Calcio previews Juventus’ home game against Cagliari also presenting the probable lineups of both teams.
Juventus – Cagliari
Serie A Round 8
Saturday, 21 November 2020
Kick-off at 20:45 (CET)
Allianz Stadium, Turin
Recent Form – Juventus
The Old Lady come into this game after a last-minute heartbreak against Lazio. It looked like Juve will come away with all three points in their bag after Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 6th goal of the season to put last year’s champions ahead. However, Lazio’s Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo scored yet another injury-time goal to rescue a point for the Biancocelesti. A draw means Juventus are now 4 points behind the league leaders Milan even though they are still unbeaten in this Serie A season.
So far, Pirlo’s team has won 3 and drawn the other 4 of the 7 matches they have played. An unexpected one-all draws against Crotone and Hellas Verona have further strengthened a feeling that Juve are yet to move into a gear they have been accustomed to over the past years.
Under the guidance of legendary Pirlo, the 36-time Italian champions on average score 2.14 goals per game (6th joint-best result), with an npxG (non-penalty expected goals) value of 1.72. It implies that there is still room for improvement in front of the opposition’s goal for this Juventus team in terms of creating more high-quality chances. On the other end, Juve are solid as always. On average, Pirlo’s men concede less than a goal per game (0.86), which is the league’s 2nd best result. Their 7.04 xGA (expected goals allowed) score further confirms Juventus’ solidity at the back.
Team News and Predicted Lineups – Juventus
Pirlo is expected to go with a three at the back system he has been using so far this season. Leonardo Bonucci and Aaron Ramsey are guaranteed to miss Saturday’s game. In contrast, Paulo Dybala, Federico Chiesa, and Giorgio Chiellini are racing to be fit and are likely to find themselves on the bench for Saturday’s encounter.
Expected Starting XI (3-4-1-2): Szczesny; Demiral, De Ligt, Danilo; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Arthur, Alex Sandro; Kulusevski; Cristiano Ronaldo, Morata
Unavailable: Leonardo Bonucci, Aaron Ramsey
Doubtful: Paulo Dybala, Giorgio Chiellini
Recent Form – Cagliari
Cagliari can be considered as one of the top-performing sides of the Serie A in recent weeks. The Islanders have won 4 of their last 5 matches, including the Coppa Italia tie against Cremonese, which has placed them in touching distance of European places. In the last matchday just before the international break, Di Francesco’s men sealed a comfortable 2-0 home win against Sampdoria.
Cagliari are currently 7th highest-scoring team in the Serie A, having netted 14 times in 7 matches (avg. 2.00 goals per game). However, their npxG (non-penalty expected goals) stand at 9.5, which is 12th best-result in the league. It means that Cagliari do not create as many high-quality scoring chances as their actual goal tally suggests. Conversely, they have the 4th worst defence in the Serie A, conceding on average 2.14 goals per game. Protecting their goal against Juventus will undoubtedly be a very difficult task for Di Francesco’s men.
Team News and Predicted Lineups – Cagliari
Eusebio Di Francesco opted for a 4-2-3-1 tactical formation in the last couple of matches; thus, it is wise to assume that the 51-year-old coach will stick to the same set-up. Cagliari have far fewer injury concerns than their opponents from Turin, with Simone Pinna, Charalampos Lykogiannis, and Zito Luvumbo the only potential absentees for this match.
Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Cragno; Zappa, Walukiewicz, Godin, Tripaldelli; Marin, Rog; Nandez, Joao Pedro, Sottil; Simeone
Unavailable: Simone Pinna, Charalampos Lykogiannis
Doubtful: Zito Luvumbo
Juventus vs Cagliari – Previous Meetings
Both teams will meet for the 85th time in their respective histories, with Juventus triumphing over their opponents from Cagliari a total of 42 times (49.4% win ratio). In contrast, Cagliari have been on the winning side only 14 times (16.5% win ratio), with the remaining 28 matches ending in a draw.
The last time both teams met each other was back in July and Cagliari managed to come out victorious with a surprising 2-0 win.
Although at first glance, it looks like a fairly routine win for Juve, the match does have a potentially surprising factor in it. Cagliari have won 3 of the last 4 Serie A matches, scoring 9 goals in total, which sets us up for an intriguing encounter.