Cristiano Ronaldo returns to action for Juventus ahead of a must-win game against Cagliari in the Serie A.
Juventus welcome Cagliari to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night aiming to maintain their unbeaten start to the Serie A season.
Just three points are all that separate the two teams in the league standings. Juve sit above in fifth-place on 13 points on seven games, with Cagliari six places behind in 11th.
Although the free-scoring visitors are in excellent form and should put Andrea Pirlo’s injury-plagued defense to the test. They also won the previous meeting with the Bianconeri 2-0 at Sardinia back in July.
Juventus Form & Stats
Felipe Caicedo’s last-gasp equalizer forced Juventus to settle for a 1-1 draw with Lazio last time out. It was their fourth stalemate of the season already and knocked them off the top-four. But AC Milan’s failure to beat Hellas Verona reduced the damage, leaving their four-point deficit to the leaders unchanged.
Pirlo knows, however, that anything less than victory at home to Cagliari is unacceptable. The rookie coach may be unbeaten in his opening seven league games, but just three wins are beneath the club’s high standards.
Three points in Turin would also set Juventus up nicely for their hectic winter schedule. Between this Saturday until December 22, the Bianconeri will play 10 matches in the Serie A and Champions League – about one game every three days on average.
Not helping matters, though, is the double injury-blow Pirlo suffered during the international break in veteran center-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. But Matthijs de Ligt has returned to training and could partner with Merih Demiral.
While Juve’s strong home form in the league, along with a superb head-to-head record against Cagliari, suggests a victory is expected.
Key Team Stats
- Cristiano Ronaldo has managed three goals and two assists in three league games against Cagliari.
- Won seven of their last eight league games against Cagliari (L1).
- Scored three or more goals in their last four home games against Cagliari in all competitions.
- Won 29 of their last 36 home league games (D6 L1).
- BTTS in five of their last seven games in all competitions.
Cagliari Form & Stats
Eusebio Di Francesco has breathed new life into Cagliari after becoming manager in August. The former AS Roma boss has led the club to four wins in their last five games in all competitions, scoring 12 goals in the meantime.
The Gli Isolani’s improvement in the final third has probably been their biggest change so far. It’s led Giovanni Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego, and Joao Pedro to supply the goals on a more consistent basis. The pair could very well wreak havoc on Juventus’ injury-stricken defense in Turin.
Simeone, meanwhile, could reach an important milestone by scoring his 50th goal in the Serie A. In fact, the 25-year-old striker has contributed four goals and an assist in his last four league appearances.
Cagliari also seem to save their best for last in games, having only been ahead at half-time in one of their last five outings despite winning four of them.
Boasting the league’s fourth-worst defensive record with 15 conceded goals, on the other hand, suggests the visitors may struggle to contain Cristiano Ronaldo and co at the Allianz Stadium.
Key Team Stats
- Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone have both scored five goals in seven league games this season.
- Won four of their last five games in all competitions.
- Over 2.5 goals in six of their last seven away league games.
- Lost five of their last seven away games in all competitions (W1 D1).
- BTTS in five of their last seven away games in all competitions.
Juventus: Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, & Aaron Ramsey (out).
Cagliari: Luca Ceppitelli, Charalampos Lykogiannis, & Paolo Farago.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Top Goalscorers in Recent Games
Below are some head-to-head stats on each teams recent form in the Serie A.