The Juventus XI Maurizio Sarri Should Select to Face Udinese

​It’s been a great start to the new year for Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus.

A 4-0 mauling of Cagliari and a hard-fought 2-1 win away at Roma has seen them bounce back from their disappointing end to 2019 – where they lost in the Supercoppa Italiana to Lazio.

AS Roma v Juventus - Serie A

Those two victories and Inter’s recent 1-1 draw against Atalanta means I Bianconeri hold a two-point lead at the top of Serie A, but their attention now turns to the Coppa Italia and Udinese – a side who have won their last three league games and are level on points with Napoli.

After winning the competition four seasons running between 2014 and 2018, they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage last time out to eventual finalists Atalanta – who would go on to lose to Lazio 2-0.

Nevertheless, with winning the Scudetto the main focus, you can expect some rotation by Sarri ahead of his side’s home fixture with Parma on Sunday. Here’s how he could lineup for the Coppa Italia clash at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night.


Goalkeeper and Defenders

Matthijs de Ligt

Gianluigi Buffon (GK) – Chances have come few and far between for the 41-year-old since his return to Turin in the summer as Wojciech Szczęsny – one of Europe’s finest shot-stoppers – has firmly established himself as the number one. With Buffon the number two, he should start Juve’s cup outings.

Danilo (RB) – Juan Cuadrado’s renaissance at full back has seen Brazilian Danilo’s game time in Serie A limited since the start of 2020, playing just 21 minutes in Juve’s last two matches. Nevertheless, he’s a technically sound and steady performer down the right-hand side and Sarri will likely give the versatile full back a start here.

Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – After losing his spot in the side to the persistently impressive Merih Demiral, the Dutchman showed why Juve spent over £67m for his services in the summer with an outstanding performance against Roma on the weekend. It was a display reminiscent of his showings in last season’s Champions League and with Demiral out for the long-haul, the former Ajax man will be a fixture at the heart of the Bianconeri backline for the remainder of the campaign.

Daniele Rugani (CB) – With 32-year-old Leonardo Bonucci deserving of a good old rest and the rest of Juve’s senior centre backs ruled out, Rugani is a sure bet to start in defence. While he’s often flattered to deceive in a Juve shirt, Rugani should get a run out in the domestic cup – likely as a showcase for other clubs interested in signing him.

Alex Sandro (LB) – Sarri won’t want to do this but with Mattia De Sciglio unlikely to be fit in time for Wednesday, he might have to. 28-year-old Sandro has started and finished both games in 2020 thus far and his Italian boss surely would have liked to have rested the dynamic left-back for this one. However, availability issues may force the Brazilian to start once more down the left.


Midfielders

Blaise Matuidi

Adrien Rabiot (CM) – With Juve severely stockpiled in midfield, chances have been tougher to come by for Rabiot than they were at PSG – when he made himself available for selection for the French giants, that is. Seven starts and 11 appearances in Serie A in total isn’t particularly impressive, and neither is his record of zero goals and zero assists.

Miralem Pjanic (CM) Perhaps the best central midfielder in Serie A. Has become increasingly important to Juve, with his top attributes including his passing and set-piece ability.

Blaise Matuidi (CM) – The World Cup winner is one of Juve’s hardest workers and often fills in across the board when injuries strike. He should feature in a more familiar central role here and will likely be one of the runners from midfield supporting Juve’s attackers. 


Forwards

Federico Bernardeschi

Federico Bernardeschi (CAM) – The Italian is another who’s struggled to excel under his new manager this season – scoring just one goal in all competitions. While a gifted footballer and one who can be great to watch in full-flow, Bernardeschi has struggled for confidence in the final third and has been guilty of losing possession far too often. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old – who hasn’t started Juve’s last five – will likely get minutes here as he has his sights on a starting spot at Euro 2020.

Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – The lad doesn’t like having days off, so expect him to feature against Udinese. Has 14 goals in 16 league appearances this season.

Gonzalo Higuain (ST) – The Argentine has come up with several pivotal goals this season – scoring five overall – but has been forced to watch Paulo Dybala and Ronaldo lead the line in Juve’s last two. It’s clear the Italian boss is an admirer of Higuain and you can expect the veteran to be a key part of Sarri’s plans for the second half of the season – likely starting him on Wednesday night. 


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