With the international break now complete, we return to domestic action with what seems at least on paper one of the least challenging games of the season.
The squad is suffering somewhat, as are many others, with the addition to the sick ward of COVID 19 infections. We have all seen the news sweeping the globe of late that none other than our gilded evergreen superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is now self isolating due to a positive test. Add to this also Mckennie suffering the same bother and the make-up of the starting XI is set to undergo major changes for the third match on the trot.
Ramsey has also been added to the injury list, to join the usual suspects of De Ligt and Sandro.
All of which is far from a disaster, because this offers others the chance to impress and perhaps earn a regular place in the side.
GK : Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Buffon;
Defenders : Chiellini, Danilo, Cuadrado, Bonucci, Demiral, Frabotta;
Midfielders : Arthur, Chiesa, Rabiot, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Portanova, Kulusevski, Peeters;
Forwards : Morata, Dybala, Vrioni, Rafia.
This positive spin to the negative of the absentees shows 5 youngsters made available for the game. Some will remember Portanova from the friendly against Novara where he made a mega impact in the short time on the field.
Certainly one of most promising of the youth squad for many years, it was great to see him pre-season, yet curiously played in the RWB role rather than his usual more central attacking midfielder position. Which made not a jot of difference as he was continuously involved and grabbed two goals.
Peeters is a Belgian U21 international powerful CM. Rafia a burly creative trequartisa who plays through the middle. Vrioni a classic prima punta…and finally Frabrotta who we know from his splendid outing v Samp. Together with the other new signings, I believe this selection shows the lowest average age I have seen of a juve first team squad for many moons indeed. Promising, and something I believe we will see more often as the season progresses.
Whilst the circumstances are certainly not what I would have wished to bring about this injection of young, eager talent, nonetheless I am excited to see any of them find some playing time with the seniors.
It is likely we will see the front line comprising of Morata and Kulu, with Dybala making the squad but probably not sharp enough to start. Frabrotta to return at LWB with Juan on the opposite flank. Recent signing Chiesa may well make his debut in the TQ position linking midfield and attack and roaming across the field to connect where possible and keep the Crotone rearguard on the move.
Arthur and Bentancur look the best bet for the CM spots, although Rabiot has ‘served’ his one match ban I believe, due to the Napoli debacle ruling and also showed well on his return to the French side recently.
The CBs are expected to remain unchanged, although I hope to see Demiral at some stage who is coming off some fine performances for Turkey.
Some rumours abound of who will start between the sticks with many sources suggesting the veteran Buffon will get the nod for this one to help keep him fresh.
Juventus (3-4-3):Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, Chiellini; Cuadrado, Arthur, Bentancur, Frabotta; Chiesa, Morata, Kulusevski.
As for our opponents Crotone, they have played three, lost three, shipping 10 goals in the process –
This represents a fine chance to start building confidence and form towards the all important upcoming CL ties and anything less than a resounding victory will come as a shock.
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