16 October 2014 18:39
Juventus will seek to move on from their controversial win over Roma when they take on Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday.
Massimiliano Allegri claimed that “everyone is against Juve” after the champions came under fire following the award of two questionable penalties in their 3-2 home success against title rivals Roma.
That result, which came before the international break, made it six league wins on the bounce for Allegri’s side, who are red-hot favourites to claim maximum points against rock-bottom Sassuolo.
Allegri insisted Juve’s excellent display against Roma was overlooked as the focus fell more sharply on the performance of the referee and the notion that the hosts had been given some apparently favourable decisions.
For Sassuolo, one glimmer of hope may come from the fact that a host of Juve players represented their countries during the latest international schedule, offering the possibility of fatigue among the squad.
One man who did not feature was Carlos Tevez, who was once again overlooked by Argentina. The industrious 30-year-old hit his first Juventus hat-trick in a 4-0 win at home to Sassuolo, before scoring again in a 3-1 away victory in the teams’ second meeting of 2013-14.
Tevez has netted four times in his last two appearances and heads Serie A’s scoring chart. He is bidding to become the first Argentine to win the Capocannoniere award since Hernan Crespo in 2000-01.
Pogba has also excelled for Juventus this term and, after receiving the Best Young Player Award for his performances at the recent FIFA World Cup at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday, expressed his desire to win a more prestigious gong.
“I’m going to do all I can to win even more [individual] trophies,” said the 21-year-old. “My aim is to become the best player in the world.”
Allegri must decide whether to recall reported Manchester United target Vidal. The coach claimed he dropped the Chile midfielder against Roma for “tactical reasons”, though he suggested otherwise by referring to the 27-year-old as a “silly boy” after he was reportedly involved in a nightclub scuffle.
Vidal did, however, play every minute of Chile’s recent two friendlies in his homeland – a 3-0 win over Peru and a 2-2 draw with Bolivia in which he scored a last-gasp equaliser.
Another player who returned to Turin from another continent was Kwadwo Asamoah, who helped Ghana beat Guinea 3-1 on Wednesday.
Allegri will nevertheless be thankful Andrea Pirlo, who recently returned from a hip injury, was left on the bench as Italy won in Malta in midweek. The 35-year-old has yet to play for Juventus this season, but was given a run out for his country against Azerbaijan last Friday.
Defender Federico Peluso, who left Juventus for Sassuolo in the close-season, is suspended, but Domenico Berardi, fresh from scoring twice in the 3-2 loss at Lazio, is free to face his parent club.