Andrea Pirlo will look to get back to winning ways in Serie A when Juventus travel to Spezia on Sunday for a 2pm kick-off.
Spezia XI: Provedel; Ferrer, Terzi, Chabot, Marchizza; Ricci, Bartolomei, Pobega; Agudelo, Gyasi, Nzola.
Juventus XI: Buffon; Demiral, Bonucci, Danilo; Cuadrado, McKennie, Bentancur, Arthur, Chiesa; Morata, Dybala
Where to watch Spezia vs Juventus on TV:
- UK: FreeSports
- US: ESPN+
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Spezia vs Juventus build-up, pre-match team news & previous line-ups:
The reigning Italian champions have drawn their previous two matches in Serie A, which leaves the Old Lady in sixth position, but Pirlo remains unbeaten, one of only three remaining managers yet to experience a loss this season.
Current league leaders AC Milan and fourth-placed Sassuolo are the other two clubs without a defeat in these early stages and Pirlo will look to gain some parity on those clubs when he takes on newly-promoted Spezia this weekend.
Vincenzo Italiano’s side have also drawn their previous two matches in the competition, but Juventus have only lost one of their last 43 Serie A matches against newly-promoted teams, so he will undoubtedly know the scale of the task at hand.
Pirlo will also be determined to get a response from his players following their untidy 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday. But, will the Old Lady bounce back in style, or can the Little Eagles cause further unease for Pirlo?
- Spezia (vs AS Cittadella): Krapikas; Ferrer, Dell’Orco, Chabot, Vignali; Mora, Ricci, Deiola; Verde, Piccoli, Farias.
- Juventus (vs Barcelona): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Demiral, Bonucci, Danilo; Bentancur, Rabiot; Kulusevski, Dybala, Chiesa; Morata.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed out of the 2-0 defeat against Barcelona in midweek but the Portuguese superstar is available for the trip to Spezia. Pirlo also welcomes back Federico Chiesa who has served out his one-match suspension following a red card picked up against Crotone.
Italiano is expected to revert to a more familiar line-up after making wholesale changes for the journey to AS Cittadella in the Coppa Italia third round on Wednesday, though Jeroen Zoet and Andrej Galabinov both remain doubts.
Players to watch:
- Spezia: It has been a season of chopping and changing for Italiano but one player who has thus far avoided the continual pack shuffling and remained an ever-present in the side is Emmanuel Gyasi. The Ghanian is the only Spezia player to have started in all of his side’s Serie A matches this season. He has repaid the faith shown in him by Italiano with a crucial assist in their only win over Udinese and he will be eager to now start producing on a more consistent basis to vindicate his first-team status.
- Juventus: In the absence of Ronaldo, Pirlo has turned to Alvaro Morata for inspiration in the final third, and more importantly: goals. The Spaniard, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has never truly recapture his previous Juventus form following an underwhelming move to Chelsea, but he is just beginning to showcase a clinical streak in front of goal reminiscent of his former self. Three goals in five games is a decent return in these early stages, while 31 per cent of his Serie A stikes have come against newly-promoted teams (5/16). So, Morata will be be looking to put that hat-trick of disallowed goals aside in midweek and get back to scoring ways.
Scoreline prediction: Spezia 0-2 Juventus
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Spezia: DDLWL
- Juventus: DDWDW