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Serie A: Juve Enter the New Year With Top Spot in Mind

Juventus vs Cagliari

As the title suggests, Juventus will look to secure their hold at the top spot of the Serie A table as they host Cagliari at the Allianz Stadium on Monday.

They are currently level with fellow contenders Inter Milan at 42 points apiece. The Nerazzurri had a chance to take the lead for good last month. However, they weren’t able to get the job done after drawing level against AS Roma.

Juve have slowly found their groove once more since losing against Lazio, who are making their case as a title contender, as they’ve had it easy against Udinese and Sampdoria.

They will face a Cagliari squad who are struggling as of late with back-to-back losses against Lazio and Udinese. Rolando Maran’s side will try to do all they can in order to snap their skid to avoid slipping out of the top six.

Nonetheless, this should be a thrilling match come Monday and SBOTOP is here to provide you with a quick preview.

 

Talking Points

Juve struggling with consistency

The famous Sarri-ball has probably drawn mixed reactions to their fans since they have not really looked like their usual invincible selves so far this season, and they must find a way to break through if they would want to retain their Serie A title and also be a contender for the UEFA Champions League.

Juventus recently lost to Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana Finals, which means that they could put their full focus on the task at hand in the Serie A.

Maurizio Sarri had been hesitant to consistently put Paulo Dybala alongside his top strikers in the lineup. And when he did, it did result to instances where Cristiano Ronaldo was being benched drawing his ire in the process.

And perhaps inserting Dybala along with Higuain and Ronaldo should be the best move going forward as it has been working to perfection.

The Bianconeri’s offence was elevated to a higher level when Dybala is in the lineup. Juventus managed to score 2.5 goals per contest in their last two games, albeit it was against lower-tier teams in Udinese and Sampdoria.

Cristiano Ronaldo looked rejuvenated as of late as if he drank the fountain of youth. The Portuguese superstar even produced one of the best moments in their game against Sampdoria when he jumped really high over a defender for a hang time header. That should undoubtedly be part of the Serie A 2020 highlights.

In this game, their midfield, in particular, will take a slight hit. Sami Khedira and Rodrigo Bentancur will be out due to a one-match suspension while captain defender Giorgio Chiellini is sidelined due to a knee injury.

Cagliari have only won two of their 38 away matches against Juventus in Serie A
Cagliari coach Rolando Maran reacts during a game vs Lazio

Can Cagliari keep up with the big boys?

That has been the big question ever since the Rossoblu have made their surprising start for the season. They currently hold the solo sixth spot at the table with 29 points.

Team manager Rolando Maran has his players clicking, as evidenced by their winning streak earlier during the season. Since September, they’ve won eight matches and drawn five matches before losing two straight times.

Joao Pedro continues to be the alpha dog for Cagliari with 11 goals so far this season (good for third). Giovanni Simeone is right behind him with five.

Other guys like Alessio Cragno, Luca Ceppitelli, Fabrizio Cacciatore, Leonardo Pavoletti have been helpful as well. However, they will sit out in this match due their respective injuries. Veteran centre-back Fabio Pisacane, meanwhile, will be unavailable due to a one-match suspension.

This will be a big test for Rolando Maran’s side. Along with Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone, much of the burden will be placed on Radja Nainggolan’s shoulders. Nainggolan is expected to be their main playmaker as he’s collected four goals and four assists already this term.

 

History

Juventus has dominated Cagliari for quite some time now since they haven’t lost to them since November 2009 in Serie A (W14, D3).

The Bianconeri have been unbeaten at home in Serie A in 2019 (W13, D4), and the only clubs who have achieved that similar feat are Liverpool and Barcelona.

 

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