Losing the Supercoppa Italiana final to Lazio will have left a sour taste in Juventus mouths over the Winter break, meaning Cagliari could find themselves on the receiving end of I Bianconeri frustration when Serie A action resumes on Monday.
Level on points with Inter at the top of the table, Juventus find themselves in their closest tussle for the title in many years and Maurizio Sarri will be hopeful of starting 2020 with victory at the Allianz Stadium.
Cagliari, meanwhile, are flying higher than many expected at the start of the season – sitting sixth in the table after losing just four of their opening 17 league fixtures. 50 years since their only Serie A title, I Rossoblu are on course to mark the anniversary with European qualification.
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Long-term absentees Giorgio Chiellini and Sami Khedira aside, Sarri starts the New Year with a clean bill of health. Rodrigo Bentancur, however, will miss Monday’s fixture through suspension after his dismissal in that Supercoppa Italiana defeat.
The understanding between Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala seemed to be blossoming before the Winter break and it’s likely that Sarri will give the attacking trio a chance to pick up where they left off.
Goalkeeper Alessio Cragno and striker Leonardo Pavoletti remain sidelined for Cagliari, while Fabio Pisacane misses out through suspension.
||Szczesny; De Sciglio, De Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro; Pjanic, Ramsey, Matuidi, Dybala; Higuain, Ronaldo.
||Rafael; Farago, Klavan, Lykogiannis, Pellegrini; Rog, Cigarini, Ionita; Pedro, Nainggolan, Simeone.
Head to Head Record
Unsurprisingly, Juventus have dominated the fixture in recent years and collected all three point in their last ten meetings with Cagliari – dating back to a 1-1 draw in May 2013.
The Sardinians last defeated Juventus in November 2009, when future I Bianconeri manager Massimiliano Allegri guided them to a 2-0 victory. Interestingly, both Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini featured for Juventus in that fixture at Stadio Sant’Elia.
Other than when they come up against Lazio, Juventus are in excellent form! Simone Inzaghi masterminded two 3-1 victories over the Old Lady in a little over two weeks, inflicting their only league defeat of the season before Supercoppa Italiana success.
However, Juventus have previous for drawing against so-called weaker opposition this season – sharing the spoils with Fiorentina, Lecce and Sassuolo in their only other dropped points of 2019/20.
Cagliari’s recent form has been a mixed bag, with two wins, double draws and a pair of defeats in their last six league fixtures. Consistency comes in the form of failing to keep clean sheets – with their last shutout coming in the first weekend of November – although they’ve also scored in each of these matches.
|Juventus 1-3 Lazio (22/12)
||Udinese 2-1 Cagliari (21/12)
|Sampdoria 1-2 Juventus (18/12)
||Cagliari 1-2 Lazio (16/12)
|Juventus 3-1 Udinese (15/12)
||Sassuolo 2-2 Cagliari (8/12)
|Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Juventus (11/12)
||Cagliari 2-1 Sampdoria (5/12)
|Lazio 3-1 Juventus (7/12)
||Cagliari 4-3 Sampdoria (2/12)
Neck and neck with Inter, starting 2020 with a victory is crucial for Juventus and you’d expect them to win. However, Cagliari are a tricky prospect and you wouldn’t put it past them to score and run Juventus close at the Allianz Stadium.
Prediction: Juventus 2-1 Cagliari