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Previewing Juventus, our next opponents in the UEFA Champions League

The “Old Lady” of Italian football are our next challenge in Europe as the Gazprom Arena plays host to arguably the biggest club match in its history. We asked @JuventusFans to give us a preview of what we can expect.

Previewing Juventus, our next opponents in the UEFA Champions League

There has been a lot of media coverage of the Juventus team in recent seasons, after nine consecutive league titles, last season Juventus had to surrender the scepter to Antonio Conte's Inter. Perhaps due to too many changes on the bench between Allegri, Sarri and Pirlo, the bianconeri have lost the continuity that characterized the club of the past decade, and especially on a defensive level. The last two seasons have seen Juventus uncharacteristically concede too many goals compared to the team’s usually tight backline. However, Juventus go into the match in form and on a high after a 1-0 win at home to Jose Mourinho’s Roma, the only goal of the game coming from 21-year-old Italian international striker Moise Kean, currently back at his first pro club on loan from Everton. The win lifts Juve up to 7th in the table, and was their fourth consecutive Serie A win in a row.

Allegri's return is a plan to improve the team's balance, especially at the back with the experienced coach trying to put in order a team that gives away too many opportunities to the opposition and had depended too much upon the now departed Cristiano Ronaldo for goals. Slowly he is trying to recreate the team spirit that had won so many championships in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe. With the transfer of Ronaldo to Manchester United, the two best players in the team are now doubtlessly Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa. Dybala, who’d suffered from continuous injuries, must find the performance and continuity he had before Ronaldo's arrival. Chiesa on the other hand, is confirming what he had shown last season and will be the key element for Juventus against Zenit. According to Allegri's words, Morata has fully recovered and will be available, Dybala is out, Rabiot is awaiting a negative test covid that could arrive before the Champions League match and De Ligt is suffering from muscle fatigue and is a doubt for Wednesday. 

Juventus currently sit atop of Group H and have yet to concede a goal in the UEFA Champions League group stage. A convincing 3-0 away win over Malmo opened the Italian side’s campaign and a 1-0 win over European champions Chelsea at home in their second game means the bianconeri are in the driving seat in the group and a very stiff challenge awaits the Russian champions on Wednesday. 

The probable starting XI and formation for the bianconeri for Zenit v Juventus is :

(4-4-2) Szczęsny; Danilo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Arthur, Bernardeschi; Chiesa, Morata.

Zenit v Juventus takes place at the Gazprom Arena on 20 October with a 10pm kick-off. Thanks to @JuventusFan for preparing the preview for us, give them a follow on Twitter for all the Juventus news you need in English.