Juventus host Empoli at Allianz Stadium this Saturday as they resume their charge towards an eighth consecutive Serie A title.
The Old Lady lost their last fixture in the competition, going down 2-0 at Genoa after a late double from the Ligurians. However, that result is unlikely to have any bearing on the destination of the Scudetto, with Juventus an enormous 15 points ahead of second-placed Napoli.
They will expect to pick up a victory this weekend against a struggling Empoli side. The visitors currently hover just a single point above the relegation, though they did drag themselves out of the bottom three with a dogged 2-1 win over Frosinone last time out.
Here’s the players Massimiliano Allegri could select for the clash.
3. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – The former Arsenal goalkeeper had to wait for his opportunity in Turin, finding himself playing second fiddle to Gianluigi Buffon in his debut season. After the latter’s summer departure, Szczesny was given the number one jersey, justifying Allegri’s faith with an impressive 16 clean sheets in 31 matches this term.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – The Portuguese arrived in July for a fee in the region of £35m from Valencia and has since lived up to the billing. His tireless work-rate, powerful running and deliveries from out wide have made him an alleged target for Manchester United.
Andrea Barzagli (RCB) – The Italian international has been hampered by injuries this season, appearing just five times in Serie A so far. However, when fit he is a hugely dependable presence, carrying years of top level experience.
Giorgio Chiellini (LCB) – The 34-year-old continues to improve with age, growing into an exquisite ball-playing centre-back. His composure on the ball, organisational skills and footballing intelligence make him a crucial component in this Juventus backline.
Mattia de Sciglio (LB) – The full-back has found himself behind Alex Sandro in the pecking order this year, but could be called upon to face a weak Empoli outfit. He will be eager to showcase his abilities in an attacking capacity.
Emre Can (CM) – A summer switch from Liverpool has worked out wonderfully for Can, who looks set to win the first silverware of his career. In a highly-competitive Juve midfield, the German has more than held his own, displaying defensive discipline and a clear understanding of his role in the team.
Blaise Matuidi (CM) – The Frenchman adds tenacity, energy and power to the engine room, helping to keep control of contests. He will expect to dominate proceedings against an Empoli team lacking confidence.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – Linked with Real Madrid in recent weeks, Pjanic has been a vital member of the Bianconeri midfield this season.
Paulo Dybala (RW) – Rumours of a move to the Premier League have surfaced recently, Dybala seemingly displeased with being in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow. His form has taken a hit since the Portugal forward’s arrival, netting a mere four goals in 28 domestic appearances this year.
Mario Mandzukic (ST) – The World Cup finalist may be entering the twilight of his career, but he still offers plenty. His physicality, surprisingly deft ball-control and unerring finishing make him a force to be reckoned with for any defence.
Federico Bernardeschi (LW) – Bernardeschi was pivotal in Juventus overturning a two-goal deficit in their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid. He brought teammates into play, delivered tantalising crosses into the box and was an all-round menace for the Spaniards.