After securing the biggest win of a troubled season, Juventus aim to continue their run of Serie A success when they visit rock-bottom Hellas Verona on Thursday.
Despite victory in the Derby d’Italia – their fourth league win on the spin – Juve are only fifth in the standings approaching the World Cup break; meanwhile, their hosts have picked up just five points so far and sit inside the drop zone as a result.
With both clubs trailing behind in the first phase of the Scudetto race, old foes Juventus and Inter were equally desperate for points when they convened in Turin at the weekend, only days after the hosts had bowed out of the Champions League.
Putting on a committed defensive display to record their fourth straight clean sheet in the top flight, Juve shrugged off their European woes and leapt above their Milanese rivals in the table – second-half strikes from Adrien Rabiot and primavera graduate Nicolo Fagioli earning a merited 2-0 win.
After Fagioli’s brilliant goal in Lecce at the end of October, Max Allegri’s men have also won each of their last two away games 1-0, and they could now win three in a row without conceding for the first time since the end of 2018, when they still reigned supreme in Serie A.
Across the top 10 European leagues so far this term, only Barcelona and Juve’s Champions League conquerors Benfica have conceded fewer goals domestically than the Bianconeri. Thanks to such resilience, they are now aiming to record five straight league victories for the first time since a run of seven under Maurizio Sarri, who departed back in 2020.
All of which is a far cry from the doom and gloom surrounding the club before Sunday’s Derby d’Italia success, and Juventus – recently drawn to face Nantes next February, in the unfamiliar surrounds of the Europa League – have introduced several starlets, such as Fagioli and Fabio Miretti, who offer hope for the future.
More immediately, though, they conclude the first part of their Serie A campaign by following Thursday’s trip to Veneto with a return to Turin, where they meet Sarri’s in-form Lazio on Sunday.
While Verona have won three of their last five home matches against Juventus – as many as in the previous 12 – more recent form suggests they will have a struggle on their hands this week.
They welcome the Old Lady to Stadio Bentegodi having lost eight Serie A games in a row for the first time in club history, and they prop up the top-flight table with more than a third of the season completed.
Before last Sunday’s loss to promoted Monza – who also shocked Juve earlier this season – two of their three previous defeats had been at the hands of Milan and Roma, but Salvatore Bocchetti’s side are struggling to score no matter what the calibre of opposition.
Now set to encounter Allegri’s disciplined outfit, Hellas have found the net only five times in eight outings since the start of September, so certainly face an uphill task.
Despite ditching Gabriele Cioffi for the untested Bocchetti last month, the litany of misery has continued at the Bentegodi: Verona have lost five of their first six home games, while recording 10 defeats in the opening 13 fixtures for the first time ever.
While both Leandro Paredes and Moise Kean have returned to full training and could feature on Thursday, Max Allegri’s injury list still includes Weston McKennie, Mattia De Sciglio and star striker Dusan Vlahovic, who all missed out on Juve’s win over Inter.
Long-term absentee Federico Chiesa made his comeback from injury against PSG last week, and should make another cameo from the bench, but Paul Pogba remains out of action and will also miss France’s defence of the World Cup.
With Vlahovic’s presence in serious doubt, Arkadiusz Milik should lead the line up front again, having previously scored four goals in three games versus Verona in Serie A; young guns Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti could also keep their place.
Meanwhile, Allegri’s opposite number Salvatore Bocchetti will have more defensive options at his disposal in midweek, as Pawel Dawidowicz, Federico Ceccherini and Fabio Depaoli all return.
Giangiacomo Magnani must serve a suspension, though, due to his dismissal in Sunday’s defeat to Monza – World Cup hopeful Dawidowicz should take his place in the hosts’ back three.
Ivan Ilic and Davide Faraoni are among those set to be sidelined by injury, and Depaoli could deputise for the latter on Verona’s right flank.
Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Dawidowicz, Gunter, Ceccherini; Depaoli, Veloso, Tameze, Doig; Kallon, Lazovic; Henry
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Sczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Miretti; Milik