Juventus will face Villarreal for their first match in the Champions League round of 16. The Bianconeri drew against Torino on Friday and the Derby della Mole also gave them some problems in defence. Max Statman goes over the latest team news and gives you a probable starting lineup.
Juventus had trouble at the back before the match against Torino even started. Daniele Rugani was supposed to start, but suffered a hamstring injury. He will miss the game against Villarreal. Luca Pellegrini replaced Rugani on Friday, but, although selected for the squad, it looks like he won’t play in the Champions League due to a bruised knee.
Paulo Dybala also went off early on Friday and is out for Tuesday’s match, due to an muscle injury in his left thigh. It is expected that both Dybala and Rugani will miss two games. Federico Bernardeschi should start running on Tuesday and Giorgio Chiellini is still out.
On the other hand, Leonardo Bonucci is available against Villarreal. “Bonucci trained with the team for the first time. He didn’t feel any pain, so basically having him available for tomorrow’s match is a major achievement, because he can be fielded just in case”, Allegri said during Monday’s press conference.
Adrien Rabiot is fine, the coach added. There were some doubts over the Frenchman because of a clash with youth player Diego Stramaccioni during the training session on Monday morning. Danilo was suspended for the last match, but will be ready to play too.
Predicted starting XI
Two names that can be added to the starting lineup, are Dusan Vlahović and Alvaro Morata. Allegri confirmed that the duo will start upfront together. With Dybala out, Juan Cuadrado could join Vlahović and Morata in attack.
Danilo and De Ligt are expected to partner eachother in the heart of the defence. That means De Sciglio and Alex Sandro are the only names left that could realistically play as fullbacks. Allegri has rarely benched Rabiot, and with the Frenchman being fit, he should start in the midfield.
Max Statman predicted starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Danilo, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Zakaria, Locatelli, Rabiot ; Cuadrado, Vlahović, Morata
Juventus have never played Villarreal before, so there’s no numbers to talk about. Villarreal talisman Gerard Moreno, who already scored 11 and assisted 4 times this season, hasn’t been in the squad for the last 2 games and is expected to miss the match against Juventus too.
El Submarino Amarillo (the Yellow Submarine) have climbed the La Liga table in recent weeks and are now in 6th place. They beat Granada 4-1 on Saturday, with a hattrick by Danjuma. Villarreal have 6 wins, 2 draws and 2 loses in their last 10 matches.