After a disappointing Champions League exit, Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to help get Juventus’ Serie A title defense back on track at Cagliari.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus head to Cagliari on Sunday evening in need of a response after last week’s disappointing Champions League exit.
A whopping 30-point gap lies between the two under-performing clubs in the Serie A table. Juventus are ahead in third-place and need a win to keep their title hopes alive, while Cagliari are fighting for survival down in 17th.
Fine margins could decide this game. Cagliari have shown promise under a new manager and won the corresponding fixture 2-0. A lack of attacking edge, however, could prove costly against reigning champions Juventus.
Cagliari Form & Stats
Radja Nainggolan’s last-gasp equalizer sealed Cagliari a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria last time out. The stalemate was enough to move the club two points above the relegation zone and maintain manager Leonardo Semplici’s unbeaten start.
The former SPAL boss has won two of his opening three games (D1) in charge since replacing Eusebio Di Francesco last month. But his first true test comes on Sunday against Juventus, a team Semplici has only beaten once in five clashes (D1 L3). The outcome could make a decisive impact on how he ultimately fares in Sardinia.
Not helping matters is Cagliari’s poor home form. The Islanders have lost six of their last 10 games at the Sardegna Arena, winning just one time (D3), and averaging less than a goal. The one bright spark, and the club’s biggest hope, is Joao Pedro. The Brazilian forward continues to be prolific in front of goal and may represent Juventus’ biggest threat.
Key Team Stats
- Won 2 of their 3 league games under new manager Leonardo Semplici (D1).
- Lost 6 of their last 10 home league games (W1 D3) and averaged under 1 goal scored.
- Under 2.5 goals in their last 4 home games against Juventus in all competitions.
- Leonardo Semplici has lost 3 of his five games against Juventus (W1 D1).
- Joao Pedro has scored 13 goals in 26 league games and 2 goals in his last 3 outings.
Juventus Form & Stats
Criticism has hit Juventus, especially star man Cristiano Ronaldo, hard since the shock Champions League last-16 exit. The Old Lady only have the Serie A left to compete in until May’s Coppa Italia final.
Andrea Pirlo needs a response from his side. The rookie coach has been called out for his tactical choices and lack of organization recently, which have left Juventus still in search of consistency this season. But, the two Porto matches aside, the club’s defensive has done well despite the long-running injury crisis. They’ve also won each of their last seven home league games.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, has had a hand in seven goals (5 goals, 2 assists) in only four league games against Cagliari. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has a point to prove in Sardinia as he and Juventus look to get their title bid back on track.
Key Team Stats
- Won only 5 of their 12 away league games (D5 L2).
- Won 8 of their last 9 games against Cagliari in all competitions.
- Kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 9 games against Cagliari in all competitions.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has managed 5 goals and 2 assists in 4 league games against Cagliari.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 4 goals in his last 4 league games.
- Alvaro Morata is just 1 goal away from equaling Fernando Llorente (23 goals) as Juventus’ top Spanish goalscorer in Serie A.
- Juan Cuadrado has made 14 assists in 27 games in all competitions.
Out: Marko Rog, Riccardo Sottil, Leonardo Pavoletti, Charalampos Lykogiannis.
Out: Paulo Dybala, Merih Demiral, Rodrigo Bentancur, Gianluigi Buffon, Aaron Ramsey.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Top Goalscorers in Serie A
Below are some head-to-head stats on each team’s recent form in Serie A.