Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus begin the defense of their Serie A crown at home to Sampdoria on Sunday night.
(Unibet odds above – Juventus win/Draw/Sampdoria win)
A 10th consecutive Serie A title is the aim for Juventus in what could be another trying season. They may still be the team to beat. But, in many ways, they head into uncharted territory with a rookie manager in Andrea Pirlo, who only recently claimed his coaching badges.
The best way for the Italian to dispel doubts will rely on the outcome on Sunday. Three points will set Juve on their way, although Sampdoria have other ideas and may view the match as a oportune moment.
Juventus Form & Stats
Anything less than all three points in his competitive debut would be a disappointment for Pirlo. He may be a rookie, but failure is never an option at such a big club. The Old Lady icon, therefore, needs to get his tenure off to a winning start.
There are also rumors in the Italian press claiming that Pirlo plans to adopt Antonio Conte’s old 3-5-2 or a 3-4-1-2 formation. Should this be true, it would be a welcome change from Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3. The squad wasn’t suited for such a system last season and suffered, resulting in a Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Lyon.
The big news coming from Turn, of course, was Pirlo admitting a move for Luis Suarez is ‘unlikely’. The Barcelona outcast flew to Italy on Thursday for a citizenship test, but gaining an Italian passport may take too long. Although ‘The Architect’ still wants a new striker and is targeting AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko.
Pirlo has also welcomed another unwanted Barcelona star to the fold in Arthur Melo, along with midfielder Weston McKennie and goalkeeper Stefano Gori.
But losing key players for his debut in Paulo Dybala, Federico Bernardeschi, Matthijs de Ligt and Alex Sandro were unwelcome setbacks. This may grant starting opportunities for youngsters Dejan Kulusevski and Luca Pellegrini.
Key Team Stats
- Have won 9 of their last 11 games against Sampdoria in all competitions.
- Have won 66% of their season-opening games in the Serie A since 1957/58.
- Over 2.5 goals scored in last five home games in the Serie A.
- Have been ahead of Sampdoria at half-time & full-time in five of their last seven home games.
Sampdoria Form & Stats
Last season was bitterly disappointing for Sampdoria, having finished 15th in the standings with 20 defeats. Hence, they go into the 2020/21 campaign hoping to consolidate their Serie A status and move back up the ladder.
There were positives when Claudio Ranieri took charge, however, leading fans to hope for more of the same this term.
The former Chelsea and Leicester City boss hasn’t shied away from the challenge either, recruiting nine new players this summer. Among them are Danish winger Mikkel Damsgaard and former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida.
And while visiting the Allianz Stadium isn’t an ideal start for any team, Ranieri can take heart from an almost full squad.
Key Team Stats
- Have conceded 16 goals in last five away games against Juventus in the Serie A.
- Scored nearly half of their 42 points in away games last season.
Juventus & Sampdoria Team News
Juventus: Dybala (thigh), Bernardeschi (thigh), De Ligt (shoulder) Sandro (muscular).
Sampdoria: D’Amico (unspecificed injury), Askildsen (suspended).
Anytime Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo
Last season was no walk in the park for Ronaldo in what was one of the competitive and eye-catching campaigns in recent Italian history. But the harder the challenge, the more he relishes it.
The Portuguese ace prevailed when Juventus needed him most, scoring 26 goals in his final 23 games. His contributions were vital in enabling the Bianconeri to pip Inter Milan by a single point to the Serie A title.
His prolific form last term, on top of breaking the 100-goal barrier in international against Sweden recently, makes him a strong favorite to score tonight. Unibet has priced him at 1.50 to score at any time. You can also place a bet with odds of 3.15 for Ronaldo to score first or last during the game.